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It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a “me trip.” As a stay at home mom of a rambunctious 21 month old, I am lucky enough if I get to go to the bathroom on my own, let alone a trip! While Vegas isn’t necessarily my destination of choice, I recently teamed up with Visa Signature and was invited to the Aria hotel to experience some of the benefits of booking a hotel room through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection website. With two feet of snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures in the Northeast, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity for a sunny, relaxing, and baby-free trip!
Arriving in Vegas
Go figure, the morning I arrived in Las Vegas it snowed! I was beyond excited to sit by the pool and escape the wrath of the Northeast snow, but it looked like that wasn’t going to happen. Fortunately, the Vegas hotels were built to ensure you never have to go outside!
The check-in line wasn’t too bad and I was happy they had a room ready for me at 10am. I was told I was being upgraded to a city view room on the 54th floor! This was a nice treat since I typically wouldn’t pay for an upgraded room. Since I booked through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection site, I was explained all of the benefits of being a “VIP guest” and was also given a piece of paper listing them all out for me. This included a room upgrade when available (which I received), in-room internet, complimentary breakfast, late checkout upon request, VIP guest status, and a $25 food and beverage credit. When inquiring about the VIP guest status, I was told that a “VIP” gift would arrive to my room once I got there. Sure enough, a box of chocolates from Jean-Phillippe were brought to my room!
Upon walking into the room, the music turned on and the window curtains opened wide. It was an extremely high tech welcoming which I do not believe I’ve experienced before! It was pretty cool and I immediately was able to see the Las Vegas strip.
The room was a decent size for Vegas and the bathroom sported a bathtub, a double person shower (right next to the tub which was cool), a large vanity, and a separate room for the toilet. While not a big deal for most people, my main gripe was no chair to sit on while drying my hair! Typically in many hotels I am able to sit on the toilet, but since it is in a separate little room with no outlet it didn’t work. Definitely a #firstworldproblem!
I am usually not a big breakfast person. Typically I am more than content with a clif bar and a banana. Maybe that is also because nowadays I hardly have time for anything else! But since this was a “me trip”, sitting down for a relaxing and peaceful breakfast without having to clean up spilled milk was amazing. Fortunately, I was able to do just that with hardly any out of pocket expense! One of the benefits of booking through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection site is that you are given complimentary breakfast every morning of your stay! At the Aria specifically, you are given a $20 credit per person each day towards breakfast. One morning I ate at “ARIA Café” and the other morning I ate at “The Buffet”. The ARIA Cafe was cafeteria style so I didn’t have to feel so awkward sitting at a table by myself. Their prices were half way reasonable for waited service in Vegas. And while I went pretty low key for my meal, my yogurt with granola and fruit was perfect! My daughter is obsessed with granola, so that is something I am hardly able to eat in peace without two hands in my bowl!
Now, The Buffet is an experience not to miss. It is exactly what you think of when picturing those massive buffets people talk about in Vegas. Unlike the old days of Vegas they are no longer a $4.99 smorgasbord. At the Aria it is a fixed price of $21.64 (including tax) and it includes literally anything you can think of. You name the type of food, they had it! There was all the typical breakfast items, which included an omelet station, pastries, fruit, yogurt, bagels, donuts, bacon, etc. But then there was also pizza, a salad bar, gelato, an Asian station with dumplings and miso soup, a carving station, raw bar (yes shrimp and crab legs!), and so many other options I cannot even recall!
The $20 credit fully covered my breakfast at Aria Cafe and I only had to pay $1.64 out of pocket at The Buffet. Unfortunately though, the credit does not cover the tip even if you spend less on your meal + tax than the allotted amount. My total breakfast over the course of the two days came out to be a total of $7.64 which is awesome for two nice meals! Another good thing to know is that the credit can be used towards room service as well, but as I mentioned before, I am not in Vegas to spend time in my room!
Lunch was at Julian Serrano and dinner was at Bardot. Julian Serrano was spanish tapas, while Bardot was French. While both restaurants were phenomenal, I think my preference was for Julian Serrano – I have a sweet spot for spanish food! Both are high end restaurants, so if you are not looking to reach deep into your pocket these two spots are probably not up your alley. Although if you are looking for a deal both have a happy hour menu (Julian Serrano is Sunday through Thursday 4pm-5:30pm and Bardot is daily 5pm-7pm). There are definitely more reasonable restaurants at the hotel and the Vdara is next door as well to give you more options.
Let me start off by saying that I do not typically frequent the spa. I think I’ve gotten a massage less than a handful of times and my last Thai massage a few years back left me scarred for life! But, this was a relaxing trip and a 50-minute massage was the icing on the cake. The facility reminded me of being in Bali and was very luxurious. My masseuse was phenomenal and I never wanted to leave! After my massage I even used some of the other spa facilities since any treatment comes with a day pass. I hung out for a little in the Japanese stone beds and in the salt-infused air room. There are also pools available only for spa guests.
It was a very calming experience and I highly recommend the Aria spa for those looking for a relaxing “me” day. The prices were reasonable for Las Vegas and the fact that I could spend the entire day utilizing the rest of the spa facilities was nice. I did not feel like I was on the crazy and loud Las Vegas strip, but instead a hidden oasis in the middle of know where!
Unfortunately my only visit to the pool was to walk around in my fleece jacket and take pictures. There are three pools and three hot tubs, and it looks like they were doing some construction to two of the pools. The first day I was there I literally did not see one person in the pool, hot tub, or lounge chairs. Remember, it snowed that morning in Vegas! The second day it warmed up a little, but still not a pool day for me! I’ve stayed at a few Vegas pools and the area looked very nice in my opinion.
One of the nights I was there I saw the Cirque du soleil show Zarkana. This is located on the second floor of the Aria hotel and was actually my first Cirque du soleil show ever. It was amazing and after speaking to other people that are well versed in the Vegas show scene, it seems like this is one of the better shows. My favorite act had to be the juggler, although they were all unbelievable! It also looks like Aria is running a promotion where if you purchase your first ticket through them, the second one is only $30. Although in Vegas I am sure there are many options to get discounted show tickets.
Overall… I had a great stay at the Aria hotel and would highly recommend it for a future stay in Las Vegas as long as it is in your price range. Also, being able to personally experience the benefits of the Visa Siganture Luxury Hotel Collection was great. While the breakfast credit and $25 additional food and beverage voucher helped me dine for less, the chocolates they brought me a few minutes after I arrived to my room was a nice touch. From what I’ve heard from others who have used the Visa site before, the experience I received is on par with other hotels in the collection. Now that I am pretty much losing most of my hotel status, this will be a way to continue to get the perks of status without actually meeting the requirements!
While this post focused primarily on my experience at the Aria hotel, the next few will go into greater detail on the benefits of booking through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection. The Collection, which includes 900 luxury hotels across the globe (both chain and boutique hotels), also includes some limited time deals which I will write about as well! Free benefits + luxury + a potential deal sounds like the perfect combo! I’ll also be giving away a free night to a lucky reader to experience the benefits themselves!