Four things the other reporters missed at the Aria opening

What did these people miss? Rick Lax will let you know.
Photo: Leila Navidi
Rick Lax

1. The men were dressed more flamboyantly than the women

The suits ran the Crayola gamut—everything from Fire Truck Red to Neon Pink to Get That Cosmo Away From Me White. And then there were the fashion standouts, like the older gentleman wearing the diamond pinky ring, diamond earrings, eye shadow and leopard print scarf. He had a leopard print handbag too. By comparison, the only exotic dresses I spotted were those worn by Aria’s female F&B employees and by the evening’s paid promotional models.

CityCenter’s investors/residents/high rollers have reached the pinnacle of wealth. Unlike many high rollers, these guys don’t amass money for the sake of culling flashy women to parade around in flashy dresses; they amass wealth for the sake of amassing it. They don’t wear suits to get attention or to impress others. They’re past that. They wear what they want because they like the way it looks. If they like pink, they wear pink. And at least one of the guys liked pink.

2. The temperature never fluctuated

My date noticed this two hours into the event. She told me that she’s temperature-sensitive, that she gets unbearably cold or hot at the slightest warmth fluctuation, but that she felt comfortable throughout the entire Aria property. That’s pretty amazing when you consider the scope and architectural diversity of Aria.

No surprise here: CityCenter put big money into little things. So you’ll feel comfortable there, but you might not realize why.

3. The “Deuce-Tini” is the most delicious/lazily named drink on the strip

I think I might have been the first-ever guest to order a Deuce-Tini—What, was “CityCenter-Tini” taken?—from The Deuce Lounge. After I requested the drink, the bartender mixed me a simple vodka martini When I pointed out the discrepancy, she replied, “Oh, I thought you said Goose martini.”

The “Deuce-Tini” consists of Patron Platinum, elderflower, agave, grapefruit bitters, violet sugar and two other ingredients I’d never heard of and can’t remember. (A couple Deuce-Tinis will do that to you.) The drink costs $25, but it takes the bartender four minutes to make, so I suppose you get your money’s worth.

4. There were empty rooms

I’m not talking about hotel rooms; I’m talking about a casino rooms. An hour and a half after the Aria opened to the general public, I found a totally unoccupied room in the back of the casino. And I stayed there, by myself, for quite a while.

Aria has two high-roller areas. One of them features blackjack tables (highest bet witnessed: $4,000) and a bar, and the other one features Baccarat tables (highest bet witnessed: $6,000) and European roulette tables. If you walk to the far left corner of the latter room, you’ll come to an unmarked hallway that leads to even more VIP rooms for even higher rollers. And if you continue walking down that hallway, you’ll come to a tiny room with comfy seats, square ashtrays, flowers and a TV.

I took a seat on the couch and watched The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson for 10 minutes. In the Aria casino, on opening night, all by myself.

In the end, Aria’s greatest secret asset might be its manageability. When you first enter Aria, its scope may intimidate you. But only at first. Once you investigate a little, you’ll find a spot to call your own.

I mean, how can you not? The place is huge.


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