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Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

Dearborn, Michigan
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Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

Prior to booking this trip I got an offer of 3 nights comped at the Aria, $100 in food, $300 in Freeplay and 2 tickets to see Love at the Mirage. I was able to swap the tickets out for Zarkana at the Aria for Monday 11/19 at 7p. I made 5pm dinner reservations at Julian Serrano at the Aria so we could to the early tasting menu. We booked out own air to Las Vegas about 6 weeks out on Southwest. Original price was approx $219/person for Non stop flights. About 2 weeks prior to departure I noticed our return air was $23 less per person, so just rebooked that portion of the flight on line. Now have $46 credit good for one year

Sunday 11/18 Day 1

We, DH and myself, flew out of Detroit on Non stop Southwest flight at 10:55am. In flight service and care was great. Lots of non alcoholic drinks and snacks given complimentary. We landed in Las Vegas about 15min early (12:15Pm) we just did carry on so we were able to avoid the baggage claim area. We were going to take the Showtime shuttle but opted to get a taxi and right to the hotel. We hopped in a taxi and said ‘Aria, no tunnel’ and off we went. About 15min later we arrived. Cost with tip $20. As instructed we went to the invited guest line and were promptly checked in early. We were giving a non smoking king on the 33rd floor (33141). That was the highest floor that was available at check in. We had to show our room key to security to access the elevators. Once in the room we found everything in order. There was a large bathroom with separate shower and soaking tub. There were a lot of toiletries placed around the tub and vanity. The bedroom area was very comfortable and clean. Everything can be controlled by the TV or the touch pad at the bedside. We found the lighting hard to figure out but had no problems with the drapes. The safe is located in the bedside table and is large enough to hold a laptop/MiPad.

We made a stop on the way to the room to pick up our tickets for Zarkana-a Cirque production. We were given tickets the 8th row from the front dead center. Can’t wait to see the show tomorrow.

We quickly unpacked and then changed into shorts wanting to soak up any sun we could. We made our way out to explore the changes to the Strip since our last visit about a year ago. For us we felt the location of the Aria was great. It was less than a 10min walk to get to the Strip, either thru Crystals shops or just down the street.

We saw the construction in front of MGM and IP (now called the Linq) but other than that no major bottlenecks. We didn’t go in to Harrah’s, Bally’s, IP, Tropicana, Bill’s this trip as too many other things to see and do. We did make donations at Monte Carlo, Aria, and Mandalay Bay to start. Found the machines for the most part were the same as we have in Detroit, a few new here and there-Texas Tea group game was one of the most popular.

We headed back to the room to change and then head to Border Grill as I had a restaurant.com certificate.

When we arrived back at the room we found champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. I had gotten an email from Jeremy at Aria a slot manager who wrote to find out if we needed anything during our stay. I mentioned we had dinner and show book and we were excited to be coming to Las Vegas to celebrate our 33rd anniversary and DH 63rd birthday. What a great surprise and nice way to start the trip.

We walked to Mandalay Bay and found Border Grill. We had a restaurant.com certificate for $25 if $50 purchased. Purchase price of the certificate $4. We were promptly seated but it seemed like the servers didn’t know who our table belonged to. This was fixed after a few minutes. Being that we had had a few cocktails in the casino we started out with water and guacamole and chips. The guacamole seemed to be lacking something. I had ordered the fish tacos (mahi-mahi) and DH got the spicy fish tacos. It seemed like the entrees came out very quickly. A nice presentation but one taste and we knew they were ice cold (you will see a trend here). We had a hard time locating our server so finally a manager came by. We explained the situation and new entrees were made. The manager said the entrees would be taken off the bill, so guess I won’t be using the Restaurant.com certificate. The new entrees entrees were brought out, DH said his was ok; my fish tacos were extremely dry and over cooked. Not the best meal or service. I used my comps to pay for the guacamole. I left tip for the entire meal on the table. I would have been very disappointed if I had to pay $50 for the meal we just had.

We made our way back to the Aria to play and explore. We really liked this casino-the atmosphere, staff, everything was top notch. Everyone was friendly and helpful. The drink service was fairly quick and drinks were good-I had everything from beer, Long Island, Grey Goose and tonic. I had no problem requesting a ‘tall’ cocktail at any time.

Around 11pm LV time the 3 hour time difference kicked in so off to bed. Somehow you never tire of looking at Las Vegas lit up at night. We did notice the rooms to be very dry, especially for sleeping-so a glass of water at the bedside was always in order.

Day 2 to follow

Oregon
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1. Re: Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

Good so far!

Winnipeg, Canada
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2. Re: Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

Looking forward to the rest of the report..........

Shelbyville...
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3. Re: Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

Can't wait to hear the rest....sounds great so far.

Brisbane
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4. Re: Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

Great TR so far.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

where part 2?!??!?!

great report so far, i agree aria is a great casino....something about the layout there just feels so good. i had some pretty amazing luck there too!!!! (and at wynn/encore)

what i wanna know is how you got 3 nights and all the extras comped :D

i put in some pretty decent play at the 'spin' room last week so im hoping i get some comps there in the future.

Dearborn, Michigan
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6. Re: Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

Day 2 Monday 11/19/12

Due to the time change we were up early. We headed out around 8am to get some breakfast. I had read about La Salsa Cantina on TA-$3.99 breakfast special until 11am-2 eggs, ham/bacon or sausage, southwest potatoes, corn/flour tortillas and 99 cent bloody Mary’s. We didn’t know where in the Miracle Mile shops it was located so we went in the door to the right of Planet Hollywood. You are actually quicker going in the door to the right of PH and then walking thru the casino and out into the shops close to Starbucks and head to the back of the mall. Las Salas is shop number 380 on the directory-it is next to the V theater. We were promptly seated and served. Found everything tasty and it hit the spot. The Bloody Mary was about a 12 ounce size and it had a little kick to it, but tasty.

We spent the day in the casinos on the strip-mainly making donations with no big pay outs. We found the drink service at some of the casinos was almost non existent (MB, Monte Carlo, Caesars to name a few). It could have just been we hit them at the wrong time.

Around 12:30pm we decided to head to the Mirage and grab a sandwich at Carniegie deli as I had comps. The deli was busy but we were seated quickly. I was in the mood for a Rueben and the only one they offered was an open face one-HUGE!!! Way too much food even for 2 people to split. We ended up taking half of it to go. Cost $25. If I went back again I would opt for something smaller.

We made our way back to the Aria and played for a few hours. Around 4:30p we headed to the room to change for dinner and the show.

We headed down to Julian Serrano’s at 5pm. It is located just off the gaming floor, close to the invited guests check in. I had done a lot of reading on TA so thought this would be a good place to use our $100 food credit. Julian Serrano is a Spanish style tapas restaurant. We had looked at the menu on line before we left Michigan and had an idea of what we wanted to get. The early tasting menu was $39 and included a choice of 3 appetizers, 3 entrees (chicken, fish, filet) and 2 deserts. We decided to add a couple of tapas plates as additional appetizers. We had gotten a cocktail in the casino prior to dinner so we were fine with that along with regular ice water. We added a seared scallop tapas and a lobster saffron tapas. We each had the tasting meal, DH had chicken croquettes, salmon and almond cake. I had the stuffed poquillo peppers, filet and chocolate molten cake. They brought out the scallop and lobster tapas and one bite and I know we were in trouble-COLD!!! I do like my food hot and feel for the price you should be able to get that. We called our waiter over and new apps were prepared. The new apps arrived and temperature wise were 100% better but looked half the size of the original ones served to us. It seemed a while before our entrees came out. I was concerned time wise as we had to get to the show. Our entrees arrived and looked great. One taste and you guest it-the potatoes that my filet was on were cold. At this point I just ate the filet. The server asked how everything was and I had to be honest. The manager did come and I explained everything. He felt someone in the back definitely wasn’t checking the food temperatures. When I had made the reservations prior to leaving Detroit, they asked if we were celebrating anything so I said anniversary and birthday. After finishing our meals it was now close to 6:30p and time to head to the show. We saw a lot of the waiters mving quickly around the restaurant. To our surprise they brought out our deserts on large platters with Happy Anniversay/Happy Birthday written in chocolate sauce with a candle. A+ on this. Fortunately due to the time all we could take is a taste. I give the manager credit, he did invite us to come back after the show for desert and sangria, another A+. They took off my filet up charge as well as the 2 extra tapas’, unexpected but appreciated. The waiter, service, manager were all great. The food temps just weren’t acceptable. I give the manager and waiter kudos for trying to correct the situation. I was not an irate complainer but did so in a tactful way. We tipped on the full price of our meal (2 tasting menus, plus 2 additional tapas).

We headed up to the Zarkana theater. The doors were already opened when we arrived. We were about 8 rows from the stage and dead center-fantastic seats. The seats we had were a comfy couch style. About 15 minutes prior to the start of the show several of the actors from the show come out into the audience-very fun to see. Pictures were allowed at that time. The show was great. A lot of acrobats, gymnastics as in all Cirque shows. The ‘Ringmaster’ had a great voice. From reading after I got home he sings in a combination of Spanish, English and a special language. So at times you had no clue what he was saying. The show lasted about 2 hours and it looked like even for a Monday there was a full house. We made our way out of the theater (2nd floor) and back to Julian Serrano’s. We were told to speak to John the manager now on duty. He was aware of the situation and couldn’t have been nicer. We opted to just sit at the bar and not occupy a table. The two bartenders couldn’t have been nicer. They both admitted there had been a ‘problem’ in the kitchen earlier on. We were offered a desert along with a glass of sangria. A nice way to end the evening. Tip left for bartenders and headed out to the casino to donate.

ireland
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7. Re: Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

It's so nice when a restaurant tries to fix their mess up. Mistakes happen (altho not hot enough food could be dangerous) - when they are dealt with in the manner you experienced, no one really minds. Looking forward to the rest.

Calgary, Canada
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8. Re: Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

Great report I love the Aria casino their Hot Shot slot machine with the cash wheel is never disappointing to me treats me very well. Champagne and strawberries was a nice touch on their part!

Brisbane
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9. Re: Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

More please! ;-)

Dearborn, Michigan
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10. Re: Trip review Aira, Encore 11/18-11/22

Day 3 Tuesday 11/20/12

We decided to head back to Miracle Mile for breakfast but decided to try Blondies today (located directly across from La Salsa). They offer 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 sausage and hash browns for $2.99. This is only offered Mon-Thurs. The Bloody Mary’s were $1.99 but bigger than La Salsa. So it ends up being the same price. The Bloody Mary at Blondies was extremely spicey. Over all La Salsa wins.

Today we decided to walk to Bill’s and then take the shuttle over to the Orleans (the shuttle also stops at The Gold Coast). The shuttles run right outside of Bills (on the side street vs Las Vegas Blvd) about every 15 minutes. A shuttle drove up as we arrived so we hoped on-about 15 minutes later we were at The Orleans. This is a popular locals casino-the complex has a movie theater, bowling, buffet as well as other restaurants. We found drink service very quick here-many times you hadn’t finished a drink and another would be offered. Around 1:30pm we headed back to Bill’s via the shuttle.

I had a restaurant.com certificate for Tacos and Tequilla at the Luxor. I had called prior to leaving home and asked if the certificate could be used during Happy Hour when they offer half off appetizers at the bar Mon-Fri 2p-6p. Dos Equis are $5. I was told no problem using the certificate.

Tacos and Tequilla is located on the mezzanine level in the Luxor just off the escalator. We walked to the Excalibur and then just used the inside walkway to get to the Luxor. The tram only stops at the Luxor on the return trip from Mandalay Bay.

We opted to sit at the bar for Happy Hour. I presented my certificate to our server who said she would have to check with her manager. Unfortunately I was unable to use the certificate as it does say on it ‘cannot be combined with other promotions’. This wasn’t a problem as I just used comps.

With our beer in hand we enjoy some chips and salsa (first basket there is no charge). We ordered Chicken Tamales and Chicken Tostadas and some guacamole off the appetizer menu. The tamales had a ton of masa and not a lot of chicken, the tostadas tasted like canned chicken. Guacamole was ok. Food was ok but at least it filled us up.

As it gets cool after the sung goes down (about 4p) we headed back to get long pants on. The temps during the day were 68-70 and sunny the entire time we were there.

We decided to head to MGM. Due to the construction at the front entrance you can’t enter from the side. We noticed the Lion Habitat in the lobby was gone. New restaurants and comedy clubs are in the works.

I managed to snag my first handpay-a $1 machine in the high limit area. I was beginning to wonder if this was going to be a ‘losing’ trip. At least now I was ‘ahead’ so I felt a little better. I won on a Romeo and Juliet machine, I have a fondness to these machines as I won quite a large jackpot on one at The Motor City Casino in Detroit. Funny thing is after I won they seemed to take the machines out.

We headed back to the Aria-we found the sidewalk to be very crowded. You still found the porn slappers on the street and the homeless on the bridges over the streets. But they wouldn’t bother you if you weren’t interested. One thing we did see was a lot of homeless now had dogs/cats with them. If you can’t provide food/shelter for yourself is it fair to the animals? Hopefully some local ASPCAS monitor this.

Made it back to the Aria and I did some packing as tomorrow we are heading for one night at the Encore.

We headed down to the Aria casino and it seemed like each machine I played I won on-not a handpay type win but at least winning. My DH just fed the entire trip-he is a very low roller but likes to get a little bit of play for his money.

Off to bed after having a GREAT stay at the Aria. We have stayed at Bellagio, Cosmopolitan, Pallazzo and Aria ranks right up there. Highly recommended.