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July TR - Aria SkySuites For The Win

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Pattie, Aug 7, 2013.

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  1. Pattie

    Pattie Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Maryland
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8

    My Trip Report

    This TR covers a week so it is long.

    This was our 7th trip to Las Vegas and while I have said in a past TR (on a different forum) that the Bellagio was the only hotel for us, when the opportunity to stay in a two bedroom SkySuite at the Aria for practically comped presented itself we took full advantage of it. I booked this spectacular deal in February for a July trip so the countdown for this trip was exceptionally arduous!

    We are big believer’s in Karma, not just for All Things Vegas, but in our everyday life as well. We pay-it-forward everyday, we don’t try to be jerks, and we share our good fortunes when we can. We are also steadfast and true to the people that we love.

    With that little introduction aside, we just had to share this gift of the accommodations with someone who 1) deserved a lovely room in Vegas 2) who would appreciate the suite and 3) was someone that we could live with for a few days. That honor fell on a single female friend of ours who lives driving distance from Vegas. We offered the second bedroom to her and it took all of 5 seconds for her to exhale and say “Hell Yes I want to go to Vegas with you two”! Roommate problem solved and so on to Las Vegas!

    We prefer to fly Southwest on the earliest non-stop from Baltimore (BWI) and while we usually book a Presidential Limo with Ted as our driver, the SkySuites provide round trip limo airport service so we took advantage of it. Both of our drivers (I think their names were Clay and Jay) were very nice but they weren’t Ted, and the limos were not super stretch with champagne and roses. Oh well, right? I am NOT complaining, just comparing. Our flight was trouble free and we landed on time at 9:20 AM PST. We stayed from July 11 -18 which was Thursday to Thursday.

    The SkySuites offer a level of service that is un-compromised as far as we are concerned. From the day I made the reservations the concierge was in touch with us via email offering assistance for any and everything (legal) that we could possibly want or need.

    Now we are not high maintenance people so I was really kind of floored that they would go out of the way like this but apparently there are people that really do need only green M&M’s and fresh squeezed OJ for their screw-drivers. We were called by our names from the minute we were met at baggage claim until we checked out a week later. The concierges we dealt with were perfect in every way. They make dinner reservations for us, a salon appointment, arranged for Bell Services to deliver our bags when our room was ready. Housekeeping was superb and so accommodating especially with three of us in the rooms. Our friend kept some very late hours and slept in quite late each day and housekeeping still kept the rooms spotless and performed a turndown service every night. Everyone we saw each day from housekeeping, the gentlemen checking room keys at the elevators, the SkySuite lounge personnel (who kept the beverages and snacks fresh all day), everyone, was polite and gracious. We were given a line pass for both the Cafe and the Buffet.
    Our suite was not going to be ready for several hours so we walked all over the Aria property and got properly acclimated to how it is laid out and where everything is. Then we went into Crystals to get that place directionally sorted. It was kind of nice just the two of us wandering around and appreciating that we were back in Las Vegas. We had time to spare so we walked over to the Bellagio via the walkways and the Cosmo and by the lake.

    For our first day I had booked a High Tea at Bellagio for 1PM. This time I had a MyVegas reward for one tea so we paid for the second person and we added a glass of champagne each. We have done the high tea twice before and we were quite pleased that the same lovely lady we have had in the past was our server again this time. As always the food was delicious, plentiful, and the service was perfect. It was very quiet for anyone who is wondering what it is like to be sitting off of the casino floor. The Petrossian Lounge is not placed smack in the middle of the casino, it runs along a wall and the open area is facing a relatively quiet area of table games. The Aria called promptly at 1 telling us our suite was ready and that they would be happy to assist us at our convenience. Nice.

    I will also save time by discussing the MyVegas rewards we used this trip here so anyone who is not interested can skip ahead. I redeemed for one High Tea, one Bellagio Lunch Buffet, and three total tickets for Zarkana; I was able to get two premium tickets and a companion ticket. I fell in the time frame where if you bought a $5 chip package you would get a fourth reward so I bought the $5 chip package and redeemed for the third Zarkana ticket so our friend could come with us. Our tickets were valued at $180 each, the buffet was priced at $22 and the high tea was $37. I was able to pick up the rewards for the high tea and the buffet at the same time although we did not use the buffet until Monday (4 days later). Christa at the Bellagio MLife desk is our favorite employee there and we were very glad that she was the one to help us with the redemption process. I picked up the tickets for Zarkana at the ticket office on the Promenade level at the Aria on Friday afternoon. I did not have to go to the MLife desk first.

    Our friend arrived about 7:30PM on Thursday and we had learned from doing our walk about the property that it would be better for her to use the north valet as it is much closer to the SkySuite entrance than the main entrance would be. If you are interested, the north valet is accessed from Harmon Avenue, drive past the Cosmo on your right and follow the ramp to the right that goes up and at the top of the ramp go to the left and follow the lanes to the valet area.

    We were all ready for a nosh by the time she settled in so we went down to Five50 Pizza which had just opened a few weeks before. Yea, so that didn’t work out at all so we left and went to the Aria Cafe instead. We had sandwiches and soft drinks and the food was delicious and hot, and most importantly, we had service!

    Friday we took a morning walk to the south while our friend slept off her first night in Vegas. I hate what they are doing to the Monte Carlo and NYNY. I am a sucker for pretty things (and I don’t like change - at least not while it is happening) and I am gutted that they tore off the facade of the MC including the beautiful fountain to make way for the two things I hate most of all; lame retail and mid-grade food. I’m looking at you The Linq, too! We walked to the MGM crossover and went in to win the Lion’s Share jackpot. Damn lion kitty ate my $100 in about 20 minutes and in doing so broke the streak of me using it as an ATM for my bankroll. Pfft to you Lion’s Share!

    Our friend sent a text around 10:30 so we wandered back to Aria. We spent some time at the pools. It was very quiet and there were plenty of loungers available at all three of the pools. The drinks were very good but holy dollar signs Batman, they were pricey! $26, or was it $28 for a 32oz mix of coconut rum and pineapple juice. I saved that cup for a future pool day!

    We ate at Zaviers for dinner before Zarkana. The food we had was really good and the service was spot on. We really enjoyed Zarkana. I know a lot of people have said that they did not like it but we did. The music is good, but the story is about a fantasy and the lyrics are not real words. I think that bothers a lot of people. In our opinion the acrobats were amazing and the show it’s self was very engaging.

    So, we love to play craps but we are pretty steadfast in what our limits are and the Aria raises their limits on every table to at least $15 in the evening. We asked at one of the many empty tables if they would make it a $10 table...no can do...so we took the tram over to the Bellagio and played craps at one of their many $10 tables for hours Friday night. We left with several hundred more than we came in with.

    Saturday we had no plans so we slept in. Sort of. We took a walk towards the north this time and walked through Bellagio, into Caesar’s, through the Forum Shops, out onto the Strip, into the Mirage, and found the Silver Strike machines by the Revolution Bar. Didn’t win anything there and I couldn’t find the MyVegas QR Scan Codes either. I found both of them last December but they must have been moved and I didn’t bother asking about them.

    We continued north towards the Venetian and Palazzo. We walk a lot in Vegas, as much for the exercise as it is fun to people watch and of course to see everything that is happening. Friend needed to eat (low blood sugar) and wanted something cheap and fast so she went into the McDonalds by the Casino Royal. She owes me for that, big time. Friend had to head back to the room and take care of some personal business so we parted ways. We continued on to the V/P complex and wandered around admiring the artwork and decor.

    Summer Carnivale was going on so there was more cool things to see while walking about. As much as we like the V/P we have never stayed there.

    Back to Aria to clean up for dinner at Julian Serranos. Again, the food and service was outstanding. One of the things we do when we are in Las Vegas is drink really good coffee and eat good food. We prefer Palio’s at Bellagio but have found that Jean Phillipe is a darn good stand in and it was a lot closer! After dinner we hooked up with Friend and back to the Bellagio for craps and cocktails. We played for about 15 minutes before a CW came around and when she did we tipped her quite well and she came back often. We found out by listening in to the grief that two other employees were giving her that she was new. She was well compensated by our table and she did a great job for all of us! Thanks, Olga! We had such a good time playing craps and walked away winners, again!

    Sunday we drove downtown to the Mob Museum. I had purchased tickets online for a noon-1PM entrance time. We got there at 11:45 and parked in the $5 lot right by the building. The attendant said we could stay there until 8PM and then they closed for the night. Score. We spent 3 hours in the museum. We could have spent more time but it was beginning to be information overload. I highly recommend this if you have any interest in the history of organized crime, how it affected the country and the impact it had on Las Vegas. There are a lot of hands on exhibits, and movies to watch.

    Leaving the building directly in front of you is 3rd Street that goes straight through to Fremont Street. You will walk by a dive bar called the Hogs and Heifers and Triple George Grill. It is a couple of blocks total and these are NOT Strip length blocks, these are regular length blocks! When you are downtown the phrase “But it’s just right there’ really does mean ‘right there’!

    We had dinner at Hugo’s Cellar. I had made reservations online a few weeks before but it wasn’t necessary except that it is always nice to be expected. Our waitstaff was exceptional. Jamie was our waiter and Vic was the man about town who made our salads tableside, and came back later to entertain us with tales of living in Vegas since the late 50’s. The price of your entrée includes a table-side salad tossed to order, warm bread and butter, a sorbet in-between courses, two sides of your choosing and chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert. The food was over the top! They offer flambéed desserts but we were too stuffed to do much more than roll up the steps on our way out. The ambiance was old school, 50’s style steak house. And don’t forget the red rose for each lady. You can get a 25% discount for your total bill from the Tix4Tonite at the Strip locations but not at the Four Queens location.

    We found 5 silver strike machines in the Four Queens and my husband won one for me. So yea for that.

    And then back to the Strip and the Bellagio for more craps. We won enough to justify sitting in the Petrossian Lounge and running up a ridiculous tab drinking delicious cocktails and loving the fact that we were in Vegas with a darling friend, all of us just loving the moment.

    Monday was go home day for Friend but we took time to slot around the Bellagio and eat at the Buffet for lunch before she had to pack and head out. It was good for lunch. There was one station that was serving breakfast food, a pasta station, pizza, a carving station with flank steak and turkey, of course the salad bar and the area that makes made to order salads, a deli station, desserts and fresh fruit. But nothing amazballs. Our server was fast and very nice. We used the priority line because we have gold cards but I think the MyVegas reward gives you a line pass.

    Friend heads out for her trek across the dessert and we head over to Hyde. I love love love the fountains and at 5PM Hyde is the perfect place to watch them. We stayed there until 6:30 drinking outrageous cocktails. We thought about playing some craps but we had picked up several bottles of wine that were in the fridge in the suite and wait for it...we now had the entire place to our selves...the rest of this night is a no brainer.

    Tuesday we had a goal of walking from Aria to Mandalay Bay, up to Encore and back to Aria. We made our goal for the day. We did not take any of the trams but we walked inside as much as possible as it was hot. I scanned the MyVegas codes in NYNY (2), Excalibur (1) and Luxor (1) on our walk to MB. We had a Restaurant.com for Border Grill and we would have gladly paid every cent for that delicious meal. Our waitress was fantastic, the margaritas were the best we have had, and really, the food was as good as any we have had in any celebrity chef establishment. Probably better in some cases.

    We walked back thru the Luxor and Excal and crossed over to the Tropicana. We went inside for a few minutes to use the restrooms and cool off then crossed over to MGM and walked thru the casino before heading out for the long outside trek to the Miracle MIle/Planet Hollywood where we enjoyed a few minutes sitting on a bench and drinking cold water from the ABC store.

    Back outside before a quick turn into Paris. We walked around in Paris because we like the decor and then thru to Bally’s and out the front door and down the moving sidewalks to the Strip. We crossed over to what used to be Bills and then over again to Caesars and walked up that side of the Strip rather than hassle with construction crowds and the ick that is the Quad and Harrahs. We walked thru The Mirage and TI and crossed over to Fashion Show Mall and at the Strip Burger we crossed the Strip (again) and walked up to the Encore. I am not a huge fan of the decor in either the Encore or Wynn but they do have AC so we started our trek back at the Encore and walked inside thru the Wynn and outside so we could cross over and go into the Palazzo and walked all over thru the V/P complex, just because we like the decor. Out the front of the Venetian, down the moving sidewalks and back to the Strip, turning left we headed south and at Casino Royal we crossed back to the Caesar side and went into the Forum Shops. A much needed stop for some water and a bathroom break and we were on our way to finish our quest. Out of Caesars, across to the Bellagio, thru the B to the Vdara and outside to the walkway to Aria.

    We showered real quick and then went to the pool for a bit. We had a reservation for Sage this evening but we were not very hungry so all we ordered were entree’s and a bottle of wine. We shared a dessert. Everything we ordered was fantastic. Again, I highly recommend this restaurant.

    We really wanted to play some slots and have a few drinks but the CWs were not to be seen and after eating we began to appreciate how tired we really were. Up to the room to finish the wine we had in the fridge and admire the view. The exterior wall of the suite was all windows so we had a lovely view of the mountains.

    Wednesday we went to the MGM around 11AM with the plans to play craps all day and then eat at Craftsteak for dinner. We played at the best table for several hours. We were having so much fun. For the most part the everyone was making money the guy next to us and I were betting for the dealers when we were shooting, and the dealers were making bank! I believe in Karma and paying it forward, and every time I was shooting and betting for the dealers I would make a lot of money for the table. We left because the table slowly cleared out and then there was just us and a bad actor that wandered up and started throwing around attitude, bad juju and he smelled like he was still up and avoiding a walk a shame to somewhere. Do guys have walks of shame or just girls?

    We colored up $1,000 to the good and went in search of some slots to flop at for a while. At the table the cocktail service was excellent, at the slots it seemed like I could not tip the CW enough to get her to come back. Seriously, MGM and MLIfe need to get their cocktail cervice act together. The drink service at the slots in every casino we played in was sad and sorrowful.

    Craftsteak. We ate here in December and had the Wagu tasting menu. We did it again and this time we had the wine pairings. Unbelievable! We will go back. Good thing we had such a great run at the tables because the total including tip was $500. But, that is all part of our Vegas Karma. We never look at won money as ours to bring home. It is casino money that we are borrowing to spend on drinks and good food we can’t get at home. And to stuff into slot machines. And to tip our craps dealers, and to leave on the pillows for housekeeping, to hand off to bell hops and limo drives, and for buying ice cold water from the vendors on the Strip. Because we look at it this way we win enough to cover these expenses and still have some to bring home to start the bankroll for the next trip. Karma. Or luck. But so far it is working for us.

    Check out was quick and painless, the limo ride was fine, the flight home was on time and there was no traffic on the drive from the airport.

    Looking back over receipts and accounting for our time we didn’t really gamble as much or as long as we usually do and I am sure it will hurt what we might have gotten for Fall offers. I have already booked our December trip at our current level in case nothing decent comes through in September. We don’t play for or chase comps but we aren’t cavalier about the money we spend in Vegas either.

    If you stayed with me this whole time, thank you! If you have any questions please ask.
     
  2. ant1433

    ant1433 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2005
    Messages:
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    Location:
    nj
    Nice report. Fun read. Just wondering were you comped or did you have to pay out of pocket for the sky suites? Sounds like you give MGM props a lot of action.
    Thanks:beer:
     
  3. OntheStrip

    OntheStrip Tourist

    Joined:
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    California
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    Sounds like a lovely time.
     
  4. higgiel

    higgiel Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2012
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    Canton, OH
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    33
    Thanks for the trip report. Sounds like you had a lot of fun. You sure did get in a lot of walking. I did that many years ago, but can't do it anymore, but still like hearing about it. :wave:
     
  5. tcocona

    tcocona Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
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    Positive,Positive & Positive

    Pattie ; It was so refreshing to read such a positive trip report.I know it does help to have some good experiences gambling,but all in all I would like to commend you for that wonderful way you go about your journey!!!!!!!!!

    BRAVO ZULU (Well Done) !!!!
     
  6. travelfiend

    travelfiend High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Colorado
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30
    Thanks for posting the report and I agree with you, good karma is a good thing! Always pay it forward!

    Last May, I used some grandfathered awards for the suite at Aria, and somehow got upgraded to the 1 bedroom skysuite and just wanted to agree with you a 100%, that is by far the best room I have stayed in in Las Vegas.

    Again, thanks for posting, great report!
     
  7. VegasDave

    VegasDave Addicted

    Joined:
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    THanks, good trip report. Sounds like it could of been a winning trip? I hope to have a good craps run in a few weeks or take the Lion's Share!!!
     
  8. Pattie

    Pattie Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
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    Location:
    Maryland
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    Wow, thank you all for the nice replies!

    ant1433 - we were not comped, rather we got lucky with a booking glitch on the MLife site. Getting such a nice suite for so little out of pocket cost demanded that we share it! We prefer the MLife casinos and give most of our play to them.

    onthestrip and higgiel - We had a great time and we do spend some time walking. It (sort of) justifies all the booze and food!

    tcocona - thank you! Your comment really made me feel good!

    travelfiend - Those suites are pretty nice! Maybe someday we will get the chance to stay there again.

    VegasDave - With the exception of the room cost we won enough to cover all of our expenses, including gambling. We evened out on the slots (his losses vs my wins or how ever it worked out!) but we nailed the craps games! We play at Bellagio and MGM. In our opinions they have the best dealers and we have such good luck at both places. Good luck when you are there both at craps and the Lions Share.
     
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