Las Vegas. There’s something fascinating about those two words that brings a palpable sense of delirium – you know, the pulse racing, eyes wide kind? – which only intensifies the closer you get to that fabulous one street city. As you touch down at McCarran International and take your first glimpse of The Strip you know you have arrived at the world’s playground. Regardless of whether it’s your first time or you’re returning as a seasoned veteran, you know you’re in for the unexpected. Who knows what can happen? It’s Vegas, right?
The bright light city is certainly not bereft of choices when it comes to high-end accommodation, and super-hotels such as the MGM Grand, Bellagio and the Wynn have enjoyed as much fame as the A-list celebrities that dominate the city’s glamorous legends. But before you plan on drinking every nightcap watching the fountains or taking a daily trip to the lions, consider the rising star in town.
The 4,000+ roomed Aria Resort & Spa, MGM’s luxury resort – which opened its doors in December 2009 as the centrepiece of the $8 billion CityCentre development – is a real gem in the glittering crown.
Perhaps not as well known as some other landmarks on The Strip – although it has recently had a cameo in the Jesse Eisenberg movie Now You See Me – its relative uncharted territory only adds to the allure. When you arrive you can’t help but feel that you’ve discovered somewhat of an untouched treasure – a rarity in Vegas – even though the hotel has firmly established itself as one of the hottest spots to be seen.
The breathtaking curved steel and glass high-rise towers – designed by the world renowned Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects – dominate the skyline with signature Las Vegas grandeur and it’s obvious from first sight that this is going to be an experience.
Although the hotel has taken care of a slew of guests since its opening three and a half years ago, you could be mistaken into thinking you have arrived on opening weekend since the place is ‘picture perfect’ immaculate – no small feat for a resort that has 16 restaurants, 10 bars and nightclubs, a spa and a casino with 150,000 square feet of gaming space.
An elegantly executed and well-thought-out contemporary design philosophy
Unlike many Vegas hotels, the Aria isn’t themed, which is a relief for those more concerned with design than that just-walked-into-the-best-kids-party-ever feeling. Instead it has an elegantly executed and well-thought-out contemporary design philosophy with a stunning combination of lit water features, art, sculpture and technology that simultaneously stops you in your tracks and leaves you desperate to see more.
Throughout the space, the resort exceeds in delivering a buzzy ambiance. The casino floor’s stunning aesthetic of warm tones, rich colours and trellis-like canopies of laser-cut foliage combined with natural light – again a step away from the Vegas tradition – create a welcome sophisticated environment where you can enjoy your chosen game.
Not leaving any stone unturned, the outside space is just as immaculate and attention-grabbing. The perfectly manicured 215,000 square foot pool deck is the only place to be found during the hot hours. Wonderfully uncrowded, the three spacious pool areas are surrounded by private cabanas where you can unwind with a 42 inch TV and enjoy the menu from the Breeze Café. Relaxation is not the only thing on the menu however – the pool deck also hosts the Liquid Pool Lounge where DJs keep the party going throughout the day.
In true Vegas style, the Aria comes to life once the sun has finally set and, with some of the biggest celebrity chefs taking up residence in the resort, you are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to dining including The Strip’s only resort-based Thai restaurant. From the mouthwatering Jean-Georges Vongerichten steakhouse to contemporary American cuisine at Sage it is understandable that the hotel has become a Las Vegas favourite for the discerning foodie.
With the cuisine fans sorted, it’s time to check out the nightlife. As expected, there’s no shortage of outstanding bars, each with their own unique take on the post-gaming, post-shopping night scene. The stylish Deuce lounge is the place for first class service in a chic gaming setting but for the ultimate wow factor then HAZE nightclub is where you need to be. Offering seductive entertainment and home to some of the biggest names on the party scene, the cutting-edge, you’d-be-crazy-to-miss-it nightclub boasts the resort’s signature interior design and use of mind-blowing technology – imagine suede walls, comfortable seating and a two-story wall of lights.
Having said that, one of the best experiences you’ll find here, is when the night comes to an end. The bedrooms are where on-the-money design and technology fuse, offering a state-of-the-art experience and precise attention to detail. Welcomed by a personalised message from the oversized TV, the curtains part to reveal a stunning floor-to-ceiling view of The Strip – complete movie-worthy drama and does its job in setting you up to appreciate the rest of the high-tech design features.
A classic palette of woods and contrasting neutrals which is accented with sophisticated hues
The lights, entertainment system and curtains can all be set and tailored from your remote control and integrated docking stations for your electronic devices have been implemented to save the chore of hunting for chargers and adapters. These simple touches of home-automation make your hotel experience exactly what you want – welcoming yet totally luxurious.
Lacking the sense of tackiness which can beset many Vegas hotel rooms, the habitations are decked primarily in a classic palette of woods and contrasting neutrals which is accented with sophisticated hues of aubergine, rust and berry in the form of plush velvet-upholstery, graphic rugs and modern artwork. The custom-designed Sealy bed – a twelve layered, princess-and-the-pea-worthy creation – is the final piece of magic and makes downtime an ease – something that can be hard to come by in a place which gives New York a run for its money for ‘the city that never sleeps’ status.
A sensational combination of style know-how, spectacular amenities and unique personalisation make the resort hard to leave but what really separates it from the tares is its understanding of its guests. A note left next to the bed which read “to achieve the impossible dream, try going to sleep” makes us believe they even know how we think!