I am sitting in the Comfort Inn, Green River, Utah. This is a small town off Interstate 70  about 50 miles northwest of the desert recreational town of Moab. I will be staying in Las Vegas tonight after a 410 mile drive today. I will experience Las Vegas M life over the next three nights.

Say what you think of midscale hotels and Choice Privileges, but I have to say the King Bed at this hotel is one of the most comfortable beds I’ve slept in during the past year. And the free breakfast has bananas, oranges and apples. There has been little fruit offered in all our free breakfast stays the past nine mornings. Too bad I have to body slam the room door to get it to close and lock behind me each time I enter the room.

This is the first day of my M life.

Hyatt Gold Passport membersmay be aware that MGM Resorts and Hyatt Gold Passport started loyalty program reciprocity effective June 20, 2013. This means members of both programs can earn loyalty credit with stays at their respective hotels.

As a loyalty traveler and ten year member of Hyatt Gold Passport, the MGM M life partnership means there are now 12 properties in Las Vegas, in addition to the Hyatt Place Las Vegas, for earning Hyatt Gold Passport points and elite tier stay and night credit.

As Loyalty Traveler, I have been invited to Las Vegas for a Hyatt Gold Passport-M life press event tomorrow. I have been given complimentary Noir elite tier status with M life which I just activated in the past hour.

More about M life elite benefits will come in a later post. The table showing different M life tiers and benefits can be seen here.

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How low can I go?

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Vdara Las Vegas CityCenter residential hotel is a mixed use condominium residences and hotel rooms in the 57-floor tower north of Harmon Avenue.  The building is part of the CityCenter MGM Resorts/Dubai World Las Vegas Strip complex between Bellagio and Monte Carlo casinos. CityCenter has three hotels on its 67-acre property with Aria Resort, Mandarin Oriental and Vdara. The imperfect blue building planned as the Harmon Hotel at the corner of Harmon and Las Vegas Boulevard in CityCenter sits empty due to construction flaws.

Vdara, CityCenter Las Vegas

Vdara seen from Aria Resort 24th floor

The Vdara Hotel location is accessible from the Aria Hotel Casino floor level via an elevated circular drive over Harmon Avenue revealing Nancy Rubins’ Big Edge, the large-scale canoe sculpture located between the two hotels.

Nancy Rubins – Big Edge

Vdara is a non-smoking, non-gaming hotel with a bar, a restaurant, a spa and pool, and a walkway to Bellagio Resort and the CityCenter electric tram station. The Cosmopolitan casino and Marriott Autograph Collection branded resort is adjacent to Vdara, between the Bellagio and the main CityCenter complex on Las Vegas Boulevard, the Strip.

Vdara and The Cosmopolitan with Bellagio in background – view from Aria

Vdara Hotel is low-key without the formality of Mandarin Oriental or the immense size of Aria Resort & Casino. Vdara Suites are large, condominium style rooms with small dining areas and kitchen space with refrigerator, microwave and stove, a sleeper couch, bedroom, two TVs and bathroom.

Vdara hotel has lower room rates than Aria for December 2010with rates as low as $119 compared to Aria at $129. Mandarin Oriental is typically the highest base room rate of the three CityCenter Hotels with lowest rates around $199.

Vdara atomic art and entrance

Vdara can save money on a Las Vegas vacation by cooking for yourself in the room kitchen rather than dining out. Silk Road provides lobby food service.

Vdara Silk Road cafe menu

Silk Road – Vdara

Vdara – Silk Road

Vdara Hotel occupies an extraordinarily convenient location between Bellagio, The Cosmopolitan and Aria for three very different resort casino experiences within five minutes walk from your room.

Vdara hotel, CityCenter Las Vegas

The lobby bar has seating in the main bar, off to the right indoors and a terrace outdoors.

Bar Vdara

Bar Vdara

Vdara Bar in lobby

Vdara Bar patio swing seat

Vdara Bar patio seating in front of the hotel.

The lobby has a small seating area near the elevators with a concierge desk cubicle off the main hotel registration desk.

Vdara lobby seating area art. Concierge desk is below Peter Wegner art.

Peter Wegner is the artist for the Vdara lobby with two pieces Day for Night, Night for Day on the east wall (orange colored paper, 45 feet x 10 feet 9 inches) and west wall (blue colored paper, 34 feet x 10 feet 9 inches).

Vdara lobby

Vdara lobby ornaments December 2010

Vdara Deluxe Suites are the basic room category and provide a kitchenette and nearly 600 sq. ft. of room space. Vdara website has a video of Deluxe Suite Option 1 floorplan. Here are my photos of this room category.

Vdara Deluxe Suite 2-person dining table

Vdara Deluxe Suite kitchen

Vdara Deluxe Suite microwave

Vdara Deluxe Suite sitting room

The sitting room had a large wall mounted TV and the bedroom also had a wall mounted TV.

Vdara Deluxe Suite bedroom TV

Vdara Deluxe Suite bed

Vdara Deluxe Suite bathroom

Vdara Deluxe Suite shower

Vdara Deluxe Suite tub

Vdara City Corner Suite

City Corner Suites are over 800 sq. ft.  with a four burner kitchen stove, full size refrigerator, four person dining table, washer-dryer, queen size sofa bed and large spa tub.

Vdara City Corner Suite dining table

Vdara City Corner Suite stove

Vdara City Corner Suite refrigerator

Vdara City Corner Suite living room

Vdara City Corner Suite desk

Vdara City Corner Suite bed

Vdara City Corner Suite tub

Vdara City Corner Suite bedroom TV

Vdara City Corner Suite view north to back side of Bellagio

Vdara Penthouse Suite

The Vdara Penthouse Suites are one and two bedroom and one floor or two floor suites. I toured a two-bedroom, one story penthouse suite on the 54th floor. This apartment space is 1,200 to 1,400 sq. ft and provides the full hotel residential style living quarters.

Vdara penthouse suite 54th floor living room

Vdara 54th floor penthouse view south to Aria Resort

Vdara penthouse suite bed

Vdara Penthouse suite kitchen

Vdara Penthouse suite dining table

Vdara penthouse suite bathroom dual sinks

Vdara penthouse suite accessible bath

Vdara penthouse suite accessible shower

Vdara Pool Deck

Vdara pool

Vdara pool deck

Vdara pool deck view of Aria Resort

pool deck view reveals curvilinear form of Vdara

Vdara view east over Harmon Ave and empty blue Harmon Hotel building at CityCenter.

Related Posts:

Betting on Expedia.ca for a Vegas Suite Deal (Nov 20, 2010) [This post tells how I bought my flight to Las Vegas and an upgraded room at the Mandarin Oriental for $12.]

CityCenter Las Vegas – Art, Architecture and Space (Dec 16, 2010)

Hotel Detail – Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas in HD (Dec 11, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Pools, Spa and Dining (Dec 12, 2010)

Aria Resort Corner Suite and SkySuites (Dec 18, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas SkyVilla 19 (Dec 19, 2010)

Vdara Hotel, CityCenter Las Vegas (Dec 19, 2010)

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (Dec 23, 2010)

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Dec 21, 2010) (The Cosmopolitan is next to Vdara Hotel, but not part of CityCenter complex. The Cosmopolitan is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel.)

Aria Las Vegas Sky Villa 19 is a 58th floor bi-level three-bedroom suite with living room, dining room, bedroom, and fitness room with sauna and 2.5 bathrooms on the lower level. A spiral staircase and elevator access an upper floor with a sitting room, two bedrooms, four bathrooms, massage room, salon and kitchen pantry. Aria Sky Villas offer two- and three-bedroom luxury suites on one or two floors on the top floors of Aria Resort & Casino.

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Lounge Floor 58

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Lounge Floor 58

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 on 58th floor

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 living room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, Mac computer on living room desk

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 living room view of CityCenter Lumia Fountain

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, spiral wood and metal staircase

Aria Resort Las Vegas, view of lower and upper sitting rooms from staircase

40 to 50 people were in Sky Villa 19 at one point during the wine reception. All guests were comfortably positioned around the main living room and dining area. A bar was set up in the corner of the living room.

Sky Villa 19 is a large space for entertaining.

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 small dining table

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 large dining table

The lower floor of Sky Villa 19 has a half-bathroom with toilet and sink at the main room entrance and one bedroom with full bathroom. There is a fitness room with sauna and shower and a connecting room with sink and toilet.

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, downstairs bedroom

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 lower floor bedroom-1 bathroom sinks

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, lower floor bedroom-1 bath

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-1 nightstand e-panel remote

The lower floor fitness room across the hall from the bedroom has a shower, sauna and connecting toilet and dressing room. A door from the fitness dressing room leads to the main bathroom for the lower floor bedroom.

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, fitness room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, fitness room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, fitness room sauna

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, fitness room shower

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, fitness room doorway to dressing room

 

The second floor of Aria Sky Villa 19 is accessible by stairs and elevator. Two bedrooms, each with two full bathrooms, salon, massage room, kitchen pantry and sitting room are located on the second floor of Aria Sky Villa 19.

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, stairway to upper floor sitting room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, upper floor living room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, upper floor living room open space

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, in-room two-floor elevator

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, massage room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, in-room salon

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2 king bed

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2 seating

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2, bathroom-1

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2, bathroom-1 view

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, electric toilet

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, Electronic toilet master controls

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2, bathroom-2 sink

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2, bathroom-2 shower

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, Master Bedroom

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, master bedroom-3

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, master bedroom window view

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, master bedroom couch

Aria Resort Las Vegas,, Sky Villa 19 master bedroom

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, master bedroom

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-3, bath-1 sink

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-3, bath-1 tub

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-3, bath-2 sink

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-3, bath-2 shower

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, master bedroom-3 dressing room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, kitchen pantry refrigerator

This completes the tour of Aria Resort Sky Villa 19.

 

Related Posts:

Betting on Expedia.ca for a Vegas Suite Deal (Nov 20, 2010) [This post tells how I bought my flight to Las Vegas and an upgraded room at the Mandarin Oriental for $12.]

CityCenter Las Vegas – Art, Architecture and Space (Dec 16, 2010)

Hotel Detail – Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas in HD (Dec 11, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Pools, Spa and Dining (Dec 12, 2010)

Aria Resort Corner Suite and SkySuites (Dec 18, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas SkyVilla 19 (Dec 19, 2010)

Vdara Hotel, CityCenter Las Vegas (Dec 19, 2010)

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (Dec 23, 2010)

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Dec 21, 2010) (The Cosmopolitan is next to Vdara Hotel, but not part of CityCenter complex. The Cosmopolitan is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel.)

Aria Resort Las Vegas  has 4,004 rooms including 568 suites. This post looks at the Aria Resort Corner Suite and Sky Suite from rooms I visited during my recent Las Vegas stay. The basic room category at Aria  is a 520-square foot “Deluxe Room” space with floor to ceiling windows, electronic master controls for curtains and lights and all entertainment options and a bathroom with separate tub and shower. The size of a typical luxury market segment hotel room is generally around 520 sq. ft.

There really are not bad rooms at Aria, only less favorable locations for the room view. There are two factors to keep in mind when booking at Aria Resort, height and width.

Aria is a 59-floor hotel with only one location for elevators on each guest room floor. The size of the hotel may literally require walking over 100 yards to your room from the elevator on the larger floors. Keep this in mind if you need closer proximity to the elevators and make your request known when booking.

Aria Resort & Casino, CityCenter, Las Vegas

The higher floors have preferred views, but there really are not any sides of the hotel with undesirable views when on a floor above 15 or so.  Aria’s rear hotel wings overlook the Aria pool complex and Monte Carlo casino or face Harmon Avenue with a view to the Vdara Hotel and the just-opened Cosmopolitan Hotel. Lower floors locations can view the rooftop over low sections of the resort. Some lower floor rooms on Harmon Avenue side have a close-up view of  CityCenter electric tram cars.

CityCenter tram passing over Harmon Avenue with Aria hotel in background.

The CityCenter complex has beautiful architecture. Rooms overlooking CityCenter provide architectural views of Veer Towers, Crystals, Harmon Building and Mandarin Oriental and may have a view of the Las Vegas Strip. These central CityCenter facing rooms are Deluxe Room City View which is the next higher room category from the basic level room.

Floor height is the more important factor for a room at Aria in my opinion. The closer you are to the ground the more noise you are likely to hear from traffic and such. There is a fire station on Harmon Avenue between the Vdara Hotel and The Cosmopolitan.

My room was on the top-level 24th floor overlooking the pool from the northwest wing of the hotel.

24-floor northwest wing of Aria Resort overlooking pools.

Window view from room 24-227 Aria Resort Las Vegas

The room tour of Aria showed a 31st floor King Deluxe similar to mine. The room was a City View room in the front side of the hotel, room linens had trim, chairs had better upholstery and the shower head was different.

Aria Resort Las Vegas 31st floor King Deluxe City View

Aria Resort King Deluxe City View cushioned chairs.

Aria Resort Las Vegas King Deluxe City View shower head

Aria Resort Las Vegas King Deluxe City View desk area

This Loyalty Traveler post has more pictures of the King Deluxe room category features from my hotel room stay.

Aria Resort & Casino Suites

Regular suites are 920 sq.ft at Aria Resort. The four basic suite categories are Corner Suite, Crystals Suite overlooking the CityCenter Crystals retail shopping area, Cirrus Suite at 1,500 sq.ft. has a formal dining area, and Executive Hospitality Suite is 2,000 sq.ft. overlooking pool area and includes a 12-person conference room.

I only visited the Corner Suite room category among these suite categories.

Aria Resort Corner Suite dining table

Aria Resort Corner Suite entry restroom

Aria Resort Las Vegas Corner Room Suite sitting area

Aria Resort Las Vegas Corner Room Suite desk area and TV

Aria Resort Corner Suite king bed

Aria Resort Corner Suite bedroom TV and closet

Aria Resort Corner Suite bedroom window view of Las Vegas Strip and CityCenter.

Aria Resort Las Vegas Corner Suite – bath with a view.

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Corner Suite with electronic toilet

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Corner Suite hallway between sitting room and bedroom.

Aria Resort Las Vegas – wall covering in elevator corridor

Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas Sky Suites

Aria Sky Suites offer an exclusive resort experience with airport limousine transfers, private check-in and exclusive Sky Suite guest lounge access. There are separate sets of elevators for Sky Suites guests with closer access to restaurants and the casino floors than the elevators for other hotel guests.

Rooms range in size from 1,050 sq. ft. one bedroom Aria Suite and two bedroom Aria Suite at 1,630 sq. ft.

Penthouse one bedroom suites are 1,465 sq. ft. with a bedroom, dining room, kitchen, oversize bathroom, and entry hall toilet.

Penthouse two bedroom suites are 2,060 sq. ft.

Aria Sky Suite one-bedroom photos shown here are room 51-002 on 51st floor. The room view looks directly down to the Lumia Fountain at the Aria central entrance and floor-to-ceiling windows place the guest directly in the center view of CenterCity Las Vegas.

Aria SkySuite 51-002 entry toilet

Aria Sky Suite 51-002 dining area

Aria Sky Suite 51-002 sitting room

Aria Sky Suite desk sitting room 51-002

Aria Sky Suite one bedroom bed 51-002

The Aria Sky Suite bathroom in room 51-002 has two entries from the bedroom with sliding doors.

Aria Sky Suite bathtub 51-002

Aria Sky Suite bathroom 51-002

Aria Sky Suite double sinks in room 51-002

Aria Sky Suite bathroom sliding doors showing one door closed.

Aria Sky Suite Bedroom Corner room 51-002.

Aria Sky Suite Bedroom 51-002 view of Planet Hollywood on Las Vegas Strip.

The length of this piece with photos favors placing Aria Sky Villa 19 photos in a separate Loyalty Traveler blog post.

Related Posts:

Betting on Expedia.ca for a Vegas Suite Deal (Nov 20, 2010) [This post tells how I bought my flight to Las Vegas and an upgraded room at the Mandarin Oriental for $12.]

CityCenter Las Vegas – Art, Architecture and Space (Dec 16, 2010)

Hotel Detail – Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas in HD (Dec 11, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Pools, Spa and Dining (Dec 12, 2010)

Aria Resort Corner Suite and SkySuites (Dec 18, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas SkyVilla 19 (Dec 19, 2010)

Vdara Hotel, CityCenter Las Vegas (Dec 19, 2010)

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (Dec 23, 2010)

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Dec 21, 2010) (The Cosmopolitan is next to Vdara Hotel, but not part of CityCenter complex. The Cosmopolitan is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel.)

CityCenter at night, photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

City Center Las Vegas shows Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas on left, Aria center background with lighted rooftop and Vdara right background is the skyscraper of tiered curvilinear rectangular prisms. Crystals CityCenter is front center. Colored buildings are Veer Towers residential units in the center of the complex. Front right is The Harmon which was planned as a shared hotel-residences, however, construction issues have left the building empty and currently in litigation with the general contractor. A demolition of the Harmon building, possibly in 2013, appears to be the future of this hotel project located directly across Harmon Avenue from the newly opened Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino.

CityCenter Hotels

Aria Resort and Casino is the only casino hotel in the CityCenter complex. Vdara and Mandarin Oriental are just hotels.

Aria Resort places you in the center of the action for CityCenter with easy access to more than a dozen restaurants, casino, Elvis theater, numerous bars and Crystals, a luxury brands shopping center.

Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas at dawn

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas is truly a luxury hotel with the finest basic category room of the three CityCenter hotels including all the high-tech features found in Aria with added touches of higher quality room furnishings. Mandarin Oriental has two restaurants, Mandarin Bar and the Spa. The hotel is a five minute walk from Aria Resort and Casino and the CityCenter tram.

Mandarin Oriental as seen from Aria Resort entrance

The 47-floor Mandarin Oriental only has guest rooms up to floor 22. The hotel’s main lobby and bar are Floor 23 and higher floors are residences. Guests entering the hotel at ground level must take the elevator to the Floor 23 lobby and then change to a different set of elevators and go back down to room floors.

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas in morning light

Vdara is a condominium-style hotel with cooking facilities, dining area and bed-couch in each room. There is only one bar. Major advantage of Vdara is indoor corridor access to Bellagio and CityCenter tram.

Vdara Hotel at CityCenter Las Vegas

Vdara building view from pool deck reveals curvilinear form.

CityCenter Tram

An electric tram operates from 8am to 4am everyday to carry passengers along a near half-mile elevated track running from the Bellagio Resort north of Vdara through the CityCenter complex to the Monte Carlo Resort Casino south of Aria Resort with a center stop at Crystals retail area.

CityCenter tram passing over Harmon Avenue Las Vegas

Roundtrip from Bellagio to Monte Carlo takes six minutes and 15 seconds to cover the 2,187-foot track at a speed of 13.5 miles per hour. Two 95-foot long trains have four cars each and carry up to 33 passengers per car.

View of Aria Resort Lumia Fountain and Hotel Entrance from CityCenter Tram tinted windows.

The Harmon Tower

The lower floors of The Harmon Hotel were being papered over with CityCenter advertisements during the week I was in Las Vegas.  Construction issues and a lawsuit with the hotel project’s general contractor have left the building sitting unused and plans for demolition in the next couple of years.

Architect Norman Foster, designer of the Reichstag New German Parliament building, designed the Harmon as a tower with 47 stories like the Mandarin Oriental, however, construction stopped when improperly installed rebar, the reinforcement metal bars used in concrete,  was discovered on several floors. The hotel building has been called the world’s most expensive billboard.

Workers placing large ads on Harmon Building windows CityCenter Las Vegas in December 2010.

Veer Towers

Two 37-floor residential towers in the center of City Center were designed by Helmut Jahn and lean in opposite directions 4.6 degrees from vertical center.

Veer Towers, CityCenter Las Vegas

Veer Towers at night, CityCenter Las Vegas

Crystals Retail Space

Just off the Aria Hotel lobby and on the CityCenter tram line is Crystals retail area where you will find high-end luxury brands like Dior, Bulgari, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Fendi among others.

Crystals Retail Center, CityCenter Las Vegas

Crystals retail space, CityCenter Las Vegas

Louis Vuitton luggage display at Crystals

CityCenter Art

CityCenter Las Vegas prides itself on a fine art collection and provides tourists and hotel guests with a CityCenter “Fine Art Collection Map” to highlight 20 pieces of art around the 67-acre property.

One of the largest corporate collections of publicly displayed art in the world is present in CityCenter. Many large scale installations make CityCenter art worth seeking out. Here are a few of the pieces I noticed around the complex among the twenty listed on the CityCenter Las Vegas Fine Art Collection map.

Silver River, Artist Maya Lin

Reclining Connected Forms – Artist Henry Moore

Cactus Life – Living with the earth, Artist Masatoshi Izumi

Typewriter Eraser – Scale X, Artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

There is a large electronic message display in the lower level of Aria in the street outside the Haze nightclub. Vegas has some uplifting and some dark content passing along the walls.

Vegas – Artist Jenny Holzer

Biomorph forms, artist Tony Cragg located at Aria tram/self-park lobby

Big Edge, Artist Nancy Rubins is a large installation built from canoes between Aria and Vdara hotels

Related Posts:

Betting on Expedia.ca for a Vegas Suite Deal (Nov 20, 2010) [This post tells how I bought my flight to Las Vegas and an upgraded room at the Mandarin Oriental for $12.]

CityCenter Las Vegas – Art, Architecture and Space (Dec 16, 2010)

Hotel Detail – Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas in HD (Dec 11, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Pools, Spa and Dining (Dec 12, 2010)

Aria Resort Corner Suite and SkySuites (Dec 18, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas SkyVilla 19 (Dec 19, 2010)

Vdara Hotel, CityCenter Las Vegas (Dec 19, 2010)

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (Dec 23, 2010)

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Dec 21, 2010) (The Cosmopolitan is next to Vdara Hotel, but not part of CityCenter complex. The Cosmopolitan is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel.)

With fresh eyes I woke up to see the Aria Resort for a second day and a good day of hotel viewing. I like to get up early to take photos when the hotel floors are their emptiest of people. This is about the time many people are heading to their beds.

The 4,004 room Aria hotel has 16 restaurants and over a dozen drinking places. First I toured floors to see different views from hotel windows.

Aria Elevators

Aria hotel has six different sets of elevators to divide guests by room floors.

There were eight elevators for the nine floors 16 to 24 in my hotel elevator section. The most I ever waited for an elevator was 15 seconds. Impressive speed.

There is an exclusive key access elevator section for Aria SkySuites and SkyVillas on the upper floors of the central towers.

The Spa and Fitness Room

The Spa, pools and fitness room are accessed through the Promenade level, above the ground level Casino floor. The Fitness room opens at 6am and is accessed through The Spa doorway. The place was quite active when I arrived around 7am.

Fountain in front of fitness room

Aria Tip – Free coffee is available in dispensers during morning hours at the relaxation lounge outside the Fitness room. A trip to this section of the hotel through the Spa will save you $3 a cup at one of the Casino outlets and also provide a comfortable place with soft music, TV, a fireplace, and newspapers for lounging in the hotel in the morning.

Many pieces of the workout equipment face the hotel pools and there is a bank of TVs in the room. The fitness room is large, but too many exercisers were present for photos.

Aria Spa is a section of the hotel I just passed through. I have no insight to its services.

Aria Pools

The pools at Aria were only open from 9am to 4pm. I have written previously about the ridiculously short pool hours year-round in Las Vegas Casino resorts.

Pool Bar

Breeze Cafe

A feature I do not like about the pool area is two of the spa pools are situated near the windows of The Buffet restaurant.

One spa pool is concealed in the palm trees.

There are only a couple of hotels like the Westin Casuarina with pool hours in the evening. When staying in Las Vegas during summer and it is 95 degrees at 9pm in the evening, you can forget about a plunge at most hotel resort pools. The pool area will likely have closed sometime between 5pm and 7pm.

Pool view of Aria architecture

Dining at Aria

During my stay I only ate at The Buffet and drank at Bar Moderno. There are plenty of fine dining options at the hotel with a variety of restaurants serving different types of cuisine.

Barmasa for Japanese food is located at the end of the Aria hotel lobby. This lobby has been likened to an airport terminal by some. I actually like the open space of the lobby, although the seating is not particularly appealing. The Bellagio Hotel is a place I think stands out for comfortable seating in the halls for guests to relax.

Barmasa gate at the end of the Aria lobby is open 5-11pm Wednesday through Sunday. The restaurant is aesthetically appealing in a minimalist design.

Sage is American dining in the lobby location by Barmasa. I like the metal grill covers in the shape of wine glasses.

My parents said they enjoyed a dinner at Julian Serrano Tapas when my sister was in town. My sisters are the fine diners in our family.

My parents and I usually head to Ellis Island for $1.75 pints and $10 full rack of ribs dinner when I am in town. This casino has the smoky ambience of a locals dive bar and usually requires a wait of around an hour to eat, but if you like cheap microbrew draught beer and barbecue ribs and chicken or you want an inexpensive full steak dinner, then this place is worth a trip while you are in Vegas. Ellis Island is located diagonally across the street from the Westin Casuarina Hotel, two long blocks east of the Las Vegas Strip casinos around Paris and Planet Hollywood.

Todd English British Pub is located next to Julian Serrano Tapas. This pub is actually part of CityCenter Crystals shopping area and not the Aria hotel restaurants.

There are other restaurants around the casino floor. Café Vettro is open 24 hours and casual dining.

Blossom serves Chinese food and Lemongrass is Thai. I missed these restaurants entirely during my walkabouts. They are located by the SkySuites elevator section off the center of the casino floor near the escalators.

Above the Casino floor is the Promenade level with the Viva Elvis theater and several fine dining restaurants as well as The Buffet restaurant.

The Buffet serves weekday Monday through Friday breakfast for $15.99 (7-11am), lunch for $19.99 (11am-4pm) and dinner for $24.99 (Mon-Thur 4pm-10pm). Prices are higher on weekends with just brunch (7am-4pm) and gourmet dinner (Fri-Sun 4-10pm).

I ate lunch and enjoyed the Asian foods with chicken tandoori, naan bread, sushi and black bean beef. The snow crab is very popular. This past month has been Dungeness crab season in California so I am spoiled on good crab. I thought the snow crab was way too salty. The shrimp was flavorless. I waited too long for the waitress to come by for a drink order. You can’t even get a glass of water without a waitress.

The buffet selections covered many food types and the price is about standard for Las Vegas buffets. The weekends offer lobster gourmet dinner buffet.

The hall across from The Buffet features fine dining at Sirio Ristorante, American Fish a Michael Mina restaurant and Jean Georges Steakhouse.

Cactus garden in between Sirio, Steakhouse and American Fish

Blossom and Sirio Ristorante were closed during my stay.

Union Restaurant and Lounge offered a casino floor dining experience with 5 – 7pm happy hour offering half off drinks and appetizers seven days a week.

Jean Philippe Patisserie, located right by the main guest floor elevators was a popular place throughout the day for a quick snack or coffee.

Next up - Aria Resort and Casino – Part 3 – Art, Architecture and Space

Tomorrow I will be back in Las Vegas at the Mandarin Oriental.

Tuesday I am hoping to be invited for a pre-opening press tour of The Cosmopolitan Hotel. The hotel says it has to approve my press credentials. Really now. Who else is going to give the hotel more complete coverage?

[update Dec 25, 2010 - VegasChatter.com has given the Cosmopolitan extensive coverage in the past two weeks if you want critiques and reviews of various aspects of The Cosmopolitan rooms, pools, dining.]

Related Posts:

Betting on Expedia.ca for a Vegas Suite Deal (Nov 20, 2010) [This post tells how I bought my flight to Las Vegas and an upgraded room at the Mandarin Oriental for $12.]

CityCenter Las Vegas – Art, Architecture and Space (Dec 16, 2010)

Hotel Detail – Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas in HD (Dec 11, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Pools, Spa and Dining (Dec 12, 2010)

Aria Resort Corner Suite and SkySuites (Dec 18, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas SkyVilla 19 (Dec 19, 2010)

Vdara Hotel, CityCenter Las Vegas (Dec 19, 2010)

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (Dec 23, 2010)

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Dec 21, 2010) (The Cosmopolitan is next to Vdara Hotel, but not part of CityCenter complex. The Cosmopolitan is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel.)

Aria Resort, CityCenter Las Vegas: Lines, Angles and Color

The Aria hotel opened almost one year ago on December 17, 2009 in CityCenter complex Las Vegas located between Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts.

Aria Resort is listed as the 9th largest hotel in the world by number of rooms in Wikipedia. Aria has 4,004 rooms, including 568 suites, housed in two curvilinear glass towers of 59 room floors according to elevator buttons, or 61 floors according to the hotel website.   The 59th floor two-story Aria Sky Villas are equipped with a two-floor elevator inside the room to create 60 floors for the hotel central towers as listed in many Aria descriptions.  Smaller tower wings extend through central towers. My 24th floor room was the top floor of the northwest wing overlooking the pools.

 

First Impression is Maya Lin

The check-in desk is at the hotel entrance if you arrive at the front door in a car from Las Vegas Boulevard and drive by the Lumia central fountain and before the fountain wall. The concierge desk is located at the hotel entrance on the right wall along with an expansive registration desk looking the length of the Colorado River.

If you arrive by public transit or self-park and have luggage, you walk into an entrance with three large metallic sculptures. You can walk outside from here and take the sidewalk alongside the wall fountain to the main entrance of the hotel or you can walk into the casino.

Far fewer people and incredible design views of CityCenter and the front of the Aria Hotel day or night makes walking outside the recommended path if you are rolling luggage to hotel check-in. Otherwise you pass through the casino across the length of the large hotel on a possibly crowded floor. Inside the casino you will pass by several restaurants and bars in a softly lit interior walk along the periphery of the gaming area to the registration desk at the far side of the building.

Check-in

I was offered a suite  upgrade for $75 per night, but apparently my attention was captivated by the long piece of shiny metal running the wall behind the registration desk since I turned down the offer.

Silver River is 84-feet of reclaimed silver cast sculpture of the Colorado River by American artist Maya Lin.  She is probably most famous for designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., a public design competition she won at the age of 21.

Aria Resort and Casino is the centerpiece of CityCenter Las Vegas. Opened in December 2009, CityCenter is the largest privately funded real estate development in the U.S. at a cost around 8.5 billion dollars to MGM Mirage.

Pelli Clark Pelli Architects designed Aria Resort and Casino.  This is the same firm that designed the iconic Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The architectural firm received the Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award in 2010 for Aria Resort and Casino.

Aria is the largest hotel in the world to have received LEED Gold certification. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system providing third-party independent verification that a building meets design requirements for energy savings, water efficiency, improved indoor environmental quality, green building design and maintenance.

So what about the hotel rooms?

My 24th floor room seemed about 120 yards from the elevators. I am convinced you could walk a mile just covering the hallways of this single floor a couple of times. The rooms on this floor spread out in a curving fashion.

The windows in this wing (upper left in map) hallway look out to Vdara, a sister MGM Resorts hotel at CityCenter, and the Cosmopolitan hotel, adjacent to Vdara, but not actually part of CityCenter project. The Cosmopolitan opens next week on December 15, 2010 and has signed as a Marriott Autograph Collection brand.

The room key operates by radio frequency and opens the door by waving the key in front of the door’s circular pad rather than sliding into a lock mechanism.

Upon entering the room for the first time the drapes and blinds electronically open automatically and music plays on the TV. I enjoyed the musical selection playing but I never again found that music type on the sound system after my initial room entry. My room ovelooked the pool area of Aria Resort and the back side of the hotel looking toward the southwest portion of Las Vegas and the  mountains.

The 520-square foot room has high-tech electronics controlled by master switches on the walls, a nightstand touchscreen control panel I had some difficulty working and through the TV remote that I also had some difficulty working for certain functions.

The complaint I read most for this hotel in guest reviews was the difficulty in getting the technology to work properly. In all fairness to Aria’s room system, I was able to get most functions to work correctly without issue, but little glitches like the wake-up alarm not setting properly, switching to the TV through a remote control glitch when I was trying to change music selections, and finding it difficult to turn off the lights while keeping the blinds open were challenges I faced during my stay.

Wall and nightstand electronic switches are accompanied by a nightstand master remote unit and the TV remote.

The bed had quite a bit of bedding. The first night I was not particularly comfortable since I prefer a harder bed. The second night I slept better. The bed is probably perfectly fine  for most guests.

The desk had plugs for a variety of media inputs. Wireless is part of the $20 daily resort fee implemented just last week at the Aria Resort.

The resort fee includes complimentary access to fitness room and a daily paper privilege you must redeem yourself at the hotel store. I also received two free drink coupons worth $8.65 each for a pint of Stella Artois at the Bar Moderno. The drink coupon is redeemable at four of Aria’s hotel bars.

The bathroom in my King Deluxe had adjacent shower and bathtub in a single glass door unit. Higher category rooms at the hotel have a separate tub and shower unit.

All Aria rooms I saw had a double sink vanity unit in the bathroom.

The basic room like mine had a standard water efficient toilet. High category rooms at the Aria Resort have electronic units with sensors that open the toilet automatically when you walk into the stall and a variety of wash functions. I will write another blog post to show features of different category hotel rooms I saw during my room tour of the Aria Resort.

The entry hall has closets, robes, drawers and a full length mirror. The door e-panel has buttons for room privacy and room servicing indicator messages in the hall outside the door.

The room had a room safe in the nightstand drawer. My dad in his practical way asked “What would keep someone from just taking the whole drawer out of the unit?”

As I played with the safe in the drawer (I was not attempting to remove the drawer) a message came up on the TV. I suppose there would be some kind of an electronic alarm for hotel security if the drawer were taken out of the unit.

The hotel mini-bar is the electronic type meaning you are charged when you move an object inside. The air temperature unit worked quite well as I turned down the temperature to a comfortable 66 degrees for me during my entire stay from the 72 degrees default setting.

My next post will cover the other aspects of Aria Resort like the restaurants and bars, pools, Aria Spa, fitness room, art installations, and different room types in the hotel.

 

Loyalty Traveler Disclosure on this hotel review- I have not been paid or received any compensation by MGM Mirage or hotels mentioned in this piece. I did not receive complimentary rooms for this hotel stay.

When I rave about something, I rave about it because the hotel appealed to me personally. When I complain about a hotel, then my complaint is due to a problem I had or the potential for a guest problem  I foresee with a hotel.

I am a consumer analyst covering hotels for hotel guests.

Over the next week I will be writing extensively about several new hotels in Las Vegas with stays at Aria and Mandarin Oriental. These trips to Las Vegas and my hotel reviews are a result of incredible hotel + air package deals I purchased through Expedia Canada’s SAVE300 promotion in November when trips to Las Vegas were discounted by $300. While the Expedia promotion was meant for travel from Canada, there was a window of opportunity to book these packages from any location.

Trips from California to Las Vegas priced out at under $300 all-in for one and two night stays at 5-star Las Vegas resorts like Wynn, Bellagio, Aria, Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental. My two night stay at Aria Resort in a basic room with a roundtrip ticket from San Jose, California cost a total of $82 Canadian dollars. The same package from San Francisco would have been free, or I could have upgraded to a higher category room for a slightly higher rate.

Ultimately I saw several different room categories at the Aria Hotel during my two-night stay. The tour was not just for me being Loyalty Traveler asking for a hotel tour, but by a lucky coincidence. My hotel stay dates and request matched an arranged tour time for travel agents attending the Luxury Travel Expo 2010 at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, another MGM Resorts property.

Aria’s open house reception showed off the hotel to perhaps a hundred travel agents from the Expo. I tagged along at the invitation of the Aria hotel with a group of about ten others. The tour started with the basic King Deluxe, the same category room at 520 square feet size that I stayed in, although the tour room had a more desirable hotel higher floor location and view. I saw a King Deluxe corner room with Strip view, a one-bedroom suite, a one-bedroom Sky Suite on the 51st floor and a top of the line 58th floor 3-bedroom Sky Villa. One article I read listed a rate around $6,000 per night for this Sky Villa at some point in 2010.

I found the Aria Resort to be a top-level hotel room and beautifully designed resort in CityCenter Las Vegas. The group of travel agents I spent a couple of hours with on Thursday evening touring rooms at Aria Resort and Casino also seemed impressed by the hotel room design, views, and features. This AAA 5-diamond rated hotel is truly luxury at a bargain price with rates as low as $129 per night for many weekdays in December 2010.

Related Posts:

Betting on Expedia.ca for a Vegas Suite Deal (Nov 20, 2010) [This post tells how I bought my flight to Las Vegas and an upgraded room at the Mandarin Oriental for $12.]

CityCenter Las Vegas – Art, Architecture and Space (Dec 16, 2010)

Hotel Detail – Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas in HD (Dec 11, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Pools, Spa and Dining (Dec 12, 2010)

Aria Resort Corner Suite and SkySuites (Dec 18, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas SkyVilla 19 (Dec 19, 2010)

Vdara Hotel, CityCenter Las Vegas (Dec 19, 2010)

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (Dec 23, 2010)

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Dec 21, 2010) (The Cosmopolitan is next to Vdara Hotel, but not part of CityCenter complex. The Cosmopolitan is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel.)

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