Trip Report – Aria Hotel and Casino at City Center in Las Vegas

Tuesday night, Mrs. Spidey and I returned home from four nights at the Aria Hotel & Casino at City Center in Las Vegas.  We arrived on Friday evening and left on Tuesday afternoon.  I posted already about our discovery of the Buffet of Buffets, so I won’t rehash that here.  In this post, I’ll stay focused on the hotel itself.

Our Room

We stayed in a Corner Suite on the 8th floor.  We were disappointed by the low floor, but that was actually better than their first proposal of the 5th floor.  I think we’ve learned our lesson about arriving at 7pm on a Friday evening in the summer.  Most of the high floors were already taken.

The Corner Suites are local at the far ends of the hallways – literally as far as you can walk, a good three to four minutes from the elevators.  They are 920 square feet and consist of a small entry way, a powder room, a sitting room, a bedroom, and a bathroom.

The sitting room had a small bar area that included both the mini-bar with items to purchase and any empty fridge for your own water.  Be careful, as this is one of those mini-bars where just lifting an item can result in a charge.  Examine your bill carefully, as we were billed for some chocolate almonds we never ate.  We used the mini-fridge to store a 12-pack of Diet Coke we bought at a CVS just out on the Strip.  The sitting room also has a desk, a couch and chair, and what appeared to be about a 50-inch HDTV.  The bedroom had a king-sized bed and a smaller HDTV.  The bathroom had two sinks, separate shower and tub, and a separate commode, which included a “washlet” toilet.  More on that in a later post.  There is also a television in the bathroom.

The Sitting Room in the Aria Corner Suite 8125

One of the room’s signatures is the way the curtains, lights, temperature and television are all controlled by a master handheld at the side of the bed and on the television.  Curtains and lights can also be controlled on the wall in several locations.  We found this interesting, but not the easiest system to use.  The curtain buttons on the walls are not labeled.  As a result, it’s not clear which control controls which curtain until you see what moves when you press a button.  In addition, the controls on the television remote are a bit sticky.  Sometimes you click up or down to go to another item and sometimes you click sideways.

The Room Controls on the Bedroom TV

The other signature is the floor to ceiling windows of the Corner Suite.  Although our view was more limited from the eighth floor, the windows and views didn’t disappoint.  There were great views from bedroom, bathroom, and sitting room.

The Tub in Aria's Corner Suite with a View of the Strip

The View from Corner Suite Bedroom Including the City Center Tram and the Rio

Because we had a suite, we were given newspapers every morning, and the wireless internet was free for up to four devices.  We had two laptops and an iPhone connected.  If you are in a regular room, the WiFi costs $15 per day.  Remember this when you compare rates.

Things we liked – separate sinks, a desk outside the bedroom, three televisions, the windows (for the view and for the light), the available mini-fridge, the ease of connecting to WiFi, the 2:30pm checkout time upon request, the quality of the housekeeping, and the washlet toilet.

Things we didn’t like — the pillows (too smushy and not enough), the slippery floor of the shower, the complexity of the electronic controls, and the slow draining sinks..

The Casino

Mrs. Spidey and I play machines, not tables.  From what we saw there was plenty of variety among the tables, and I clearly saw $10 blackjack tables mid-day.  The video poker machines were relatively basic and standard.  We saw few of the newer machines that allow multiple bets and multiple hands.  The slot machines did seem to be among the newer machines, including Amazing Race machines, Monopoly machines, and Sex and the City machines.  Compared to other hotels we visited, the Aria Casino definitely has a newer feel to it and, in that way, is like the Bellagio, Wynn and Palazzo.  Places like Monte Carlo, Harrah’s and the Flamingo have a much cheaper, outdated feel.  Mrs. Spidey turned $100 into $300 on dollar video poker.  I won periodically on the slots, but Mrs. Spidey was the winner in the family.

While you are in the casino, don’t forget to sign up and use an MGM Mirage Players Club card (now called M Life), even if you only play machines.  We played for four days and ended up getting a combined $23 in free play and $50 off our bill.  Get the card, play, and then visit the desk to ask for the comps.  They won’t come automatically.

The Pool and Spa

The Aria pool is nothing fancy.  There are two pools there, plus the Liquid Pool, which explodes on the weekend with a young crowd.  I have not seen so many people in such a small wading pool.  There appeared to be enough lounge chairs and plenty of umbrellas at the main pools.  It was not difficult to find a waitress, and there were cups and a jug of ice water for anyone to have.

We visited the spa/gym twice.  Each visit was $30, but there is a 3 days for $80 deal as well.  The $30 gives you access to the gym and the locker room areas.   The gym had plenty of weights and cardio equipment.  The treadmill on which I ran had an adapter for my iPhone.  Once I plugged in my iPhone, I was able to listen to music or play videos from my iPhone on the television screen.  The machine was also compatible with the Nike+ iPod app and automatically recorded my workout.

The spa was very comfortable and well-appointed, second in my opinion only to the Wynn.  The spa has a sauna, a steam room, three hot whirlpools and one cold plunge pool.  There are ample towels and the robes are comfortable.  There are plenty of grooming supplies from Q-tips to disposable razors to shaving cream to hand lotion.  Both times I worked out, I spent more time up in the locker area than in the gym, relaxing on a lounge chair near the whirlpool.  In fact, I wrote the Sunday post about George Steinbrenner on my iPhone sitting there.

There are two other pluses to the gym.  First, with access you get unlimited drinks – they have waters, juices, and sodas – plus fruit, tea and coffee.  Second, there is a co-ed porch overlooking the main pool.  On this porch is a small pool and a few chairs.  In theory, you could pay your $30 every day to have access to this porch.

All-in-all, I was very impressed with the gym.  It is very relaxing and a great way to stay out of the casino or, in my case, out of the heat.

I should also mention that I visited the salon for a shave.  I had never been shaved with a straight razor before.  The shave cost $75 including tip, but included facial treatments beyond the shave.  Vinnie, the barber, was very friendly and conversational, although I worried about answering him when the straight razor was moving down my neck.

The Location

City Center is located between Bellagio and the Monte Carlo, just across the street from Planet Hollywood.  You can walk inside through to the Monte Carlo and take a tram over to the backside of the Bellagio.  Aria is set back a bit, however, even in comparison to some of the other hotels.  It was about a ten minute walk from the lobby out to Las Vegas Boulevard.  We walked through the Crystals mall out to an overpass between the still under construction Cosmopolitan and Planet Hollywood.  Initially, we had some trouble finding the exit, as Crystals is still being built out, and store construction creates a few dead ends.  Once we figured it out, we were fine.  Whether we took the tram to the Bellagio or walked out to the road, it was a bit of a trek from hotel to street.  That much said, it’s right in the middle of the strip and, even in the heat, we had an easy walk back from the Palazzo one night after seeing Jersey Boys and eating dinner at Dos Caminos.

Bottom Line

The Aria is probably our second favorite hotel now behind the Wynn, although, for comparison, we’d like to stay at Bellagio one more time when the pool is open.  We feel like the Wynn’s basic room (often going for $99 in the summer mid-week) is sufficiently large with floor to ceiling windows, that we don’t need to pay for a suite to be comfortable.

Despite our challenges with the electronics, the room was indeed comfortable.  The pool was easily accessible, and we had no trouble finding machines we liked to gamble.  We only ate at the buffet and Todd English’s Public Urban Bar, but they were very good.  If we had to do it again, we’d get there a bit earlier to get a higher floor.

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3 Responses to Trip Report – Aria Hotel and Casino at City Center in Las Vegas

  1. Pingback: One Traveler’s Ranking of Las Vegas Casinos « Life With Spidey

  2. Merry says:

    I was wondering whether which corner suite you stayed at.. The regular one, city view or panoramic? I cant decide whether to stay at Aria or Wynn! and which room did you stay at in Wynn?

    • Andy Mayer says:

      We stayed in a regular corner suite on the 8th floor. We arrived about dinner time on a Friday, so we didn’t have much choice. In the end, we had a bit of a strip view – Planet Hollywood, and a view of the City Center. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what the others get you. The windows are floor to ceiling anyway.

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