A Weekend of Luxury in Las Vegas at the Aria Resort

I think I wrote about this back in South Africa, but I’ll mention it again: being a travel journalist is funny.  One day you’re out camping and living on baked beans on cup-o-noodles, and then next day you’re thrust into the lap of luxury at a beautiful resort eating Kobe beef.  My latest visit to Las Vegas definitely fits into the later category.  We were absolutely pampered by our stay at the beautiful Aria Resort and Casino.  During our stay, we got a spa treatment in, took a helicopter ride over the strip at night, and got to push the button to make the Bellagio fountains work.  But most of all, we ate, and we ate well!  The Aria is home to some of the best restaurants in Vegas, and we sampled a lot of them.

Now, this article will be less of a travel photography article, and more of a “this is what we did in Vegas” article.  But, I hope you like it.  Of course, there will be loads of photos from Vegas as usual.  And again, if you ever end up in Las Vegas and you’re looking for a weekend of luxury, I can’t recommend the Aria Resort enough.  It really was a fantastic stay.  We almost had a hard time leaving the resort itself to explore, it was so amazing.

Where we Stayed in Las Vegas

As I mentioned, we stayed at the Aria Resort and Casino.  The property belongs to the MGM family, and is connected to the Bellagio by a tram.  It’s also right on the strip, so if you’re looking to wander down Las Vegas Boulevard a little bit, you don’t have far to go.  The room we had was fantastic.  It had a little living area with a flat screen TV. There was a massive bathroom with a tub, shower, and his and her sinks. In the bedroom, the bed itself was one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on. It was the type of bed that you didn’t want to leave.  So comfortable that it was hard to find the desire to explore.

Aria Resort Las Vegas, Suite

The absolute best feature of the hotel room was the view.  From our hotel room window we could see the entire southern part of the strip.  It was a fantastic place to watch the sunset and then the city’s lights come on at dark.

Aria Las Vegas, View

Where we Ate in Las Vegas

We didn’t take our dining options lightly in Las Vegas, and were spoiled by some of the best meals we’ve had in years.  Yes, the saying “World-Class” is overdone.  And, yes, the places we ate in Vegas we’re exactly that: World-Class.

Sage

On our first night in Las Vegas, we were treated to a cocktail tasting at Sage Bar.  Our bartender, Robert Schultz, was an absolute wizard and crafted us some wicked drinks including everything from an ultra-girly drink made with Cotton Candy, to a classic “Old Fashioned”.  It was fantastic, and I’d be lying if I said we weren’t more than a little bit tipsy when we left there.

Bartender, Sage Bar, Las Vegas

After our cocktails, we headed into the restaurant at Sage.  We ordered steak, and didn’t hold back on the quality either.  Tiffany had the Wagyu beef, and I went all out with a Kobe beef.  My steak was the best I’ve ever eaten, and yes I keep tabs on that sort of thing.  The previous title holder for best steak I ever had was actually a Wagyu beef in Santiago, Chile at a place called “La Vaca Gorda”.  Absolutely mouth-watering.  I mean, this steak was butter.  I can still taste it, and hope I never forget how delicious it was.

Kobe Beef Steak, Las Vegas

Five50

On Saturday, we went down to a pizza joint in Aria called Five50.  This is a great spot for lunch in Vegas. They have amazing New York-style pizza, and really well thought out cheese and meat platters, which hit the spot.  But what really sold the place for me was the desert.  They have gourmet milkshakes!  We tested three of their milkshakes, one was a s’more, one was chocolate-mint, and the other some peanut butter shake that was garnished with bacon.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

We left Five50 stuffed to the gills.  My recommendation: share.  The portions are massive.

Gourmet Milkshake, Las VegasGourmet Milkshake, Las Vegas

Bardot

Though all the places we ate were amazing, Bardot might have actually been my favourite.  I mean, Sage is fantastic for special occasions, but Bardot is the type of place that I could hang out, and keep coming back to.

Bardot, Las Vegas

We went to Bardot for brunch on the day before we left, and loved the experience. I mean, where else in the world can you have Lobster Benedict and bottomless rose wine  for breakfast.  Although we didn’t try it, the French Toast they serve here is unreal, too.  It’s more like a French Loaf, it’s massive.  What also impressed me about Bardot was the price.  I found the menu to be incredibly reasonably priced.  The service here was also fantastic, as it was at every place we ate in Vegas.

Brunch, Bardot, Las Vegas

 

Room Service

Of course, what would a trip to Vegas be like without a little bit of room service.  We got room service for breakfast twice and both times it was fantastic.  I got huevos rancheros, and a breakfast burrito the other; both were perfect.  Tiffany got the French Toast one day, and oatmeal and fruit the following.  The service was incredibly quick too.  I think the most we ever waited from call down to the food arriving was about 25 minutes.

Huevos Rancheros, Las Vegas

Things we Did in Las Vegas

I’ve been to Vegas before, but I haven’t really done any of the touristy stuff.  Quite often, as a travel photographer, you’re out shooting images rather than experiencing life as a tourist.  This trip was different, I really did get out and explore the city a little bit, and I had some of those typical tourist experiences.

Bellagio Fountains Experience

This was crazy.  We headed to HYDE at the Bellagio and actually got the chance to push the big red button that makes the fountains burst. We also got to chose the song the fountains would play.  It was extremely cool to have the opportunity to see the fountains from that perspective as well.  I’ve seen the fountains from the strip, but from HYDE, you are essentially right inside the fountains.

HYDE, Las Vegas

I was amused to find out that you can actually purchase the Bellagio fountain experience.  Included in the experience is a giant bottle of champagne, of which there are only a couple in the world, the opportunity to push the button and start the fountains as many times as you want over the course of a night, and, of course, the best seat in the house to experience it all.  The price tag?  A measly quarter of a million dollars.  Psh, I’ll take two.

Helicopter Ride over the Las Vegas Strip

The night before we left, we jumped in a helicopter with Maverick Helicopters and got to fly over the Las Vegas strip at night.  It was a cool experience despite the fact that it started to rain on us a bit.  I have an article that’s going to discuss this experience, and about the photography side of this helicopter trip, in more detail soon.  So, stay tuned for that.

Las Vegas, Night

Spa Treatment at ESPA

If you read my blog regularly, you know I’m not a massive spa person.  However, this was nice.  After driving some 16,000km around the US, camping, hiking, kayaking, etc., this was such a relaxing hour.

Las Vegas Strip Street Photography

Of course, I couldn’t resist heading out onto the streets of Las Vegas to do some street photography well I was in town.  There are just too many interesting characters on the streets not to want to photograph them.  So, I pulled myself from the comfort of my suite at Aria for a little while to photograph the Strip.

Homeless man, Las Vegas

More Travel Photography from Vegas

This wasn’t your typical trip to Las Vegas as a travel photographer, and I really didn’t focus on the photography side of things this time.  Rather, I tried to focus on the luxury side of life, I tried to let myself be spoiled a little bit.  But, Vegas is such a cool place, it’s hard to leave without a couple cool images.

Bellagio Fountains

The Belagio and the Fountains.

Aria Lobby, Las Vegas

The lobby at Aria during Chinese New Year

Pizza at Five50

Pizza at Five50

Aria Pool

The pool at Aria

Street Performer, Las Vegas

Street Performer on the strip.

Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas

Caesar’s Palace.

Paris, Las Vegas

Paris, Paris on the strip.

Bellagio Fountains

A couple watching the fountains in the afternoon.

Too much swagger

Dude with too much swagger

Las Vegas Strip

Sage Bar, Las Vegas

Our bartender putting together a fancy drink at Sage

What’s Next on the Travel Photography Blog?

My next article will be about my helicopter experience over Las Vegas.  I’ll discuss how to shoot the areal footage at night, and the things I learned from the experience.  Then, I’m off to San Francisco!



Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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11 Comments

  1. I love all your pics from Vegas, looks like you had an amazing, semi-relaxing time.

    I have to admit though, “Dude with too much swagger” might be my favourite haha!

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    • The dude just had too much swagger!! haha.

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  2. It would be an awesome experience to spend one weekend in the luxurious las vegas! Jealous.

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  3. Really enjoyed the video Brendan. Great overview of a super interesting city.

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  4. Amazing pictures…It just seem that you guys have spend best of your luxurious time in vegas…..
    Enjoy….

    Happy Travelling…

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  5. I’ve stayed in some nice hotels, but nothing quite like that in Las Vegas. Night photography there, as you know, is just amazing. The colors pop right out of the image.

    Post a Reply
    • Such a great place for photography isn’t it Steve? Thanks for commenting and visiting the blog!

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  6. Heading over to Vegas in seven weeks. Looks like such a vibrant and exciting city. Great photos Brendan.

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    • Thanks Aaron. You’ll love it. Such a fun destination.

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  7. Amazing shots that bring back so many memories, Las Vegas might be not a huge city but it is incredibly beautiful! 🙂

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