Solo, non-live Trip Report: Aria 7/6 – 7/10 Leave Newark/Liberty Airport and get to Las Vegas in a smooth, uneventful flight. Once there, I forget to ask the taxi driver not to use the tunnel, but he doesn’t long-haul me, so that’s a good start. Get to Aria and since I’ve pre-checked in, I’m not doing the $20 trick. But, I get the much shorter “Mobile Check-In” line, which is nice. I got a “Panoramic Corner Suite” and discover what everybody says is true; they are as far from the elevator as you can get. It’s a long walk to my room, but I only get lost once trying to get there during my entire stay, so I’m pretty proud of that. The room is nice and has a view of the Aria pool from the bedroom, Monte Carlo from the bathroom, and the Strip from the living room. The panoramic suite definitely lived up to its name. However, once there, I notice a problem that I have since forgotten the details of. But, they fixed it pretty quickly, so kudos to them. But, here is a list of all the other problems I had to get fixed in my room: the lights in my master bathroom over the toilet, shower and bathtub were out (must have been a blown circuit as they were all on the same switch). The toilet in the master bath had flapper valve issue (kept running). The faucet in powder room sink leaked and one of the master bath sinks had a slow drain. Finally, the system was down when I tried to check out from my TV at the end of my trip. Also, when I was looking for something I dropped under the bed I found a small bottle of red liquid labeled “Nipple Exciter” that must have been dropped by a previous guest and overlooked by housekeeping. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious, but I decided to throw it out without trying it. None of those problems would have bothered me in and of themselves, since they were fixed in short order. But, taken together it was too much. I will admit that the chocolates from Turndown service were a nice touch. Got my MLife card and set up my markers which proved to be a fairly quick and painless affair. Everybody I dealt with at Aria in an official, bureaucratic capacity was as nice and friendly as can be. I made my dinner reservations at BarMASA and started some gambling (see below). But, on Tuesday I got an email from my credit card company about a fraud alert on my card and had to get them to mail me one to the hotel. The people at business services were very nice and made sure I got my card as soon as it came in, but charged me $6 as a handling fee. They were apologetic about it, but I could do without the nickel and diming from corporate. At Aria, the double-deck Blackjack games are labeled as such on the small screen that lists the minimum ($100). This screen also shows sports scores, which is a nice touch, but not something I really noticed again during my stay. The dealers were generally friendly and skilled. However, there was one working on Wed that seemed a bit inexperienced as she had some difficultly shuffling the cards and would make the occasional error (all of which she caught right away). I regularly tipped the dealers by placing $25 bets for them, which they appreciated. I noticed that the entire time I was there almost nobody else tipped the dealers, including a guy playing 2 hands at $2K each. Seriously people, if you can afford to bet yellow chips you can afford to tip. The craps dealers were all pretty good and would remind you to buy instead of place on the 4 and 10, and made sure you bet a multiple of 6 when you placed on the 6 and 8. The only exception was one dealer who seemed more interested in talking to one of the gamblers instead of paying attention to what was going on in the game. It wasn’t like he was flirting or anything, they spent the whole time chatting in Arabic about Egypt (where they were both from). It was really annoying. Dinner in BarMASA was very good, but not spectacular. I got the oysters appetizer, which were quite good and the sushi tasting (what most other places would simply call a sushi entrée). The sushi was good and fresh, but not nearly as creative as one would expect from a “chefs choice” selection. I got the sorbet for desert that I got to select from a tablet instead of a regular printed menu. The service was very good, but the waitress seemed to be trying too hard and came off as a bit affected. Overall, it’s a very good sushi restaurant, but nothing that wonderful and not worth the price. Tuesday was spent mostly at the Grand Canyon and Hoover dam where I took a whole bunch of pictures. I took Pink Jeep tours (booked through the hotel) and the tour guide was friendly and informative. The tour included a lunch that was pretty good for a tour-supplied box of sandwich, veggies, and chips. We traveled to the Grand Canyon West Airport where a tour-bus took everybody the rest of the way. We stopped at Eagle Point for the Skywalk and Guano Point, which (as the tour guide promised) there were much better views and was bigger so you didn’t have everybody crowded in one area huddled close to the edge, which kind of freaked me out. Dinner that night was a couple of slices from Five50 pizza as it’s open late and has take-out. It was pretty good and I ate there a couple of times. They only have a few types of pizza including a rotating “seasonal” pizza, which was Ratatouille. I had that both times and is such a good idea I’m amazed I don’t see it more often. Upon reaching Pearl level I went to the Aria lunch Buffet to enjoy the shorter line afforded by my newfound status. It’s a fairly typical Vegas Strip hotel buffet. It’s not that extensive or fancy, but the food is good enough. My table got bussed when I was getting dessert, but the waitress brought another set of silverware to quickly rectify that. I then decided to check out the Cosmopolitan as they have cool ads on TV and was right next door. It caters to the young, hip crowd and has a lot of clubs. I am no longer young and was never really that hip, so it’s not my scene. It is nice and has a cool video art installation covering the columns in the lobby. Wed I tried my luck at Bellagio, where there seemed to be more action in the blackjack tables than at Aria. They have a whole pit of S17 games, but don’t label the double deck games like Aria does. I ran in to trouble trying to get my marker set up, as they couldn’t get the scanner to work. So, they had to send it and my ID somewhere using vacuum tubes. I found it curious that the Bellagio had such an old-school technology, but it was nice to have it as a back up. Thursday, I went downtown to check out the Mob Museum. The people at the Business Center at Aria suggested getting a coupon from the Downtown Grand, located across the street from the museum. It gives you $2 off and you can pick them up from VIP services and you don’t have to buy anything or sign up for their card to get it (which is nice). For something that could easily be a cheesy tourist trap, the Mob Museum is a good, serious museum. They give a balanced story of organized crime in America, with a special emphasis on Las Vegas (obviously) that doesn’t glorify what were some pretty terrible people, or do a lot of moralizing. There are plenty of cool artifacts like a ticket to the 1919 “Black Sox” World Series and part of the “St. Valentines Day Massacre” wall.You can also get married there (of course). Freemont St. was pretty nice with street performers and ziplines with a more low to mid budget tourist vibe that differentiates it from the more luxury based Strip resorts. I wasn’t there at night so I didn’t see the light show, nor did I eat anywhere or do any gambling. Thursday was dinner at Yellowtail at Bellagio. It was very nice and they were able to get me a table where I could watch the fountains when I asked. I had the tasting menu and a cocktail called “Buddha” (Jameson’s, Ginger Beer, and St. Germain liquor). Both were excellent. The restaurant was pretty dark and had loud music, but wasn’t too loud or too dark (although I had to use the light on my phone to read the menu). The flight back was not as smooth or uneventful as they ran out of overhead space just before I got on, so I had to wait while they figured out what to do. I was able to get the last spot for my carryon, but it was at the back of the plane, which defeated the purpose of getting a seat near the front so I could get off the plan quickly when I landed. As for the gambling, I pretty much broke even for the first 3 nights, and then got killed the last day. But, I’m now at Gold Status now, so if go back I’ll get a free room upgrade.