Even after the final curtain drops, The King lives on. The 1,820-seat, high-tech theater is planted across from the Graceland-inspired Gold Bar, ARIA’s bottle-service shrine to Presley and his dearly departed pet chimp, Scatter. The gilded palace of sin is complete with gold-mirrored walls and countless monkey faces almost subliminally weaved throughout the decor. While we didn’t indulge, it was fun to peruse the snack menu that’s packed with Presley favorites like mac and cheese, jelly doughnuts and his infamous peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich.
Perhaps the crowning jewel, however, is ARIA’s star-studded roster of 10 restaurants showcasing the culinary talents of top celebrity chefs. While your clients may find it difficult to check out all of these savory options, they’ll certainly enjoy trying.
We were fortunate to enjoy a tasting tour that covered Spanish tapas at Julian Serrano, succulent ribs at Jean Georges Steakhouse, seafood samplings at chef Shawn McClain’s Sage and chef Michael Mina’s American Fish, handmade pesto ravioli sprinkled with truffles at Sirio Risorante, and sushi at Chef Mayayoshi Takayama’s Japanese-style Bar Masa & Shaboo.
For your clients into American favorites, be sure to mention Union. Situated at the epicenter of ARIA’s casino floor, it has a hip, open design that’s “personalized” with a series of strategically positioned floor-to-ceiling architectural “trees” giving it a surprising sense of intimacy.
Here, you can choose to “see and be seen” or slip into seclusion, which was our preference. Executive chef Brian Massie presents unique interpretations of American favorites like Colorado lamb rack, whole Dover sole, and both bone-in and bone-out beef cuts prepped with his signature sauces.
You can also savor a dozen or so additional eateries and lounges, with Jean-Philippe Patisserie being among the busiest—and for obvious reasons. Competing with the line of sweet-craving customers are shutterbugs photographing displays of the renowned pastry chef’s mouthwatering concoctions. Who can resist a tempting selection of 45 house-made gelatos or delicate chocolates with smooth ganache fillings of fresh cream, fine liqueurs and luscious fruits?
high-tech dreams All else said, it only makes sense that ARIA would boast the most technologically advanced guestrooms in the country. Upon entering, you’re greeted by a show in itself—lights activate and curtains open to reveal floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to The Strip and mountains beyond. And the 42-inch TV displays a menu of preferences so you can personalize your stay, from controlling wake-up room temperature and lighting to selecting preferred music.
All guestroom devices are programmed to a single network. So one touch transforms the entire room. The “good night” button switches off the TV, music and lights, and illuminates the privacy notification. Another high-tech perk is wireless Internet connectivity eight times faster than the average U.S. guestroom.
These bells and whistles aside, these plush private retreats are also loaded with thoughtful touches like stocked mini-bar, robes, slippers, soaking tub with separate shower and dual sinks. Nightly rates are from $179–$799, with suites running up to $7,500.
where to splurge Even with all that action under ARIA’s roof, the CityCenter experience draws you outside. Whether you’ve hit the jackpot and are revved up to splurge or are playing it safe with window-shopping, Crystals has splashed onto the scene with a breath of fresh retail air.
As you stroll and ogle through the toney, experiential environment, you’ll almost feel as if you’re outdoors. Mesmerizing water features, hanging gardens, winding pathways, glass skylights, floral plots and plenty of natural wood give the feel of an opulent open-air emporium.
At its architectural centerpiece are elements like a 70-ft. tree house, a striking staircase inspired by Rome’s Spanish Steps, and cutting-edge illuminated “Glacia” ice sculptures that emerge from a pool of water in continually changing shapes and patterns. So even if you’re not into elite couture, Crystals merits a stroll.
The prestigious collection of sophisticated brands includes one of the world’s largest Louis Vuitton stores, a 10,000-sq.-ft. Tiffany & Co. that’s brimming with bling, and flagships for Prada, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli and Ermenegildo Zegna.
Crystals also serves up a handful of dynamic eateries, including a pair of Wolfgang Puck concepts, Eva Longoria Parker’s Latin-inspired Beso, Todd English P.U.B. and Mastro’s Ocean Club. Longoria Parker intensifies the nightlife with Eve, where 50-ft.-tall arched ceilings, VIP booths, a Jumbotron and renowned DJs make it a happening hotspot to dance the night away. Unlike other clubs, this dazzler is designed with plenty of windows so you can soak in views of the Strip.