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Aria Encore

By Chuckmonster on Tuesday, 23rd February 2010 3:43am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 15


Sixty days past its grand opening, ARIA's marketing campaign continues to run commercials every half hour on the Anthony Bourdain Channel, stating unequivocally that - upon encountering the resort - "words will fail you."

Now, days after completing our second stay at Las Vegas newest resort casino, I feel that we've finally found the precise words to accurately describe ARIA with the depth and honesty it truly deserves:

ARIA is all the service, amenities and offerings you've come to expect from MGM Mirage, wrapped in a stunning work of architectural artistry.

From top tier restaurants, entertainment by Cirque du Soleil, state of the art gaming facilities, stunning art and architecture and consistent lack of attention to the one detail that ensures sealing the deal: service that makes the visitor feel special.

From the front desk receptionist who told us upon check in - in a barely-audible-over-the-din-of-the-casino whisper - that our account had a $75 resort FEE, to the bartender who told me that having a sliver of cucumber in my Hendricks gin martini "wouldn't do anything to the drink" (which is exactly how the distiller suggests it to be served). Hold on Horatio, if I order a bud light with a slice or orange or a cherry in it as a garnish, it is your job to serve it to me regardless of what you think of my palate.

Isolated incidents of boobery? Maybe.

But then how does one explain the pair of servers at Julian Serrano who stood around whipping each other with napkins for 10 minutes while we sat around waiting for them to deliver our check after asking for it twice? And what about the other pair of casino employees loudly bitching about their supervisor right in the middle of the only path through the casino? And what about the other pair of employees in ARIA's gift shop who body checked my wife out of their path instead of offering a simple "pardon me" or rerouting their path whopping 15 steps to the right.

Three pairs of assholes equals a full house of aggravation and an almost flushed weekend getaway.

One thing is true regarding ARIA's "words will fail you" mantra... if you use ATT & Verizon as your mobile phone carrier, words will definitely fail you, as will texting, tweeting and twitpicing. Service within ARIA - the entire CityCenter actually - is worse than awful... it's completely non-existent! Need to call your Mom to tell her that you arrived safely? No bars at any of the bars. Need to call your husband to tell him that the account is overdrawn and the $700 he's gambling with at the poker slots is all that is standing between your family and debtors dish washing prison? No service. Need to contact your bff who flew into town from Ronkonkoma for the bachelor(ette) party? You gotta go outside to do that. Need to email a celeb-sighting photo of the supremely crushable Joan from Mad Men to your red head obsessed bi-curious goumada? Fugghetaboutit. Apparently, the whole place is wired for ATT & Verizon, but a silly contract snafu ($$$) is keeping someone from turning on the juice.


ARIA is all the service, amenities and offerings you've come to expect from MGM Mirage, wrapped in a stunning work of architectural artistry.



Comments & Discussion:

Seniority is expensive, but it's obvious worth it. Peeling the upper crust off Indian casinos around the US won't hold a candle to what they could have pulled out of MGM Grand, let alone Mirage or Bellagio.

Damn Chuck, this is one of the funniest stories you've ever written. I love it. The funny thing is, I told everyone that City Center wouldn't over take Wyncore as the top place in town, because they just don't know how to run a casino/resort as well as Wynn can from a customer perspective. Yes MGM is better at making money, and squeezing every cent out of a place, but that don't make it better for the customer. Think of all that money they saved by not giving you that slice of cucumber you requested...

Yeah that does sound like the godawful "customers are suckers" service I encountered in my one and only visit to Foxwoods Indian casino. If recruiting among that crowd was MGM's staffing strategy, then they're pretty damn shortsighted.

All of CityCenter? Really? Because service at the Mandarin has consistently been right up there or above anything else I've experienced on the Strip.

ever since southwest stopped offering direct flights to vegas from macarthur, ronkonkoma has probably taken a back seat to laguardia.

"ARIA is all the service, amenities and offerings you've come to expect from MGM Mirage, wrapped in a stunning work of architectural artistry."

Hah,ha,ha,hah! I hope your subtlety doesn't go right over the heads of all the suits at MGM Mirage.

Mike E: I think this IS seniority. It seems they hired people who are so secure in their jobs that they don't care.

I've met employees at Bellagio who had just come from places like Treasure Island for being stand-out workers, I suspect Aria was picking not on quality but seniority.

The top executives at Aria should be walking the floor several times a day to ensure everything is running smoothly. I strongly suspect they are rarely ever seen. This attention to detail from the top is essential (and is what separates Wynn from everyone else).

I made a point to ask as many employees as possible what properties they came from. I was suprised how few were hired from quality casinos. In fact, many were from local non-gaming properties.

Nah, the service at Mandarin Oriental was superb. However, that is run by the Mandarin Oriental people, not MGM.

I Think Mandarin is in no way associated with MGM as far as employee, and it really shows. To be honest i have no desire to even go to any MGM property any more. Kind of like their own CEO! this seals the deal

i jus missed you guys... the mrs and i checked out on the 21st. i felt the service sucked!!! after speakin to a "hospitality" manager, she says she was very sorry and they would hope our aria expeiripence and they would send us a "special" invite back. cant wait to see this "special" invite will be.

from the moment we arrived in the deep cavernous dungeon, where the shuttles drop off and pick up. i said what the fuck, felt like i was bein dropped off at the riv.
we waited 45 min to check in and there was no way we were gonna get a strip view with out payin for the upgrade.
everybody we tried speakin to was rude. at times i felt they and the resort were too good for me. the nicest person we spoke to was jose the maintence gey who came to change the batteries in the tv remote.
i felt the casino was to dark and the ceilings to low, i hated playin there. i never felt comfy.

i told the "hopitality" manager all this and more. i told her that i was let down, i was inder the impession that i was gonna get a wynn or encore expeirence. i also to her that i had better service and some harrahs properties.

i would not, never, recommend aria to anyone!!!

couldn't agree more...although I loved my second say, service keeps this resort purely at a 4 out of 6 for me. my cell service was a bit better, but as Hunter said, it's a nice Mirage, or as I say, it's like M but with worse service and the isolated location through lack of technology.

such potential, turned into potential fail. i'm sad to say my host left to go here, which is sad for her. i'll be using her less.

Absolutely no disrespect intended here -- meeting Chuck and Hunter was an honor, and the greatest part of attending the opening. But I always felt their enthusiastic initial reviews had a lot to do with the opening night energy, which was undeniable, and especially their epic run at the craps table following the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to throw the first dice at what may have been the last great opening of our lifetimes. A memorable experience like that will definitely enhance one's experience and impressions of the place.

While I did notice some service glitches at Encore during that trip, it's still evident that this is one area where Wynn's places shine. All the Roger Thomas deliciousness could neither make up for a fail in that department, nor give the place its consistently high ratings on its own.

@JohnD, Mandarin cannot be considered in the same boat as Aria, which was the focus of this post. (What MissMonkay said.)

@detroit, double ditto to that!!

@moto you are on the money. the major impetus of the "artistry of aria" piece was to essentially state that it is possible to have a great time at aria. as of yet, we haven't posted a review of the hotel experience as i wanted to drive it twice before doing so.

For the hiring for Aria, I have to believe that part of the problem is the fact that when these companies open their new places in some cases they over hire. With the economy the way it is and no other jobs around if you wind up being one of the ones laid off, I have to believe even if most believe this eventually winds up as a top 5 joint, I have to imagine there is a fairly large % that aren't leaving their jobs if they are in a Top 15 or Top 20 spot.

Too bad though they've gotten off to a rough start though. I imagine some of it will smooth out, but they definitely sound like they have some work to do.

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