Hotel Review – The Aria

During our quick weekend getaway to Las Vegas, we stayed at the Aria Hotel.

aria

The Aria is a luxury hotel with over 4,000 guest rooms and suites. This hotel is widely regarded as one of the “best” hotels on the Vegas Strip, but I guess all that depends on what you want out of a Vegas hotel .

Location – The hotel is located on the Vegas Strip about 10 minutes away from the LAS airport.  The hotel is very close to the Monte Carlo, Manadarin Oriental, Vdara, and Cosmopolitan Hotels.

Customer Service – The service at the hotel is exceptional. This hotel offers high-end hospitality – more than you can imagine, and more than we could take advantage of during our stay.  The hotel gets high-marks from us for communicating with us before our arrival and throughout our stay.  The hotel is certainly one that aims to please.

Accommodations – We were upgraded to a large, premium King Room with a Strip view during our stay.

aria room

Our large 21st floor room had a very comfortable king bed, a desk, two comfortable lounge chairs, and a bar area. The over-sized master bathroom had an over-sized shower and generous bathtub, water closet, and double vanities. There was also ample closet space for our luggage and carry-on bags.

Amenities – The hotel offers far more amenities than we used during our stay. The hotel features many lounging areas, shops for souvenirs and high-end luxury items, both casual and high-end restaurants, large pools and hot tubs, multiple bars, a fitness center, a spa, a salon, a train to nearby hotels, and lots, lots more. The hotel also has a casino on the bottom floor of the hotel.

Member Recognition – M Life is the loyalty program for the hotel and I have mid-level status within the program.  As such, we were treated to an upgrade (a room with a strip view) during our stay.

aria view

We really enjoyed this hotel and would love to return to it sometime in the future.

 

Las Vegas – February 4th

5:00 AM – My alarm went off, I got dressed, then made my way down to the gym for a pre-travel workout. I ran 5 miles on the treadmill, plus a cool down walk, to round out an hour on the machine.

6:30 AM – Went I went back to the room, John was dressed, caffeinated, and working on a few documents. I quickly showered and got dressed before packing.

7:30 AM – We took an Uber to LAS and we made the journey in 8 minutes flat. The TSA Check Point had a small wait, but we passed through quickly. Once we cleared security, we picked up some bottled water and a few Quiznos sandwiches to eat for lunch while en route to Houston.

8:00 AM – We made a stop at the United Club to visit the facilities, reorganize our carry-ons, and to relax. It was a nice respite.

club

9:00 AM – We walked over to gate and waited to board our flight. Because we booked our tickets last minute, we were in the back of the plane again. Blerg.

back of plane

9:15 AM – We boarded and took off on time. I spent the flight eating my lunch, working on emails and documents, and catching up on the RHONJ.

lunch on plane

2:30 PM (time change) – We landed slightly ahead of schedule and we drove to Baytown to have dinner my parents, to watch the Super Bowl, and, most importantly, to pick up George.

The work part of my trip to Las Vegas was eventful and productive, and the personal aspects of the trip were fun, relaxing, and fulfilling. As always, I am grateful for these professional travel opportunities, especially when I am able to weave in some family/personal time! Special thanks to my parents for hosting George at “Camp Mimi Papa!”

 

Las Vegas – February 3rd

5:00 AM – Despite restful sleep, we were both naturally up and at ‘em early. Thanks, Central Time body clocks!

 6:15 AM – We walked downstairs to Starbucks where John picked up coffee and a breakfast sandwich and I walked over to the gym for a workout.

7:30 AM – Once my workout was over, I picked up fresh juice for John and me at the Pressed Juice shop in our hotel. We spent the rest of morning lounging, getting ready for the day, working, and relaxing.

Sat juices

10:00 AM – We left the hotel and set out on foot towards the Bellagio to do more window shopping. We made our way further North on the Strip and popped into the Wynn and Encore properties where John looked unsuccessfully for a few watch accessories. In addition to checking out the beautiful Chinese New Year decor, I also picked up some perfume that I have been lusting after more than a year.

Wynn dragon

We walked over to the Bouchon Bakery at the Venetian to pick up some sweet treats for ourselves and to get some treats for my parents (who watched G while we were away).

Noon – We had reservations for lunch at Giada’s at the Cromwell Hotel. I have been there multiple times, but this was John’s first visit. We both had a great experience – from food to service to ambiance.

giada menu

We started our meals by sharing an arugula salad and a spinach pizza.

Giada app

For my entree, I had homemade spaghetti and meatballs. It was divine.

giada meatball

John had a great cannelloni dish. Afterwards, we visited the restaurant’s infamous photo booth.

us at giada

1:30 PM – We walked back over to the Bellagio where John surprised me by purchasing a handbag for me that I had been eyeing the day prior. Lucky me! Afterwards, we walked back over our hotel and lounged for a bit.

3:30 PM – We made the short walk from the Aria to the Mandarin Oriental for a bit of spa time. We had never been to the hotel, so it was a treat to explore the property and to partake in the amazing spa services.

MO

Once we checked into the spa, we were treated to the shoe exchange ceremony and complimentary hot ginger tea.

MO sandals

We later went to gender specific locker rooms and spa areas where we had spa services. Specifically, we both had Chinese foot relaxation treatments. My service and therapist were amazing and I actually fell asleep during my treatment. Afterwards, I spent some time in the steam room and lounging on heated chairs.

MO robe

When John and I were reunited in the spa boutique, he sheepishly mentioned that he was next door to me while I was getting my treatment and that I was snoring so loud that they gave him an iPod to block the sound. OMG. Talk about mortified. The spa manager came up to me afterwards and offered me a gracious complimentary gift – a relaxing candle and a set of sugar scrubs in honor of my “tired state and need for relaxation.” Talk about generosity.

5:00 PM – We walked back over to the Aria and got ready for dinner.

6:15 PM – We made the quick walk over to the Cosmopolitan Hotel for dinner at JALEO, a tapas restaurant that John has been itching to try.

6:30 PM – We were sat for our reservation and we dug onto the tapa ambiance.

jaleo mc

We began with chorizo, manchego cheese, and an order of Barcelona bread.

jaleo bread

We moved on to shrimp and chicken fritters.

jaleo shrimp

jaleo shoe

Our final section was beef rib and mushroom paella.

jaleo paella

The food at Jaleo was excellent, but the service was woefully slow. As such, I am not sure I will make a repeat visit down the road.

8:45 PM – We walked back over to the Aria and picked up a few sweet treats from the Aria Patisserie to eat in bed. It was delightful. We relaxed in bed a bit before it was lights out.

Las Vegas – February 2nd

5:45 AM – My alarm went off and I immediately dressed for my morning workout.

sunrise2

6:00 AM – I went to the hotel gym to get in a run on the treadmill and to watch news coverage.

7:15 AM – Post workout, I showered, got dressed, and conducted my first phone conference call of the day. I ate breakfast while on my call.

8:30 AM – I made my way downstairs to the conference for the first of four important meetings.

redrockele

10:45 AM – I checked out of the hotel and made my way to the Aria Hotel via Uber.

to work eleve

11:15 AM – I checked into the Aria and was thrilled with the beautiful view from our room.

2.4 morning

11:45 AM – After a work call, I went down to Javier’s for a solo lunch. I have been to Javier’s multiple times and I was craving their chile rellenos.

javiers

My lunch totally hit the spot and I answered emails in between bites.

fri lunch

12:30 PM – Back in my room, I unpacked while on a conference call, then worked on work emails and documents.

2:00 PM – John arrived at the hotel and got settled in. I took a nap while he worked. Once I was up, we both did a bit more work before readying for dinner.

6:30 PM – We both love walking, so we walked to dinner. We ended up walking all the way to the Wynn to do some window shopping, then made our way to the Palazzo where we had dinner reservations at CUT.

7:30 PM – CUT was crowded, but they sat us on time. Amen. This was our second time at the restaurant and it didn’t disappoint. We started our meal by sharing a salad and noshing on the house-made bread.

C salad

John also had a custom whiskey cocktail made table-side.

C cocktail

We each had a steak for our entree (I had a Wagyu petite filet that was amazing!), and we shared Brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes for sides.

C dinn

We also shared a carrot cake with meringue for dessert.

C dess

Everything was perfect about our dining experience – the food, the ambiance, and the service.

9:30 PM – We walked back to our hotel and enjoyed seeing the Chinese New Year decorations each Hotel displayed along the way.

Crystals dragon

Las Vegas – February 1st

99% of the time, my work trips are planned weeks, if not months, in advance. However, occasionally a last-minute trip pops up that completely turns my work schedule upside down. Unfortunately, or fortunately, that happened recently. Last week a trip to Las Vegas came up with less than ideal notice, but we made it work in a big way. Specifically, John was able to join me for part of the trip so that we could enjoy some 1:1 time. John and I have been to Las Vegas multiple times and it was another serendipitous occasion to spend a weekend there together.

The work part of the trip was a one night stay and called for me to attend a series of six high-level meetings with external and internal constituents during a conference. The next few nights were all about fun. I mean, who doesn’t want to celebrate Super Bowl weekend in Vegas?

6:30 AM – I woke up, got dressed, and made special pancake breakfast for George. Once he was up, I sat with him while he devoured his pancakes and fruit.

7:30 AM – I drove to the gym and got a quick workout in before my travels. I was pretty anxious that morning and a workout was just what I needed. While I was at the gym, John dropped George off at school.

8:45 AM – I showered, finalized my packing, and did a bit of work before leaving the house.

9:45 AM – I left to make the drive to Terminal C at IAH.

10:25 AM – I arrived at Terminal C and easily found parking in the garage. TSA Pre-Check was a less than 2 minute experience. After security, I made a stop to pick up bottled water and a banana from my favorite airport store (Cibo). I also picked up a Subway to eat for lunch on board. I spent the rest of my time before boarding responding to emails while waiting to board my flight.

11:25 AM – We boarded with ease and I was somewhat annoyed to be sitting in the last row of the plane. But, this is what happens when you book a last-minute flight. Oh well, it wasn’t terrible. My seatmates were pretty cool.

bpout

12:00 PM – Our departure was on time and unremarkable – which is a feat for a completely full flight. As soon as the flight took off, I ate the lunch I picked up at the airport – a Subway sandwich, chips, and sparkling water – all while watching an episode of RHOBH. Afterwards, I spent the remainder of the flight working on my laptop.

1:13 PM (time change) – We landed and within minutes I was in an Uber and headed to the Red Rock Casino to attend a work conference.

2:00 PM – I arrived at my hotel and immediately checked in. I was upgraded to a larger room and I quickly unpacked and got settled in the room.

2:45 PM – I literally spent the rest of the day in meetings, conference sessions, at receptions, and at a dinner.

8:30 PM – I finally made it back to my room and crashed hard. Lights out.

Hotel Review – Sorrel River Ranch Resort

During our holiday vacation to SE Utah, we stayed at the luxurious Sorrel River Ranch and Spa.

srr

The Sorrel River Ranch is a luxury hotel with 55 guest rooms and suites. This hotel is widely regarded as one of the “best” hotels located in the Moab area and from our experience it lived up to the hype. This was our visit to the hotel, and I hope it won’t be the last.

Location – The hotel is situated on 160 acres of ranch land about 4 hours away from the SLC airport.  However, you can fly into the nearby Canyonlands Airport if the flight schedule works for you.

Customer Service – The service at the hotel is beyond exceptional. This hotel offers high-end hospitality – more than you can imagine, and more than we could take advantage of during our stay.  The hotel gets high-marks from us for communicating with us before our arrival and throughout our stay.  The hotel is incredibly family-friendly and went above and beyond to make sure that George felt welcome. Every time we encountered staff they made sure to acknowledge us by our names. To boot, every restaurant on property has a kid’s menu for every meal service.

Accommodations – We were upgraded to a two-story, two-bedroom family suite with river views during our stay.

sorrel first

Our large first floor room had a very comfortable king bed, an oversized sleeper couch, living area, a dining room, mini fridge, and microwave.

sorrel main 2

The over-sized master bathroom had an over-sized shower and generous bathtub, water closet, and double vanities.

There was also ample closet space for our luggage and carry-on bags.

The second floor featured two queen beds and a nicely appointed bathroom with a large shower.

sorrel up

sorrel up 2

Amenities – The hotel offers far more amenities than we used during our stay. The hotel features many lounging areas, shops for souvenirs and high-end luxury items, both casual and high-end restaurants, a large pool and hot tub, a bar, a fitness center, a spa, stables, a tennis court, guided hikes, and lots, lots more. The hotel also has a really gorgeous main building and lobby.

Sorrel Main

Member Recognition – There is no loyalty program to speak of, but repeat guests are remembered and are apparently treated like royalty.

We really enjoyed this hotel and would love to return to it sometime in the future.

 

Utah – New Year’s Day

Thanks to a bit of revelry in the nearby cabins, I had a bit of trouble getting to sleep on our last night in Utah. But I slept well and for 8 hours. John and George slept really well and had no issues getting to, or staying, asleep.

I was up at 5:15 AM for my first workout of the year. I ran 3m and did a cool down walk on the treadmill. When I got back to the room my room key wouldn’t work and I was outside for 15 minutes until John got out of the shower and checked my text plea for help. Whomp, Whomp. But at least I got take in this sunrise view.

sunrise

Once I got in to the room, I showered and finalized my packing. John and George were doing the same things upstairs.

We checked out of the hotel and started our journey to Salt Lake City at 7:00AM. Watching the sun come up over the mesas and mountains was beautiful.

We stopped in Green River to pick up some breakfast items (our hotel kitchen was closed when we left the hotel). We picked up donuts and fruit for G, and John and I picked up a few things from Subway. We ate breakfast in the car as the drive went on.

About 4 hours later, we made our way to Salt Lake City. We returned our rental car, checked our bags, and made our way through TSA Pre-Check.

slc

We boarded without delay and settled in for a quiet journey home.

g bag

Our flight was uneventful and lunch/dinner on board was actually pretty good. We all had salads with chicken.

lunch

We made it home safely that night and we were relieved to be blessed with stress-free travels. Most importantly, we were grateful for a restful and rejuvenating family vacation.