A Long-Awaited Stay at Aria

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Aria entrance

Welcome to Aria

I’ve been wanting to try a stay at Aria for years, but it’s almost always outside my budget during the times I’m in Las Vegas. Late last summer, it was finally within reach, and I’m so glad I booked it. I loved staying here! What a beautiful hotel. Obviously, it’s not the right hotel for anyone on a tight budget, but if you can afford places like Palazzo, Bellagio, Wynn and the Cosmopolitan, you can afford Aria.

Anyone can enjoy the casino and restaurants here, as I have on many occasions while staying at Aria’s less expensive neighbor, the Monte Carlo. But there are certain things you only notice once you’re a guest of the hotel.

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Restaurant Sleeper Hit of 2015: Aria Cafe

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Aria Cafe

Aria Cafe

Before my stay at the Aria, I had never eaten at their Cafe, but I had certainly heard a lot about it from friends–none of it good. So it wasn’t exactly high on my list. But as these things sometimes happen, early on in my stay, I had a craving for roast chicken. I had planned on eating at one of the hot new restaurants, Bardot Brasserie, or Lago, that night, but after perusing Bardot’s menu, I just wasn’t feeling it, and Lago was mobbed. I wandered between Monte Carlo, Aria and Bellagio for nearly an hour, looking at over a dozen different menus, and no one had what I was looking for. . .except the Aria Cafe. I finally thought, what the hell? I’ll give it a try.

It was around 9pm, and I was clearly overdressed. Everyone else in the place was wearing shorts. To be fair, I was dressed up because I had planned on eating somewhere a bit fancier. In any case, don’t feel obligated to dress up for this place just because it’s in an expensive hotel. Continue reading

Happiness is a Leisurely Morning by the Pool

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One of Aria's pools

One of Aria’s pools

When I first started traveling, I had to be active every minute of every day, or I’d feel as though I were “wasting time” on my vacation. Oh, how I’ve changed as I’ve gotten older. I’m still not the kind of person who just wants to sit by a pool all day long on vacation, but the older I get, the more I enjoy a leisurely morning reading by the pool. To me, slowing down like that really feels like I’m on vacation.

What makes a perfect pool experience for me

It’s sometimes hard to find the perfect pool in Las Vegas. I’m one of those fair-skinned people with a family history of skin cancer, so ample shade is a MUST. It’s ridiculous how few pools in Vegas offer decent shade–despite temperatures soaring well into the 100s. Also, many of them play music way too loud, and some have the DJ party scene going on, and that’s just not relaxing to me. Don’t even get me started on cover charges just to sit by a pool for a couple of hours. In the past, I’ve enjoyed the pools at the Palazzo, Bellagio, and Monte Carlo. On my most recent trip, I struck gold with both the Downtown Grand pool and the Aria pool. For me, they each represented the perfect pool experience. Continue reading

Best Burger in Vegas?

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Pub 1842

Michael Mina’s Pub 1842 at the MGM

Every once in awhile, I’ll read a blog post or message forum thread in which people express their opinions about “the best burger in Las Vegas”. Of course “best” is always subjective, dependent on personal taste, and it’s impossible for anyone to really say what is the “best” of anything, unless they’ve sampled a burger at every single one of the hundreds of restaurants in a given city. Still, it’s fun to discuss, because most of us who are carnivores will probably have a burger at some point during a trip to Vegas, and reading about other people’s favorites may inspire us to try some of them for ourselves on a future trip.

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Getting Solo Moments on a Group Trip

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Today’s post, about how you can squeeze in some “me” time even when you’re visiting Las Vegas with others, is courtesy of guest blogger Adam Bauer, aka Vegas Fan Boy. (P.S. If you’re not already listening to Adam’s podcast, you should be.)

Vegas Strip

Vegas Strip at night (photo by Adam Bauer)

Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling to Las Vegas with my closest friends and, occasionally, my wife. Not that I don’t always love going with my wife, it’s just that we only occasionally go. I had to include that in case she reads this. Moving on, group trips can be a ton of fun. However, there are times, especially on an extended trip, in which I just want a solo moment or two. It can be tough when you have to account for other people’s Vegas wants. Here are a few ways I work in some alone time which may work for you as well: Continue reading