I have been watching City Center be built for a couple years now, and I knew I wanted to be there for opening weekend. So I spent Saturday night at Aria.
For those who do not know, City Center is the biggest resort area in Las Vegas. It sits right next to the Monte Carlo, and contains several hotels, condos, shopping center and restaurants.
I’m scheduled to stay at Mandarin soon, but I wanted to get to Aria as well. Aria is the larges of the hotels there, and it is truly massive. City Center itself is quite a beautiful collection of architecture. I especially like the Veer Towers.
Pulling into City Center for valet parking is a breeze, much simpler than some of the hotels make it in Las Vegas. I was quickly greeted and exchanged my key for a green claim slip. I was greeted several times on the way to the front door, and was always asked if I needed assistance.
Walking through the door, I see the front desk to my left, and the casino to my right. I walked to the front desk, which had plenty of open and ready slots to approach. I walked up to one of the clerks and was quickly given a room key and explanation of where everything was. It took us a few minutes to figure out where the elevators were, but it wasn’t too confusing.
I want to take a moment to talk about the interior of Aria. How I love the building, and the whole complex from the outside, I have to say that my first reaction was that Aria was too dark, and a bit gaudy. Something about the color scheme doesn’t work, and it comes off as narrow and claustrophobic. It lacks the open feeling of someplace like Mandalay Bay, Wynn, or Palazzo. It feels more like one of the older casinos like the Tropicana. My initial feeling about this didn’t change as I walked around a bit more. It’s just too dark and narrow.
Making my way up to the room was simple. There are several elevators to choose from, depending on your floor. This is great because then you’re not waiting forever for elevators, which can be especially annoying at checkout time, when everyone is leaving at once.
The room key works with RFID, which is a little more convenient than having to slide it through a reader. You simply place the key next to the door handle, and viola.
The room key was just the beginning of the viola moments at the Aria. As soon as you enter the room, the drapes open to show the full view of the strip, the television turns on to show your room menu, and the light brighten the entire room. It’s an impressive entrance.
The room itself is nicely decorated in dark, but natural tones. The bed is raised high off the ground, there is the standard LCD television, the bathroom is covered in marble, with two sinks set into a granite counter top.
The bath/shower was quite unique in that it’s a full marble shower, with a bathtub inside. It’s quite a nice arrangement, which I’m strongly considering replicating in my home.
There is a double wardrobe that provides plenty of space for clothing, and the art work was unusually nice and modern for a hotel.
The entire room can be managed through either the television remote, or a touchscreen console at the side of the bed.
I went to the minibar to grab a soda, but found it locked. I checked the instructions, which provided details on how to lock it if you leave, which is a nice touch, but nothing about how to open it. So I called downstairs and was told that it was a glitch and that someone would have to come up to fix it. I was told that this was because we were the first people to use this room, which was kinda cool.
The room has two very comfy chairs that are great for checking out the view. And the view is pretty impressive. Aria sits a little further back than most hotels on the strip, so you get a more complete view of the strip. From my room, I could easily make out everything from Tropicana to the Planet Hollywood.
The technology in the room was quite impressive. Beyond the touchscreen and television remote, there was a simple 3-button system on each side of the bed. Each button was marked with a function, Goodnight, Reading and one other that I forget, but meant turn everything on. The goodnight button closes the drapes and turns off the lights. The reading button turns everything off, except a single reading lamp on your side of the bed. And the other button brings everything to light.
I decided to try the phone to call and make dinner reservation with Blossom. But I was transferred to a voicemail that wasn’t set up. I tried again, and this time was told I had to first be transferred to the front desk, who would then transfer me to someone else. Again, this was explained as a glitch in a new system. In the end, I got my reservation made by courteous staff members.
After dinner we came back to the room and watched some television. Aria has a great entertainment selection for a hotel. They even have custom music channels, and I was fortunate enough to have my girlfriend put on the 80’s channel, but she only lasted 1.5 songs before seeking out something more modern.
We decided to order up some coffee and desert and watch a movie. Room service took about 40 minutes, which was as expected, but we did have a problem with our television locking up. We had to turn off the TV for a few moments and then restart it. It felt more like a computer than TV at this point.
When watching the television, we noticed an annoying issue. The Philips LCD TV would slightly dim every 30 – 40 seconds. It didn’t make the movie unwatchable, but it was a bit annoying.
After the movie we headed to bed, which was a problem. The bed was just awful. It’s a huge pillow top that after about 30 minutes starts being very uncomfortable. I didn’t get much sleep and woke up several times irritated with a sore back. I can honestly say, one of the worst nights sleep in a hotel I have ever had. I have slept at plenty of hotels with pillow top mattresses, but this was unusually thick, and uncomfortable. It makes me wonder if the person who picked the beds actually bothered to really spend the night on one.
It was nice to open the blinds with a push of a button in the morning. And the shower was great. The towels were unusually high quality, but maybe that’s because Im the first to use them.
Valet was easy to find, although it’s on the opposite end where I dropped my car off, which is always a little annoying. I got my car back right away, and was back on Las Vegas Blvd. in less than 30 seconds.
Overall, I’m split on Aria. I like the room design, but fond the hotel interior to be to claustrophobic. I loved the hi-tech gadgetry of the room, but it’s still a bit buggy. The staff was top notch and extremely friendly. But the deal breaker and main complaint about the Aria is the bed. I could not stay another night at the Aria, and I honestly couldn’t recommend it to anyone else. But please let me know if your experience was different.