I’ve been going to Las Vegas for over 25 years, so I’ve stayed in every type of casino Sin City has to offer, from the high end resorts to the $25 per night temporary motel rooms behind the old Stardust when they were renovating it years ago. No matter where you’re staying, Vegas has so much to offer that you’ll always have a blast. But my recent weekend in Vegas staying at the amazing Aria Resort & Casino was a very pleasant reminder that a first class weekend in a luxurious hotel makes all the debauchery Vegas has to offer that much more enjoyable. It’s also so much easier to nurse a hangover in a comfortable bed in a beautiful room where you can shut the curtains and get total darkness with the press of a button from your bed!
Bullz-Eye was invited by Aria to cover the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational that was being held at Shadow Creek. Naturally I jumped at the opportunity to cover MJ and his celebrity pals while experiencing a weekend at Aria with everything it had to offer. I was lucky to have a fun and beautiful companion with me so everything was teed up for a great weekend.
The first thing I noticed about Aria was the amazing architecture and design. Everything about this place has been meticulously designed with a modern and original look. Of course Vegas has always featured upscale resorts and hotels, but they always had that gaudy Vegas feel. Instead of going with a themed hotel, the style of Aria is much more like a trendy, luxury hotel. The amount and different types of glass used at Aria is just stunning. The Jean Philippe Pâtisserie is just one of many things that stand out, with the artistically packages chocolates and gourmet pastries in an ultra modern corner of the casino. If you’re with a date the visual stimulation alone will set the mood for a memorable trip.
Like many of the large resorts in Vegas, Aria has practically everything you could need from an entertainment point of view. The pool is amazing and the attached shopping mall offers the best shopping in Vegas. The spa also offers a perfect getaway for couples, with the “Ganbanyoku” heated-stone bed and “Shio” salt room, outdoor therapy pool, Las Vegas’ only co-ed balcony with a stunning view of our beautiful pools. Your wife or girlfriend will love it!
The casino is also laid out nicely and I like the vibe on the casino floor. The beautiful venue definitely attracts the beautiful crowd! Having a nightclub like Haze at Aria also helps as gorgeous women in tight skirts and heels invade the casino around the midnight hour. Of course we also ventured out and indulged in the debauchery that Sin City has to offer, from a strip club to a cheesy after-hours lounge for late night food and more alcohol. But we always came back to this fantastic casino and resort where we could party some more or relax in the luxury rooms.
With all the amenities at the Aria, the restaurants stood out as some of the most impressive spots. We had the opportunity to try out many of them throughout the weekend as we indulged in a wide variety of incredible dishes. We started out the first night at Sirio Ristorante for some Tuscan-style Italian food created by chef Sirio Maccioni. We were tempted to go with one of the incredible veal or beef dishes on the menu, but we knew we had a big weekend ahead and we didn’t want to start off with serious food coma. So we ordered some delicious appetizers of jumbo prawns and seasonal oysters along with seafood entrees, including a pan-fried breaded Maine lobster that was incredible. If you’re a wine lover you’ll appreciate the selection of Italian vintages.
Sirio gave us the perfect start to the weekend and we were ready for our first night of heavy drinking. By lunch the next day we were ready for our first recovery meal, and lunch at Lemongrass was the perfect remedy. This modern Thai restaurant was incredibly comfortable and offered a variety of dishes. After some great appetizers including delicious pot stickers, we stuck with our seafood strategy and order several lobster dishes, including a special prepared by the chef. I can never get enough lobster so I was more than happy with this light lunch, and the specialty cocktails helped get us back in fighting form.
On Saturday night, after shooting machine guns (more on that in a later post) and getting a much-needed nap, we had dinner at American Fish by Micheal Mina as we geared up for Viva ELVIS and another night on the town. Our seafood diet was treating us well, and now wasn’t the time to change things given the name of the restaurant. We started out with succulent Tuna Tartare and I went with the Daily Shellfish entrée. Throw in some fun sides like Truffled Mac & Cheese and specialty cocktails and the entire meal was perfect.
We were full and buzzed and ready for our Elvis experience. Cirque du Soleil has had a string of hits in Vegas, and Viva ELVIS is their latest show. If you’re into Elvis’s music then I highly recommend it, as they covered his entire career from his early years, to his military service, to the movie years to the later years with the jumpsuits and the lamb chop sideburns. The show was visually impressive as we’ve come to expect from Cirque du Soleil with incredible acrobatics, and it’s in its final season so Elvis fans should be planning their trip! After the show we stopped for a cocktail and 80s music at The GOLD Lounge as we geared up for another late night. The lounge features a concept and décor that pays homage to the celebrated life of Elvis Presley. You can’t miss it with all the gold monkey imagery (Elvis was a fan) and it’s just another of the visually stunning venues in the Aria.
By our last night in Vegas we were completely spent, but we rallied to make it to dinner at Sage, which was one of our favorite places from the weekend. I knew I was probably going to pass out soon after dinner, so I went with the Snake River Farms New York Strip as switched from seafood. We also ordered the Wagyu Beef Tartare as one of our appetizers, which may have been my favorite dish of the trip! You’ll love the New American menu of Chef Shawn McClain’s first Las Vegas restaurant, which spotlights seasonal ingredients from neighboring California, just-picked produce, artisanal meats and sustainable seafood. The décor in Sage is also stunning and it’s located near the entrance of the resort.
You should check out the Aria whether you want a high-end place to party with your friends or a weekend that your wife or girlfriend will never forget. Located in the heart of the Strip, everything you could want is either in the resort or close by. You’ll definitely be able to party in style!