Is Aria The Best Choice For A Gimmick-Free Las Vegas Stay?

Despite being 15 years old, Aria still feels like one of the newer resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

ARIA Resort & Casino
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Of course, technically speaking, it is one of the newer spots, given that only a handful of major resorts—the Cosmopolitan, Resorts Worlds, Fontainebleau—are younger. Dream, which is set to open in 2025, is the next major resort coming to the Strip.

One thing that characterizes the resorts built in the 21st century is that they are mostly “un-themed”, and Aria, as well as its sister property, the Waldorf Astoria, are probably the standout examples of that. They lack the gimmickry of the older resorts, and, for some of us, that’s a good thing. In fact, while it has flaws, which we will get to a bit later, there is an argument that the Aria is the best choice for being on the Strip while avoiding the gimmicks.

Opening in 2009, the Aria was at the time considered the most technologically advanced hotel ever built. Some of that technology – such as the ubiquitous touchscreen tablets found everywhere in the building – might seem a bit old hat now, but it was seen as revolutionary at the time. There is a touch of the “business class” about the Aria, which is both a strength and a weakness.

Aria’s Casino is one of the best

It has, of course, all the elements that characterize a typical Strip resort – numerous pools, nightclubs, and a huge casino. With so many Las Vegas casinos, it can be hard to stand out. And we might argue that the difference-maker for the Aria is the fact it doesn’t stand out. It’s modern and classy. It sprawls across 150,000 sq ft, but it remains subtle. Like all the big casinos, it can get busy, but it feels like a world from some of the busier spots on the Strip.

Aria has just a nudge over 4,000 rooms. The hotel itself has 50 floors. It is sometimes bundled together with its “CityCenter” sister properties, the Vdara and Waldorf, but on its own, the Aria is one of the biggest on The Strip. It never feels that way, though, and it’s arguably because it is so smartly compartmentalized.

As for pricing, you are looking at the upper end for the Strip. We priced a weekend in May at about $300 per night (excluding taxes and fees), but you are looking at up to $1500 per night for one of the Sky Suites (Aria’s luxury option). We mentioned some criticisms of the Aria, and some have taken aim at the Sky Suites experience. It’s framed as a VIP stay, but many thought it somewhat lacking in the razzmatazz offered by other resorts on the Strip.

A soft touch with nightlife

If you travel to Vegas these days, depending on your age, you either want to embrace some of the party atmosphere or avoid it. If you are somewhere in-between, then the Aria is a good choice. It has a pool party, and it has a fairly popular nightclub, Jewel, but they are tucked away in the resort to such an extent that you wouldn’t notice that they are running. Compared to, say, Omnia Nightclub and Caesars, which you can’t seem to escape, Aria’s party life has a delicate touch.

Foodwise, Aria is a top-notch destination. Fine dining options include Catch, which is one of the best seafood restaurants in Vegas, and Carbone, which offers the best of Italian-American cuisine. Javier’s, too, is an underrated gem for Mexican cuisine and, of course, tequilas. If you get the chance, try the Jalapeno Margaritas at Javier’s.

Perhaps what we are trying to convey is that the Aria can feel quiet despite being a mega-resort smack-bang on the center of the Strip. And for some travelers, that best-of-both-worlds quality might appeal. That location allows you to explore the brasher parts of the Strip while offering an escape route should the Vegas lights get too bright. As mentioned, not everything is perfect about Aria, and we might suggest you avoid it if you are on a bachelor party or some other raucous adventure. But for those who want to sample a bit of luxury while not getting too entrenched in the Strip’s gimmickry, it might be the perfect choice.

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