What was supposed to be a family Christmas in Vegas quickly turned into a romantic getaway for Geoff and I. We spent the holiday early with my family and took off for Vegas the weekend of Christmas. We had booked the early flight in so we could enjoy the entire day. Sometimes to best ideas are the ones not planned and we didn't make any plans. Vegas was ours!
After checking into Aria, we started our morning at Aria Patisserie. We're obsessed with their croissants and crapes. They make the perfect breakfast to fuel up an adventurous day of exploring and walking around.
One of my favorite things to check off my list when I visit Las Vegas is the Aria Salon & Spa. I was excited that Geoff was going to join me this time for a hair cut. He loved it! They did a great job, not cutting too much off, and even gave him some extra special attention trimming his brow. The Salon has a separate barber area for men so they don't have to listen to ladies gab and gossip. Of course, I opted for a massage with my favorite therapist, Melvin. He is amazing and I highly recommend booking with him unless it's during my time! The spa also has these delicious green tea shortbread cookies. I wish I could take them all home or at least get the recipe because OMG, I could eat them all day!!
Feeling rejuvenated, Geoff and I headed back to the room where we were surprised with champagne from the Aria concierge team. What a thoughtful welcome and sweet card! There team is amazing. They get us reservations at impossible restaurants to in to and find us discounted show tickets. They also let us know where the best Old Fashioned can be found (psst.... It's Bavette at Park MGM).
After a nap, because naps are essential when you're going to party all night in Vegas, we popped the bottle and got ready for our evening out. I couldn't wait to try Aria's new restaurant, Catch. The entrance is romantic and transformed us into a fantasy garden. Of course, there were some amazing photo ops and it helped set the mode for our romantic dinner.
The dinner ended up not being very romantic as the music in the dining area was a little loud. Geoff and I had a hard time holding a conversation. But the food was amazing! Our yellowtail tuna was tender and melted in our mouth. The toro scallion sushi roll tasted so fresh and had great flavor. I ordered the snapper and Geoff had a filet. Both were worth every bite! We want to go back but we'll most likely opt for the sushi bar and wine instead of the loud dining room. Our cocktails were pretty but not what we expected in taste so we may switch to their extensive wine and sake list instead.
After dinner and a some slots, we swung by our favorite bar, Alibi. It's got a really cool vibe and even though it's in the middle of the casino, the feel is very secluded and private. My favorite drink is the blackberry bliss. It's made with ginger beer and gin. Very refreshing and easy to drink but with a kick!
The next morning after a crepe and croissant at Aria Patisserie, we walked around the complex and through Bellagio and Caesar's. It's so easy to get through hotels and shops on this side of the strip. Simply go through Vdara through a secondary entrance to Aria. There's a skybridge from Vdara to Bellagio that are on the same level. Take an escalator down when you're in Bellagio and (bam!) you're there. We perused through the shops and moved on to The Forum Shops at Caesar's. They have high-end stores but also carry H&M, Nike and Gap.
The Bellagio has an amazing atrium that they transform every season. This year, they created majestic white horses drawling a Cinderella carriage as well ornate nutcrackers, ornaments and Christmas tree. But my favorite was the Tiffany's wreath made of the classic blue boxes. Working up an appetite, we stopped at Spago by Wolfgang Puck at Bellagio. We had eaten there before for Geoff's birthday and our whole party enjoyed it. The hostess had a table available outside and even though it was 60-ish, the sun was shining and the heaters were on. It was a beautiful day in Vegas. The cocktails were delicious and our hummus platter was the perfect starter. I had the chicken Asian salad for my entree. The wasabi dressing gave it a kick, the cashews added a crunch and the chicken was tender. It hit the spot and I would definitely recommend.
Later than evening, I convinced Geoff to come with me to Bavette at Park MGM to try the amazing Old Fashioned. (You can read all about my adventures at Park MGM as well.) We sat at the bar and I got to say hello to Garth, the bartender that served me when I was on my solo trip. He makes great conversation but not too chatty. The beverages where the perfect start to our second evening.
Our dinner reservations were at Julian Serrano Tapas. It's off the Aria lobby and an open air restaurant with smells that will draw in a crowd. We dined on sangria, gambas (sauteed shrimp in a garlic, spicy tomato sauce) and of course, mixed paella that had shrimp, lobster, mussels, chicken, chorizo and safron rice. Yummy! If you're going, I recommend ordering the paella when you get to your table and order your drinks as it generally takes 45-60 minutes to cook. After dinner, we headed back to Alibi for one last cocktail before an evening of gambling.
Our romantic journey in Vegas was coming to a close before heading to Phoenix for Christmas. It was a fun and relaxing trip with no agenda or stress; just the way a vacation should be. Thanks for another lovely stay Aria!
Photos by @sommer.luna.photography and Geoff