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The Desert Blooms!
Jenn Thornton | Produced by Isaiah Freeman-Schub | Photo: Courtesy of Aria Resort & Casino and Cirque du Soleil | December 24, 2013
Hitting its highest note yet with its latest additions, Aria Resort & Casino angles for an encore in Las Vegas.
World-class gaming, fine dining, headlining nightlife, luxe-label retail and au courant culture—never has there been a better time for another high-roller weekend in Las Vegas. But forget about your past sojourns to Sin City and focus on the future (or, rather, the futuristic): Aria Resort & Casino, and its swanky hotel-within-a-hotel concept, Aria Sky Suites. Together, the Strip’s most tech-savvy twosome takes exclusivity to the next-level with an overabundance of offerings, plus a few recent additions and some rather natty nests.
Accommodating Aria’s spiffiest stays is Sky Suites—a collection of 442 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites and penthouses, as well as stakes-raising Sky Villas. Here, elite occupancy comes with a low-profile arrival leading from a private entrance down a hall lined with window boxes of luxury wares to a plush, well-attended reception area where adroitly coiffed staffers flaunt ready-to-assist demeanors.
As smooth as check-in is here, the elevator ride en route to the one-bedroom Penthouse Sky Suite is as express as it gets. The space—its own study in swiftness—quickly nullifies proprietary manifestations of Vegas (soft music playing upon entry, splashes of mauve and lime, a patent leather headboard) with living and formal dining areas (including a breakfast bar), plus two bathrooms, with the enormous master option featuring a separate soaking tub and roomy shower. The palatial treatment continues to the light-filled corner bedroom overlooking both the Strip and Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. Sleek, dark, contemporary decor sets off a sea of select accoutrements, including organic bath essentials and technology so advanced it’s hospitality’s version of a high-wired act to rival Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil, staged exclusively at Aria. Impressively, the situation only improves in the more residentially adorned two-bedroom Penthouse.
Like the resort’s main roundup of accommodations (4,004 guest rooms, including 568 suites in all, from the 520-square-foot Deluxe incarnation, all the way up to the spacious 2,000-square-foot Executive Hospitality Suite), Aria Sky Villas deliver the goods and then some. Depending on where you are, this might mean 7,000 square feet of space, a separate living and seating area, a formal dining room with full wet bar, a private sauna and workout facility, and a fully stocked kitchen (there’s even two stories for the taking if needed). Always, you’ll find de facto signs of status: Wi-Fi connectivity from just about everywhere and spa-like bathrooms with separate showers and private water closets. As for those cloud-comparable sleeping chambers Aria calls beds, expect a dressing of 300-thread-count linens covered by plush down.
Add to these privileges the Spa & Salon at Aria (relax to your max at 80,000 square feet) and a sprawling 215,000-square-foot pool deck that, in addition to boasting three dipping spots, parades out Liquid Pool & Lounge, an adults-only operation with a condo-size main pool, luxe private cabanas and a premier party vibe. Also in the mix are sexy refreshers, taut bods and top DJs, along with a bar, personalized chaise lounges and daybed service.
And the eats are even more elite now that Aria has added a trio of culinary experiences to its already gluttonous ode to fine gastronomy. Along with Five50 Pizza Bar by James Beard honoree Shawn McClain comes Tetsu, an interactive teppanyaki concept from acclaimed chef Masayoshi Takayama, serving everything from spicy octopus to lobster grills. A chipper sommelier, meanwhile, suggests perfect sake pairings. (Hint: The best of all chasers just might be the resto’s crisp grapefruit sorbet.) Last of the newcomers is spicy Javier’s, a Mexican eatery touting a high-energy vibe, intimate booths and hand-shaken spirits. For a nightcap, Haze Nightclub innovates after-dark carousing with flagship flair, taking cutting-edge to an art form with state-of-the-art sound and PYTs aplenty, while the 1950s-tinged Gold Boutique Nightclub & Lounge finds its groove in glam surrounds and kicky cocktails.
Providing retail reprieve is The Shops at Aria, carrier of trendy designer merch (source baubles at Radiance and menswear at Aria Men’s) in a boutique setting, while big-name label haven, The Shops at Crystals, dazzles with a soaring facade formed by gem-like shapes and rarefied emporia from fashion heavyweights like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford, Prada and others. It’s a great way to blow a big win. Then again, everything at Aria is a sure bet.