I got a second chance to check out part of CityCenter's ARIA last week - I figured this would be a good time to share some of those thoughts.
The 4,004 room resort is the centerpiece of the project, including the only gaming space in the complex.
Continue after the jump for some additional thoughts...
Instead of a massively long piece like last time, I'm going to keep this one short and focus on discrete thoughts, in no particular order.
The upstairs ice-cream joint has decor reminiscent of a Baskin Robbins inside the Wonka Factory. Funky colors and those bucket plastic chairs you'd find at an amusement park. As my tour partner suggested, this seems a likely candidate for re-design in the future. Odd looking.
Saw just a sliver of this massive area but what I did see looked very encouraging. Large blocks of cut stone, similar to the design of Sensi at Bellagio, line the hallway. It looks very neat.
There are restaurants spread all over the property but the three that I didn't get to see last time were the fine dining outlets on the second floor - Sirio, Jean-Georges Steakhouse and American Fish. These all look like solid contenders for my dollars but one thing I saw surprised me a bit. A restaurant design that I'm not particularly fond of has the front wall partially open - sometimes to a casino (think Brand at Monte Carlo or FIX at Bellagio) but in the case of two of the above, to the central lobby area. I think that's a little odd for fine dining - less private than I would have expected.
Downstairs, the BarMasa/Shaboo combo have a huge decorative staircase right at the front door, going all the way to the ceiling. Hard to describe but a neat design flourish. One unfortunate byproduct - the view from this joint, certainly not a cheap date, is of the slate grey Cosmopolitan sidewall. Ugh.
One thing I was very curious about that I didn't see on my first tour were the guest rooms. We headed up to the 'South Tower' and into one of the standard rooms. My first stop was something I had a question about since I saw the floor-plan months ago - the bathroom. As you may know, the bathtub and shower are arranged so that you have to step through the former to reach the latter. A little odd sounding but in practice, it seems fine. As we already know, the rooms aren't huge - about the same size as Bellagio, though without the huge furniture taking up all the space. I checked out the bed - it was wrapped in plastic but seemed comfy.
You may recall that in my last report, I was a little down on the casino. I think I can say now that it is growing on me. I saw a few things in more detail this time - the Deuce Lounge, all of the high limit and private gaming areas and the rest of the sports book. Some parts of the casinos are pretty dark but there are some areas close enough to the doors to be naturally lit.
The high limit baccarat games and the private gaming rooms are nestled back in the far corner - the path winds a bit with small salons on either side. There didn't appear to be any windows or natural light in these rooms.
I only mention this because the Bellagio bus lobby includes the same attention the rest of the building got. Not so at ARIA - looks like an underground mall parking lot.
Back of House
If you enjoy seeing how things work, there's more of it here at ARIA than any other facility I've toured. Multiple levels underground connect to parking garages, valet areas and HUGE storerooms. Between recycling and on-site rendering, they are re-using a lot of the waste materials inside the resort. One interesting note - unlike the other MGM properties in Las Vegas, CityCenter has its own data center operations onsite which would make any future separation or bankruptcy sale much easier to handle (the rest of MGM's properties all share a Bellagio data center if I recall, with a backup at TI).
One thing I hadn't noticed last time was placement of escalators between levels - do not fear, they are all over the place. Moving between levels should be relatively easy.
That's it for now. As always, happy to answer questions if anyone has any.