My wife and I went on our "Celebrate Our 18th Anniversary A Few Weeks Early Because Our Daughter Is Starting Kindergarten on the Real Day and Hey, Any Excuse to Go to Vegas Sooner Rather Than Later" trip at the end of August. We stayed at Aria and had a great time. Here's how it went: We left home in Southern California around 10:00 am Sunday and didn't slow down until we exited at Flamingo. I wasn't quite sure where to park, so I turned right on Harmon and found the Aria North Valet. Made the whole trip in about 3:40, so that was a big success. Parking at the North Valet was not, however. The South Valet is the one right outside the lobby, so we had to lug our suitcases through the casino, arriving to find about a 10-minute line for check-in. We made it up to the desk, and then the day's smooth pace took a turn for the worse. We were staying two nights, one on a MyVegas comp and we paid for the other one. Something about this threw our check-in desk attendant for a loop. She typed and typed, clicked her mouse about a million times, called a few people for advice, apologized a couple times, and 25 or 30 minutes later, we were finally on our way to our room. I tend to think she wasn't very well trained, because a MyVegas comp can't possibly complicate things that badly. But who knows. Anyway, down at the desk I had asked for a high floor, preferably facing the Strip, but she flatly replied that Strip-facing rooms were an additional $30 a night. I wasn't interested in that, and she assured us that even our mountain-facing, 37th-floor view would be nice. The good part of all of this is that despite the tedious check-in procedure, we were still in our room 30 minutes before the official check-in time of 3:00. And Helen at the desk was sort of correct, in that the view wasn't all that bad. If you're a Vdara fan, it was a great view! As we reached our room, my phone got an alert saying there was a flash flood warning in effect, and indeed, it looked really stormy out over the mountains. For a minute I thought our view was going to give us a great vantage point for a spectacular lightning show, but that didn't pan out. Oh well. We relaxed in the room for a bit and checked out the in-room technology – curtains open and shut by a touch of a button, the TV menu can control everything throughout the room, etc. Then we decided we were hungry and it was time to eat. Our plan was to eat a late lunch at Monte Carlo using a $50 Monte Carlo food credit from MyVegas. For (at least) the last few months, Dragon Noodle Co. has offered 50% off sushi on most Sundays on their Twitter page. So I checked my phone and sure enough, they'd tweeted out that offer once again, so suddenly our $50 voucher was even more valuable. By the time we made it over there and redeemed our MyVegas reward at the M life desk, there weren't many people in Dragon Noodle at all. We virtually had the sushi bar to ourselves. Everything we tried was great. I started with a roll off the "specialty rolls" menu called a California Volcano, which was probably my favorite. Also had a Dragon Roll, Salmon Avocado roll and some nigiri tuna. My wife had a Rainbow Roll, the Emperor's Negi Hamachi roll and a vodka cranberry. In a crazy twist of fate, the bill came to exactly $50.00. The waiter tried to tell us that the M life desk should have given us a voucher of some sort to present, but he eventually got the $50 food credit figured out without us having to do anything else. We paid our tip and headed back to the room, our stomachs full of delicious sushi. The main event tonight was a 9:00 reservation at The Laundry Room, to be accompanied by some sightseeing and low-limit gambling Downtown. We relaxed some more in the room and arrived at Fremont East just in time for our 9:00 entry. During the reservation process, I was instructed to text when I got there, so I did that, informing them we were outside Commonwealth on Fremont. They replied, telling me to come inside and meet a hostess at the end of the bar within Commonwealth. Within a minute or two, we were greeted and whisked inside the secret door, joining only a handful of others inside The Laundry Room. We were given our choice of seats at the bar or any table, and we selected a great high-top tucked in the back corner. Daniel was the mixologist and presented us with menus. The design of the menu mirrors the interior decor, immersing you in a glamorous Roaring ’20s vibe. Neither my wife or I are the most educated drinkers when it comes to spirits and mixed drinks, so I wanted to use this whole experience as sort of an education. My wife decided on a Lady Vesper, but for my choice, instead of ordering off the menu, I described to Daniel what I wanted – a gin drink that has complex flavors but is not overpowering or harsh in its "bite," if you will. He asked a few follow-up questions and retreated to prepare our drinks. Within a few minutes, he returned with two gorgeous drinks. I asked what he did for mine and he described the whole list of ingredients, which included gin cut with some sort of infused spirit, muddled cucumber and mint, lime, sugar and a sprinkling of fresh cracked black pepper on top. He said it was a variation on a cocktail called an Eastside. I took the first sip and immediately declared Daniel a genius. It was bursting with freshness of the mint and cucumber, a bit sweet, and definitely multi-layered in flavor. My wife really enjoyed her Lady Vesper, but we both loved mine more than any drink we'd ever tasted before. It was around this point that a few other parties came into the room as well as a piano player. This livened things up a bit and we had a great time talking to a group of guys from Ohio who sat next to us and listening to the piano player translate modern songs into a classical piano style. Although we originally planned to have just one drink each and leave, we ended up at The Laundry Room for almost two hours and really enjoyed every second of it. Next we headed over to the D, looking around and doing our first gambling of the trip. We lost $20 on an original-style, 25-cent Wheel of Fortune machine upstairs and then my wife tried a few slots downstairs while I went and checked out American Coney Island. Cocktail service was good and quick, and the red wine they served my wife was gigantic – must have been a 12 oz. pour. Seeing all we'd eaten all day was the sushi at Dragon Noodle, I was hungry and ordered an order of chili cheese fries for $4.00. My wife didn't feel like gambling more tonight, so we both sat in the bright environs of American Coney Island and devoured the chili cheese fries. They were great. We headed back to the car and made our way back to the plush Aria bedding via Las Vegas Blvd, bringing to a close a fun Day One of our three-day getaway.