Discovery Channel Shark Week and Snuffy the Seal

This week is Shark Week on Discovery Channel. ‘Snuffy the Seal’ commercial for Shark Week caught Kelley’s attention. Kelley is an animal lover and still she enjoyed the commercial. Apparently there has been some backlash to poor Snuffy getting munched by a great white shark on live commercial TV.

Shark attacks were on the rise in sea otter deaths as reported in last year’s California sea otter census. The 2012 numbers from the U.S. Geological Survey gave a population index of 2,792 sea otters. This is up from 2,711 in 2010.

Sea otter strandings are sick, injured and dead sea otters found along the coast each year. There was an increased observance of shark bites in 335 ‘stranded’ sea otters in 2011. It is estimated that fewer than 50% of dead sea otters end up on the beach to be found by humans.

Recovery Slows for California’s Sea Otters, 2012 Survey Shows – August 21, 2012.

I mention the sea otter population in California suffering increased shark bites as a reminder that life in the ocean is a real cycle of life and death. Last night I heard the sea lions barking in Monterey Bay. I live near the ocean in Central Coast California. There have been a few surfer injuries and fatalities from great white shark attacks in these waters the past few years.

I heard a photographer for shark week videos say the Snuffy the Seal commercial was based on a real-life event in California, but I have been unable to locate the historical occurrence.

Marine Mammal Research Center, Sausalito, California is a real-life organization since 1975 doing rescue work for marine mammals like seals, sea lions and whales. They rescue animals that can be saved in the way portrayed in the Discovery Channel Shark Week commercial of a Snuffy the Seal, without the shark attacks.

Shark Reef Mandalay Bay

So without further ado, I bring you the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay where Kelley and I toured for free a couple weeks back courtesy of my M life Noir Card. I don’t know if M life Platinum gets the same benefit. I would not have known the Shark Reef was free if not for my M life secret angel giving me a clue about the unpublished benefits of M life black card holders.

Shark Reef Admission fees July 2013

  • Adults = $18
  • Seniors (age 60+ years) = $16
  • Children (5-12) = $12
  • Children (4 and under) = free

 

Las Vegas street kids after midnight (a rant on the side before my feature shark article in this post).

The first thing I have to say is that the children ‘4 and under’ can be a drag on the Shark Reef experience. Little kids are so loud.

The same day I went to Shark Reef, late at night after the Hyatt Gold Passport/M life launch event, Kelley and I walked Las Vegas Strip when it was over 100F on the hot street at midnight.

I was wondering how I can ever work this into a blog post and I think I just found the opening. Here is my Las Vegas after party story.

Kelley and I had a big buzz from the MGM Grand Mansion party and we worked out the energy by walking outside on the Las Vegas Strip. I love to be with my camera. My camera was in a thin cloth shoulder strap bag that I carried in my hand and switched from one arm to another depending on the circumstances in the street.

At stop lights there were forty to fifty people crossing the street at each light walking north on Las Vegas Blvd after midnight. There were enough people on the blacktop passing by each other in a crosswalk filled with bodies and cars waiting to make right and left turns on the streets that a kid’s hand held tightly in his or her parent’s hand was getting yanked and pushed and shoved in directions at the last second to avoid collisions by the parents, yet these adults did not realize they were pushing their child into my clear pathway at the last split second. My camera in the cloth bag wacked several little children on the side of the head as we crossed streets along Las Vegas Boulevard after midnight on a summer Friday.

A couple of times I felt the collision of my camera hitting another hard object and looked back to see some poor child rubbing his head after getting beaned by my Nikon. These were unavoidable collisions in the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip that would not be a concern for adults being bumped in the thigh by a hard camera.

Mommy-thigh-level is a five year old child’s head space. Why were these kids outside walking the hot Las Vegas Strip after midnight?

The thought continually played in our adult heads while spending three days in Las Vegas that there were so many mommies who needed to have already put those kids to bed.

Shark Reef Aquarium, Mandalay Bay Resort Las Vegas

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Shark Reef was larger than I expected.

Here are some shark facts and photos.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.

Shark Reef has significant educational appeal.

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Shark Reef, Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas – “90% of all large predatory fish have been removed from our oceans. If current trends continue, the entire edible seafood supply will be depleted within 40 years.”

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The initial section of Shark Reef has Golden Crocodiles, a Burmese python and a recently acquired komodo dragon from ten dragons born in 2010 at the Prague Zoo, Czech Republic.

Jellies are in the same room as the Touch Pool. The reflection off the glass kept me from taking any good jelly photos.

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Lion Fish.

Shipwreck Tank = 1.3 million gallons of water

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The finale to the Shark Reef exhibit is the massive shipwreck tank with many portals to view the shipwreck and several shark species.

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Electronic displays within Shark Reef allow visitors to read additional information about the different reptile and fish species in the aquarium.

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Shark Reef is an expensive outing for a family in Las Vegas. This is an entertaining activity with plenty of educational value if your luck in Las Vegas makes the admission fee affordable for an hour or so of entertainment and learning.

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Education Makes It Happen!

Our mission is to develop a sense of wonderment and responsibility for the Earth’s marine and terrestrial environments through exceptional interpretation, programming and activities.” – sign at exit to Shark Reef Aquarium.

As a credentialed K-12 elementary school teacher in California, I think Shark Reef makes the grade for an aquarium learning experience.

 

Blogger Disclosure: My admission to Shark Reef was free as a benefit of MGM Resort M life Noir status I received courtesy of the Hyatt Gold Passport and MGM Resorts M life partnership effective June 20, 2013.

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed or subscribe to a daily email newsletter on the upper left side of this page.

Hyatt released its second quarter earnings and the results confirm my sentiment expressed to Hyatt’s Chief Marketing Officer John Wallis a couple weeks ago in Las Vegas.

Hyatt Hotels are getting expensive. 

Hyatt Hotels made a net profit of $70 million last quarter. Occupancy increased to 79.8%. Average daily rates were up 6.3% over one year ago. Hyatt stock has risen 11% this year. Hyatt 2103 Q2 Financials press release.

Hyatt is growing.

North America

The following seven hotels were added to the portfolio during the second quarter:

  • Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel (franchised, 329 rooms)
  • Hyatt Union Square (franchised, 178 rooms)
  • Hyatt Place Chicago/River North (franchised, 212 rooms)
  • Hyatt Place Pensacola Airport (franchised, 127 rooms)
  • Hyatt House Atlanta/Cobb Galleria (franchised, 149 rooms)
  • Hyatt House Minot (franchised, 130 rooms)
  • Hyatt House Pittsburgh-Southside (franchised, 136 rooms)
  • The following eight hotels were added to the portfolio during the second quarter in the EMEA and Southwest Asia segment:

  • Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez, France (managed, 409 rooms)
  • Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée, France (managed, 187 rooms)
  • Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile, France (managed, 950 rooms)
  • Hôtel du Louvre – Paris, a Hyatt Hotel, France (managed, 177 rooms)
  • Hyatt Regency Gurgaon, India (managed, 451 rooms)
  • Hyatt Bangalore, India (managed, 143 rooms)
  • Hyatt Hyderabad, India (managed, 166 rooms)
  • Hyatt Pune, India (managed, 209 rooms)

 

Hyatt Times Square New York is now taking reservations for stays from January 1, 2014 in its 54-story hotel with a rooftop lounge. The hotel has only 11 rooms per floor with 487 guest rooms averaging 364 square feet. I assume that average includes the suites making the entry-level rate rooms a bit smaller. A generic average hotel room size in the USA is about 325 square feet across hotel chains.

 

Hyatt Buys into All-Inclusive Playa Beach Resorts

Hyatt Hotels are gaining all-inclusive beach resorts in Mexico and Caribbean with an ownership stake in Playa Hotels & Resorts. Hyatt is investing $325 million into Playa and plans to rebrand six of 13 Playa resorts to Hyatt brands. Hyatt plans to rebrand the first two properties in Mexico by year-end 2013 and convert four other hotels in Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Mexico in 2014 and 2015 after resort renovations.

Hyatt’s rapid growth

The main impediment for Hyatt in attracting loyal guests is the lack of footprint around the world. There are still only about 500 hotels globally under the Hyatt umbrella, yet Hyatt is using its financial resources to rapidly expand its hotel portfolio for loyalty guests through partnerships and acquisitions.

Hyatt acquired 24 hotels in July 2011 with the purchase of hotel assets from Lodgeworks. Most of these hotels were extended stay Sierra Hotels rebranded with Hyatt Summerfield Suites to HYATT house brand. The upper-upscale Avia properties in places like Napa and Long Beach, California were rebranded to full service Hyatt Hotels and Andaz. 

The partnership with MGM Resorts M life has added 12 hotels in Las Vegas for Hyatt Gold Passport members as of June 20, 2013. This is a huge development for the Las Vegas traveler where Hyatt only had one Hyatt Place property in the city. That partnership is planned to expand to other MGM Resorts properties in the future.

And now all-inclusive beach resorts will become a vacation option for Hyatt Gold Passport members visiting Mexico and the Caribbean.

Hyatt is expanding quickly.

And Hyatt brand hotel room rates are on the rise.

 

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed or subscribe to a daily email newsletter on the upper left side of this page.

The Hyatt-M life launch event I attended July 18 included two complimentary room nights at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. The interesting aspect of the hotel room to me is I thought the room was smaller than the 446 square feet listed on the MGM Grand website for a Grand King. That appears to me to be the floor plan for the room category where we stayed.

The Grand King room at 446 square feet did not seem that spacious to me. I guess that was my downsized perception from staying in a 750 square feet one bedroom suite at THEhotel the night before. It has been several years since I stayed in a Las Vegas hotel room under 700 square feet at one of the Strip resorts.

Looking at my photos two days later, I see the furnishings look nice in the MGM Grand room and there are more details in the room design than I recognized at the time.

Read More…

Hyatt Hotel Corporation and MGM Resorts International held a loyalty program partnership launch event last night in the Mansion at MGM Grand Las Vegas for about 100 invited guests and corporate executives.

Ever heard of the Mansion at MGM Grand?

I was unfamiliar with this property until yesterday when I looked up the exclusive Las Vegas enclave on the web to read this 290,000 square feet architecturally splendid resort within the MGM Grand has 29 villas for high roller ‘whales’ or VIPs willing to spend $5,000+ per night.

Few visitors to Las Vegas will ever have the opportunity to stand inside the atrium and pool gardens of the Mansion at MGM Grand.

Here is a photo tour of the grounds from my three hour visit yesterday evening. Read More…

THEhotel is a separate hotel building in the Mandalay Bay Resort Las Vegas. Lesson learned from today is book the cheap MGM Resort rooms at places like Excalibur, Luxor, Monte Carlo and New York-New York early in the day for a same day arrival. By 6pm all the cheap hotels had rates $20 higher than in the morning.

On the other hand, THEhotel dropped from $120 to $108 during the day.

THE 725 square feet in THE one bedroom king suite is a nice change from our midscale hotel brand stays this past week while road tripping from Monterey to Denver and back.

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THE Couch and chair in sitting room.

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THE View to entry hall.

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THE King bed in bedroom.

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THE View from window in bedroom.

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THE Bedroom closet space and TV cabinet.

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THE Bathroom with dual sinks.

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THE shower and tub.

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Kelley’s favorite feature is THE little step in shower to allow easy leg shave.

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THEhotel bath amenities.

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THE Bathroom TV Mlife channel.

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THE Desk.

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THE $4 cup of coffee in the room.

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THE mini-bar key that took 40 minutes to get and learn the only beer is Bud Light.

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THE entry hall 1/2 bathroom with toilet and sink.

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THEhotel and Mandalay Bay Beach party during the IPW conference I attended last month. No opportunity to swim tonight. THE pool closes here at 7pm.

THE parking garage was 108 F degrees when we arrived at 8pm.

THE heat is kind of insufferable in Las Vegas.

Maybe tomorrow, THE Refreshing Swim.

 

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed or subscribe to a daily email newsletter on the upper left side of this page.

Hot off the press is the announcement today of a new hotel loyalty partnership between Hyatt Gold Passport and MGM Resorts Las Vegas ‘M life’ loyalty program beginning June 20, 2013 with earn and burn reciprocity between the two loyalty programs.

Hyatt Gold Passport members in August can also get a status match with MGM M life based on their Hyatt elite status.

The participating MGM Resorts destinations in Las Vegas are:

  • Bellagio,
  • ARIA,
  • Vdara,
  • MGM Grand,
  • The Signature at MGM Grand,
  • Mandalay Bay,
  • THEhotel at Mandalay Bay,
  • The Mirage,
  • Monte Carlo,
  • New York-New York,
  • Luxor and
  • Excalibur.

The real value I see with this relationship is using low rates in Las Vegas to build up elite tier stay credits. One week of cheap stays in Vegas can add up elite tier credits with Hyatt Gold Passport quickly at rates as low as $50 per night or even less at hotels like Luxor and Excalibur. Read More…

MGM CityCenter in Las Vegas is the $9 billion dollar casino resort complex with the Aria Resort & Casino, Mandarin Oriental luxury hotel and residences, Vdara – a mixed use hotel and residences, a high-end boutique shopping mall, Veer Towers condominiums, and the Harmon  – a structurally deficient tower that is the most expensive billboard on the Las Vegas Strip.

Harmon building is most expensive posterboard on Las Vegas Strip

 

The Wall Street Journal reports CityCenter’s senior vice president of facility improvements sent a letter to Clark County Director of Development Services stating CityCenter will demolish the Harmon Building to abate potential for structural collapse in case of an earthquake.

The Harmon, CityCenter Las Vegas

 

The fate of the building is currently in limbo tied up with court litigation between MGM Resorts International and CityCenter’s general contractor Perini Building Company over $200 million in payments.

CityCenter was a complex I watched being built over several years from rooms at the Planet Hollywood hotel across the street.

CityCenter construction August 2009. Harmon building on right.

The Harmon building is directly across the street from Marriott’s newly opened in December 2010 Cosmopolitan Hotel. I wonder if guests can stay on the Harmon side of the Cosmopolitan during the implosion? The Cosmopolitan outdoor pools are also on the Harmon side of the hotel.

Aria Sky Villas offer two- and three-bedroom luxury suites on one or two floors on the top floors of Aria Resort & Casino. Aria Sky Villa 19 is a 58th floor bi-level three-bedroom suite with living room, dining room, bedroom, and fitness room with sauna and 2.5 bathrooms on the lower level. A spiral staircase and elevator access an upper floor with a sitting room, two bedrooms, four bathrooms, massage room, salon and kitchen pantry.

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Lounge Floor 58

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Lounge Floor 58

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 on 58th floor

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 living room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, Mac computer on living room desk

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 living room view of CityCenter Lumia Fountain

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, spiral wood and metal staircase

Aria Resort Las Vegas, view of lower and upper sitting rooms from staircase

40 to 50 people were in Sky Villa 19 at one point during the wine reception. All guests were comfortably positioned around the main living room and dining area. A bar was set up in the corner of the living room. 

Sky Villa 19 is a large space for entertaining.

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 small dining table

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 large dining table

The lower floor of Sky Villa 19 has a half-bathroom with toilet and sink at the main room entrance and one bedroom with full bathroom. There is a fitness room with sauna and shower and a connecting room with sink and toilet.

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, lower floor bedroom-1

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, downstairs bedroom

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19 lower floor bedroom-1 bathroom sinks

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, lower floor bedroom-1 bath

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-1 nightstand e-panel remote

The lower floor fitness room across the hall from the bedroom has a shower, sauna and connecting toilet and dressing room. A door from the fitness dressing room leads to the main bathroom for the lower floor bedroom. 

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, fitness room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, fitness room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, fitness room sauna

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, fitness room shower

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, fitness room dressing room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, fitness room doorway to dressing room

 

The second floor of Aria Sky Villa 19 is accessible by stairs and elevator. Two bedrooms, each with two full bathrooms, salon, massage room, kitchen pantry and sitting room are located on the second floor of Aria Sky Villa 19.

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, stairway to upper floor sitting room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, upper floor living room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, upper floor living room open space

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, in-room two-floor elevator

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, massage room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, in-room salon

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2 king bed

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2 seating

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2, bathroom-1

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2, bathroom-1 view

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, electric toilet

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, Electronic toilet master controls

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2, bathroom-2 sink

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-2, bathroom-2 shower

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, Master Bedroom

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, master bedroom-3

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, master bedroom window view

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, master bedroom couch

Aria Resort Las Vegas,, Sky Villa 19 master bedroom

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, master bedroom

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-3, bath-1 sink

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-3, bath-1 tub

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-3, bath-2 sink

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, bedroom-3, bath-2 shower

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, master bedroom-3 dressing room

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Sky Villa 19, kitchen pantry refrigerator

This completes the tour of Aria Resort Sky Villa 19.

 

Related Posts:

Betting on Expedia.ca for a Vegas Suite Deal (Nov 20, 2010) [This post tells how I bought my flight to Las Vegas and an upgraded room at the Mandarin Oriental for $12.]

CityCenter Las Vegas – Art, Architecture and Space (Dec 16, 2010)

Hotel Detail – Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas in HD (Dec 11, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Pools, Spa and Dining (Dec 12, 2010)

Aria Resort Corner Suite and SkySuites (Dec 18, 2010) 

Aria Resort Las Vegas SkyVilla 19 (Dec 19, 2010)

Vdara Hotel, CityCenter Las Vegas (Dec 19, 2010)

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (Dec 23, 2010)

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Dec 21, 2010) (The Cosmopolitan is next to Vdara Hotel, but not part of CityCenter complex. The Cosmopolitan is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel.)

Drinking wine in the 7,000 square foot Sky Villa 19 on the 58th floor at Aria Resort Las Vegas was beyond my expectations for an $82 two-night stay with airfare from San Jose, California included through my Expedia.ca SAVE300 package deal

The stars aligned, well actually, the Luxury Travel Expo 2010 travel agent attendees aligned with my stay for an exclusive opportunity to tour various categories of Aria Resort & Casino hotel rooms followed by an evening wine and food reception in SkyVilla 19.

Aria Hotel has 4,004 rooms including 568 suites. The basic room category at Aria  is a 520-square foot “Deluxe Room” space with floor to ceiling windows, electronic master controls for curtains and lights and all entertainment options and a bathroom with separate tub and shower. The size of a typical luxury market segment hotel room is generally around 520 sq. ft.

There really are not bad rooms at Aria, only less favorable locations for the room view. There are two factors to keep in mind when booking at Aria Resort, height and width.

Aria is a 59-floor hotel with only one location for elevators on each guest room floor. The size of the hotel may literally require walking over 100 yards to your room from the elevator on the larger floors. Keep this in mind if you need closer proximity to the elevators and make your request known when booking.

Aria Resort & Casino, CityCenter, Las Vegas

The higher floors have preferred views, but there really are not any sides of the hotel with undesirable views when on a floor above 15 or so.  Aria’s rear hotel wings overlook the Aria pool complex and Monte Carlo casino or face Harmon Avenue with a view to the Vdara Hotel and the just-opened Cosmopolitan Hotel. Lower floors locations can view the rooftop over low sections of the resort. Some lower floor rooms on Harmon Avenue side have a close-up view of  CityCenter electric tram cars.

CityCenter tram passing over Harmon Avenue with Aria hotel in background.

The CityCenter complex has beautiful architecture. Rooms overlooking CityCenter provide architectural views of Veer Towers, Crystals, Harmon Building and Mandarin Oriental and may have a view of the Las Vegas Strip. These central CityCenter facing rooms are Deluxe Room City View which is the next higher room category from the basic level room. 

Floor height is the more important factor for a room at Aria in my opinion. The closer you are to the ground the more noise you are likely to hear from traffic and such. There is a fire station on Harmon Avenue between the Vdara Hotel and The Cosmopolitan.

My room was on the top-level 24th floor overlooking the pool from the northwest wing of the hotel.

24-floor northwest wing of Aria Resort overlooking pools.

Window view from room 24-227 Aria Resort Las Vegas

The room tour of Aria showed a 31st floor King Deluxe similar to mine. The room was a City View room in the front side of the hotel, room linens had trim, chairs had better upholstery and the shower head was different.

Aria Resort Las Vegas 31st floor King Deluxe City View

Aria Resort King Deluxe City View cushioned chairs.

Aria Resort Las Vegas King Deluxe City View shower head

Aria Resort Las Vegas King Deluxe City View desk area

This Loyalty Traveler post has more pictures of the King Deluxe room category features from my hotel room stay.

Aria Resort & Casino Suites

Regular suites are 920 sq.ft at Aria Resort. The four basic suite categories are Corner Suite, Crystals Suite overlooking the CityCenter Crystals retail shopping area, Cirrus Suite at 1,500 sq.ft. has a formal dining area, and Executive Hospitality Suite is 2,000 sq.ft. overlooking pool area and includes a 12-person conference room.

I only visited the Corner Suite room category among these suite categories.

Aria Resort Corner Suite dining table

Aria Resort Corner Suite entry restroom

Aria Resort Las Vegas Corner Room Suite sitting area

Aria Resort Las Vegas Corner Room Suite desk area and TV

Aria Resort Corner Suite king bed

Aria Resort Corner Suite bedroom TV and closet

Aria Resort Corner Suite bedroom window view of Las Vegas Strip and CityCenter.

Aria Resort Las Vegas Corner Suite - bath with a view.

Aria Resort Las Vegas - Corner Suite with electronic toilet

Aria Resort Las Vegas - Corner Suite hallway between sitting room and bedroom.

Aria Resort Las Vegas - wall covering in elevator corridor

Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas Sky Suites

Aria Sky Suites offer an exclusive resort experience with airport limousine transfers, private check-in and exclusive Sky Suite guest lounge access. There are separate sets of elevators for Sky Suites guests with closer access to restaurants and the casino floors than the elevators for other hotel guests.

Rooms range in size from 1,050 sq. ft. one bedroom Aria Suite and two bedroom Aria Suite at 1,630 sq. ft.

Penthouse one bedroom suites are 1,465 sq. ft. with a bedroom, dining room, kitchen, oversize bathroom, and entry hall toilet.

Penthouse two bedroom suites are 2,060 sq. ft.

Aria Sky Suite one-bedroom photos shown here are room 51-002 on 51st floor. The room view looks directly down to the Lumia Fountain at the Aria central entrance and floor-to-ceiling windows place the guest directly in the center view of CenterCity Las Vegas.

Aria SkySuite 51-002 entry toilet

Aria Sky Suite 51-002 dining area

Aria Sky Suite 51-002 sitting room

Aria Sky Suite desk sitting room 51-002

Aria Sky Suite one bedroom bed 51-002

The Aria Sky Suite bathroom in room 51-002 has two entries from the bedroom with sliding doors.

Aria Sky Suite bathtub 51-002

Aria Sky Suite bathroom 51-002

Aria Sky Suite double sinks in room 51-002

Aria Sky Suite bathroom sliding doors showing one door closed.

Aria Sky Suite Bedroom Corner room 51-002.

Aria Sky Suite Bedroom 51-002 view of Planet Hollywood on Las Vegas Strip.

The length of this piece with photos favors placing Aria Sky Villa 19 photos in a separate Loyalty Traveler blog post.

Related Posts:

Betting on Expedia.ca for a Vegas Suite Deal (Nov 20, 2010) [This post tells how I bought my flight to Las Vegas and an upgraded room at the Mandarin Oriental for $12.]

CityCenter Las Vegas – Art, Architecture and Space (Dec 16, 2010)

Hotel Detail – Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas in HD (Dec 11, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Pools, Spa and Dining (Dec 12, 2010)

Aria Resort Corner Suite and SkySuites (Dec 18, 2010) 

Aria Resort Las Vegas SkyVilla 19 (Dec 19, 2010)

Vdara Hotel, CityCenter Las Vegas (Dec 19, 2010)

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (Dec 23, 2010)

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Dec 21, 2010) (The Cosmopolitan is next to Vdara Hotel, but not part of CityCenter complex. The Cosmopolitan is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel.)

With fresh eyes I woke up to see the Aria Resort for a second day and a good day of hotel viewing. I like to get up early to take photos when the hotel floors are their emptiest of people. This is about the time many people are heading to their beds.

The 4,004 room Aria hotel has 16 restaurants and over a dozen drinking places. First I toured floors to see different views from hotel windows.

Aria Elevators

Aria hotel has six different sets of elevators to divide guests by room floors.

There were eight elevators for the nine floors 16 to 24 in my hotel elevator section. The most I ever waited for an elevator was 15 seconds. Impressive speed.

There is an exclusive key access elevator section for Aria SkySuites and SkyVillas on the upper floors of the central towers.

The Spa and Fitness Room

The Spa, pools and fitness room are accessed through the Promenade level, above the ground level Casino floor. The Fitness room opens at 6am and is accessed through The Spa doorway. The place was quite active when I arrived around 7am.

Fountain in front of fitness room

Aria Tip – Free coffee is available in dispensers during morning hours at the relaxation lounge outside the Fitness room. A trip to this section of the hotel through the Spa will save you $3 a cup at one of the Casino outlets and also provide a comfortable place with soft music, TV, a fireplace, and newspapers for lounging in the hotel in the morning.

Many pieces of the workout equipment face the hotel pools and there is a bank of TVs in the room. The fitness room is large, but too many exercisers were present for photos.

Aria Spa is a section of the hotel I just passed through. I have no insight to its services.

Aria Pools

The pools at Aria were only open from 9am to 4pm. I have written previously about the ridiculously short pool hours year-round in Las Vegas Casino resorts.

Pool Bar

Breeze Cafe

A feature I do not like about the pool area is two of the spa pools are situated near the windows of The Buffet restaurant.

One spa pool is concealed in the palm trees.

There are only a couple of hotels like the Westin Casuarina with pool hours in the evening. When staying in Las Vegas during summer and it is 95 degrees at 9pm in the evening, you can forget about a plunge at most hotel resort pools. The pool area will likely have closed sometime between 5pm and 7pm.

Pool view of Aria architecture

Dining at Aria

During my stay I only ate at The Buffet and drank at Bar Moderno. There are plenty of fine dining options at the hotel with a variety of restaurants serving different types of cuisine.

Barmasa for Japanese food is located at the end of the Aria hotel lobby. This lobby has been likened to an airport terminal by some. I actually like the open space of the lobby, although the seating is not particularly appealing. The Bellagio Hotel is a place I think stands out for comfortable seating in the halls for guests to relax.

Barmasa gate at the end of the Aria lobby is open 5-11pm Wednesday through Sunday. The restaurant is aesthetically appealing in a minimalist design.

Sage is American dining in the lobby location by Barmasa. I like the metal grill covers in the shape of wine glasses.

My parents said they enjoyed a dinner at Julian Serrano Tapas when my sister was in town. My sisters are the fine diners in our family.

My parents and I usually head to Ellis Island for $1.75 pints and $10 full rack of ribs dinner when I am in town. This casino has the smoky ambience of a locals dive bar and usually requires a wait of around an hour to eat, but if you like cheap microbrew draught beer and barbecue ribs and chicken or you want an inexpensive full steak dinner, then this place is worth a trip while you are in Vegas. Ellis Island is located diagonally across the street from the Westin Casuarina Hotel, two long blocks east of the Las Vegas Strip casinos around Paris and Planet Hollywood.

Todd English British Pub is located next to Julian Serrano Tapas. This pub is actually part of CityCenter Crystals shopping area and not the Aria hotel restaurants.

There are other restaurants around the casino floor. Café Vettro is open 24 hours and casual dining.

Blossom serves Chinese food and Lemongrass is Thai. I missed these restaurants entirely during my walkabouts. They are located by the SkySuites elevator section off the center of the casino floor near the escalators.

Above the Casino floor is the Promenade level with the Viva Elvis theater and several fine dining restaurants as well as The Buffet restaurant.

The Buffet serves weekday Monday through Friday breakfast for $15.99 (7-11am), lunch for $19.99 (11am-4pm) and dinner for $24.99 (Mon-Thur 4pm-10pm). Prices are higher on weekends with just brunch (7am-4pm) and gourmet dinner (Fri-Sun 4-10pm).  

I ate lunch and enjoyed the Asian foods with chicken tandoori, naan bread, sushi and black bean beef. The snow crab is very popular. This past month has been Dungeness crab season in California so I am spoiled on good crab. I thought the snow crab was way too salty. The shrimp was flavorless. I waited too long for the waitress to come by for a drink order. You can’t even get a glass of water without a waitress.

The buffet selections covered many food types and the price is about standard for Las Vegas buffets. The weekends offer lobster gourmet dinner buffet.

The hall across from The Buffet features fine dining at Sirio Ristorante, American Fish a Michael Mina restaurant and Jean Georges Steakhouse.

Cactus garden in between Sirio, Steakhouse and American Fish

Blossom and Sirio Ristorante were closed during my stay.

Union Restaurant and Lounge offered a casino floor dining experience with 5 – 7pm happy hour offering half off drinks and appetizers seven days a week.

Jean Philippe Patisserie, located right by the main guest floor elevators was a popular place throughout the day for a quick snack or coffee.

Next up - Aria Resort and Casino – Part 3 – Art, Architecture and Space

Tomorrow I will be back in Las Vegas at the Mandarin Oriental.

Tuesday I am hoping to be invited for a pre-opening press tour of The Cosmopolitan Hotel. The hotel says it has to approve my press credentials. Really now. Who else is going to give the hotel more complete coverage?

[update Dec 25, 2010 - VegasChatter.com has given the Cosmopolitan extensive coverage in the past two weeks if you want critiques and reviews of various aspects of The Cosmopolitan rooms, pools, dining.]

Related Posts:

Betting on Expedia.ca for a Vegas Suite Deal (Nov 20, 2010) [This post tells how I bought my flight to Las Vegas and an upgraded room at the Mandarin Oriental for $12.]

CityCenter Las Vegas – Art, Architecture and Space (Dec 16, 2010)

Hotel Detail – Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas in HD (Dec 11, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Pools, Spa and Dining (Dec 12, 2010)

Aria Resort Corner Suite and SkySuites (Dec 18, 2010) 

Aria Resort Las Vegas SkyVilla 19 (Dec 19, 2010)

Vdara Hotel, CityCenter Las Vegas (Dec 19, 2010)

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (Dec 23, 2010)

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Dec 21, 2010) (The Cosmopolitan is next to Vdara Hotel, but not part of CityCenter complex. The Cosmopolitan is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel.)

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