Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Breathtaking Beyond Belief: The Aria Resort & Casino

Amazingly enough, the time for our “The Supreme Plate Road Trip” had arrived and our staff was nothing short of excited. The decided destination this time around was The Aria Resort, which resides in the “Sinful” city full of glitz, glam and gorgeous eye catching attractions, Las Vegas.
Now for those of you who stay loyal and read our updates, you already knew we were headed to Vegas to attend a few shows and do some thorough inspecting into this newly created oasis in the middle of the desert.
After a short but adventurous drive into town we arrived at The Aria Resort (living in Southern California does have it advantages and besides who wants to hassle with airports when your only 3 hrs away by car?)

At first glance the hotel is utterly breathtaking. To take in its full beauty one must really stop everything they are doing and gaze at the amazing architectural lines of the properties as they fall against the beautiful mountainous backdrop.
Located in the heart of the strip, we pulled into the rather easy to navigate valet line, where we were instantly greeted by a young gentleman, who was all smiles and excitement about our arrival and our plans for the weekend.

Quickly snatching up our bags while giving us a bit of insight about what to check out inside the hotel and where to eat, he quickly sett the tone for a great weekend of service and fun.
Once inside the hotel itself you find yourself in a beautifully lit, extravagantly designed playhouse for adults that honestly barely resembled the old haunts of Las Vegas gambling hall’s past. The hint of cigarette smoke was barely visible, a big plus in this day and age where people seem to smoke 10 times more than they normally do upon touching down in Vegas.

We checked in at the invited guests location and were promptly given a few free passes to the much talked about Buffet including an immensely helpful line skipping pass (the pass after a long evening, will be seem like a golden ticket from Willie Wonka.)
Now came the time to see what everyone was really talking about. Having heard there is an incredibly long walk from check in, to the hotel elevators I began to have visions of us fighting through the casino floor like fish fighting to get upstream, but was pleasantly surprised to find that this was far from being true.
Yes the elevators are a bit of a walk behind the casino floor, but when you have a hotel laid out in this matter, your obviously eliminating the threat of having random uninvited people taking a trip up to your room for whatever their reasons may be.
Our rooms were on the 38th floor and let us tell you now; the view from every single angle in the room was marvelous.

Upon entry to the room, the curtains were automatically drawn open, our TV turned on and the lights came on, just dimly lit enough for us to fully take in the view and our amenities.
A quick call to the bell desk and less than 5 minutes later, our bags were at our door being delivered by another young helpful gentleman who wouldn’t even accept our tip (after 10 minute of conversation he said it was truly his pleasure helping us get situated.)

Having enough time before our first event began that evening we took a short stroll to see what the property had to offer. At every turn there was a helpful casino attendant who offered directions and or advice when asked without any hints of sarcasm or being tired of obviously having heard the same questions thousands of times.
We settled back into our room, ordered some room service and began to get ready for the almost euphoric experience entitled “Le Reve” which is housed at the Wynn Hotel.

Keeping our order simple with a personal pizza, a plate of hot-wings and another large plate of chicken fingers, we knew these were dishes that serve as traditional standbys for millions of families around the globe so we put them to the test.
The pizza had an amazingly light crust full of flavor with the right amount of salt and spice in the pizza sauce that reminded us of being at one of our favorite hole in the wall pizza joints back home. 
The chicken wings and chicken fingers were both amazing as well. The sauce on the hot-wings packed enough spice to satisfy the spice head in me, but wasn’t so much that either a child of someone who cant stand spicy food would be unable to eat them.
The crunch of the chicken fingers was close to perfect, because there was not one bite of that chicken finger, that didn’t contain wonderfully flavored, moist chicken (we all hate to take a bite and find that we just ate a bunch of breading.)

We all know how intrusive into the pocket book a few rounds of room service can be, but this time around we were quite pleased.  With phenomenal pricing on everything from bottled water to Kaluga Caviar the hotel knew what areas to pay attention to, to help the guests feel like everything was truly an added bonus and not an added expense.
Avoiding the annoyance of unreasonably high-added room gratuity, the hotel allows the guests to take the matter of giving a tip into their own hands, which usually results in a bigger tip anyways for the room service attendant.
Later that evening we enjoyed the show Le Reve and called it a day. For more info on the show itself look back later this week on our review of Le Reve.

Waking up to a blacked out room was great the second day. I had once again read reviews where people had stated they hated the curtains fully automatic controls, but to us, they worked out just fine each and every time we pushed one of the many readily available controls found in the room. From room temperature, lightning and curtain control to radio, TV and privacy / service requests, the touch screen system located right next to the deluxe king size bed was completely amazing.
We have all at one time or another gotten ourselves comfortably situated in bed for whatever we may be doing only to find we left a light on, or the room fan is blowing way to hard and had to get out to adjust something, stalling out a good time. With Arias room control panel being as user friendly as it was, staying in a hotel without just such a machine will be hard to imagine from now on.

With the dual closets and bathroom offering more than enough space for two people to comfortably stow away luggage and get ready it is obvious that this hotel has paid attention to what customers look for in a quality hotel room.
With dual sinks, an abundance of cabinet space to hold all needed toiletries, a shower and spacious bathtub the bathroom area was truly another gem to behold in the room.

Oftentimes people will get lost in newly built massive hotels, especially when they connect to another property or are filled with numerous restaurants and stores to shop in. With staff standing on every corner and bustling through the casino we found more than enough cheerful people to point us in the right direction when asked.

Heading to dinner for the evening we decided to try our hand at SAGE, the contemporary American styled restaurant created by the amazing Chef Shawn McClain.
Something that must mentioned is the fact that we had made reservations for 7:00 pm and were unable to make them due to a scheduling conflict. After placing a quick call to SAGE, we were quickly given a new time that was suitable for us without any hassle.
This was an obvious precursor for what was to be an extraordinary affair.
The hostess quickly took us to our intimate table for two, which provided us with perfect views of the entire restaurant.
Decorated in lovely dark shades of purples and other wonderfully rich colors the layout and theme were inviting and warm. Unlike many other restaurants of this caliber where diners find themselves stacked on top of one another, if it weren’t for awesome attention from the staff every so often, we might’ve thought we were dining in a private room.
The meals were amazing, having started off with complimentary Rose Champagne and a few in house made bacon bread rolls served with house whipped butter and Australian sea salt, (lets just say I was trying to find a way to smuggle out a few for the late night eating we would be doing in the room.)
With prices being reasonable for such a swanky restaurant customers will be able to allow themselves a chance to indulge upon items they may haven never even knew existed. From the Foie Gras Crème Brulee to Fresh Blueberry Beignets and each and every one of our courses in-between were incredible.
The Chef sent out a double dose of Lobster Bisque shots to serve as our Amuse Buche that were out of this world. Truly a refreshing splash of sea inspired heaven in a cup, these were delightful down to the delicately seasoned last drop.
Deciding to go with the Pan seared Wild King Salmon (served with a mouth watering Porcini Mushroom, Chickpea and Garlic Puree) and the Mishima Ranch Kobe Flat Iron Steak (w/ Potato Pave, Glazed Heirloom Carrots & Shaved Summer Truffles) we were amazed at the delicate flavors wrapped up into each bite.
Truly a place for those that consider themselves “Foodies” or “Gastronomically Enhanced” this restaurant is sure to become a standout place to see and be seen simply because of its approach to quality ingredients and good food. No hype or 3-ring circus acts are needed to get the fans into the seats of this show that is for sure.
Finalizing the night with the Beignets and yet another Chef’s complimentary item a warm shot of Hot Chocolate, similar to a pot au crème shot that was out of this world.
The staff, the food, the décor, the ambience and everything else you may want to consider before spending your hard earned dollars in, were well on point and deserve to be praised for their excellent execution of pure sensory indulgence.
Upon leaving dinner we headed over to Haze the nightclub were we treated to a packed house of partygoers, looking to sweat away their troubles for the evening. Situated on the lower level of the hotel, the huge multi level club was filled with plenty of VIP areas and multiple bars, it was great to see more people were actually on the dance floor than standing at the bar for once in a nightclub.
The experience is great for those who look forward to hearing great music while consuming copious amounts of perfectly blended libations. Truly good times were had by all in our party (except the gentleman who could not enter the club do to his timberland boots, while my Nike Dunks were acceptable, like they say its all in how you wear it.)

The following morning we took a trip down to the buffet to be greeted by an exceptionally long line of equally eagerly hungry hotel guests. Although the line was moving rather quickly, to our luck when checking in we were given a pass to avoid the line, which helped us to be seated within 6 minutes of our arrival. 

Once again we were given complimentary champagne and a lovely table in the middle of all of the action. Starting out with a monstrous 3 plates of cold delicious colossal king crab legs and more shrimp cocktail than one cares to admit to eating everything else became a blur from there on. Ok no it really didn’t, because shortly there after I consumed a bowl of great chicken and okra gumbo, a lightly seasoned vegetable omelet, a few slices of delicious smoked bacon, some turkey breast and gravy, a few slices of pizza, a blueberry and a strawberry fresh made parfait, some California rolls, red velvet cake, 2 Roasted Pear Hennessy side cars (ok this might be my new drink of choice when I am feeling like a million bucks.)

All in all part one of this road trip was a complete success, thanks to the overly helpful and extremely delightful staff at The Aria Resort & Casino. For those of you that have read any other reviews online and were left scratching your heads, don’t worry we were doing the same thing until we took a chance and stayed for a weekend.

From the moment we checked in we were greeted by sincere smiling staff members (who were beyond helpful and gave us delicious chocolate covered strawberries & fresh made macaroons) that seemed to be truly interested in making our weekend a complete success and they did just that.

We wish to offer many thanks to everyone at the resort especially Sean Helmick, a true gentleman and a scholar.

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