I have stayed in Aria several times for business trips to Canberra in 2010 and 2011, most recently in May 2011.
It is located in Dickson, which has some great Asian restaurants (particularly the Japanese ones), as well as standard takeaway options such as Subway. It is a little bit of a walk to the restaurant area so in colder months I'd suggest hiring a car or getting a taxi.
The hotel looks and feels new. The main selling point of the hotel is its rooms. The beds are large and comfortable, the rainfall shower feels luxurious, flat screen TVs with cable are mounted on the bedroom walls and there is an iPod dock next to the bed which means you can charge your iPod and listen to music, all of which are great after a long day at work.
I usually stay in a one bedroom apartment, which has a fridge, microwave, dining table and spacious lounge room as well. There is heating/airconditioning in the bedroom and lounge - the heating is particularly good for the colder months.
There is no restaurant on site but there are breakfast foods/snacks available for purchase downstairs. However I haven't bought anything there as it seems quite expensive.
Parking is included.
There are a few negatives here. Firstly, the location is not overly convenient if you don't have access to a car or taxi. If your room has a shower instead of a bath, water tends to leak out, leaving the floor wet and the bath towel soaking. In fact, I have slipped over and injured myself in the bathroom. The cable TV is great but takes some working out and there don't seem to be any instructions.
Also, I have found the staff to be both good and bad. They are generally friendly but could be more helpful when responding to requests such as checking the heating or paying the bill prior to checkout. I prefer to pay my bill the night before I leave, as I always leave very early in the morning. I have been told by some staff members that I can't pay early (when I've done it before) and once was chased to my taxi and accused of not paying - I had to show the bill and explain the concept of paying before check out for around 10 minutes before they would let me leave.
There is also a fairly hefty surcharge when you pay by credit card.
I have returned to the hotel despite these negatives so I would say the good features outweigh the bad ones here.
Yes, it is expensive but so is everywhere in Canberra, particularly during Parliamentary sitting weeks. Yes, it is difficult to get anywhere without a car but again, that's Canberra for you. The hotel itself (rooms, amenities) is a lot better than several other places I have stayed in Canberra, as it's newer and less run down.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.