Aria Hotel and Casino Las Vegas City Center
3730 LAS VEGAS BLVD
While most families celebrate Christmas day at home opening gifts near the Christmas Tree, our family has a more nontraditional way to celebrate: Vegas. After my parents retired and bought their vacation home in Vancouver – Christmas is now celebrated in Vegas, Vancouver and San Diego on a rotating basis. Who needs a tree, Santa stockings under a fireplace mantel, and a Christmas Turkey dinner when you can have the excitement of slots, blackjack, clubbing and 24 hour beers with $4.99 steak N eggs specials (or a $3.99 seafood buffet that I just heard about from a local – ok maybe not)?
Ok, our family is a little weird, but we weren’t certainly alone this Christmas season. It was completely packed (with other Asian families) in Vegas for Christmas and the new hot spot was the opening of the Aria Hotel and Casino at the City Center complex (next to the Bellagio and across from Planet Hollywood). The $8.5b investment by the MGM Group broke ground in 2006 for the Aria Hotel and Casino and nearly came to a standstill this year when Dubai World pulled out as an investor. Somehow they forged ahead with the construction amid the harsh economic climate in Las Vegas due to the recession. On December 16th, the Aria Hotel and Casino opened its doors to the public. Its new sleek modern and dimly lit interiors puts the Aria Hotel in stark contrast to the opulent and over-the-top flashing neon of its neighbors on the Las Vegas Strip.
Actually I think it is kind of cool that our family celebrates Christmas in Vegas especially with the added bonus that my parents, having visited Las Vegas so frequently over the years, have this ridiculous VIP status at all the hotels. For example, we were able to cut the 3.5 hour line at the buffet at the Aria Hotel and Casino and were seated immediately. The food was decent and as expected there was a heavy selection of Chinese dishes including Peking Duck, Wonton Soup, and dim sum. The Chilean Sea Bass was probably my favorite along with the Las Vegas classic: Prime Rib.
Christmas in Vegas can be a fun experience even if you don’t gamble. My advice, grab a 52 Oz Eiffel Tower Strawberry Frozen Margarita from the Paris Casino and hit the strip. Enjoy!