Edgy and sublime

The Aria Spa at Aria Resort (

Located in CityCenter, the largest complex of its kind in North America, The Aria Resort & Spa is packed with bells, whistles and guest amenities. 

It’s not just the 15 restaurants, multiple pools, various entertainment areas, and Aria’s 80,000 sq ft spa, we’re talking being part of a 67-acre development that even has its own rapid transit system. Hence, you can skip easily between the Ice Bar at the Monte Carlo, to the water-fountain spectacular at the Bellagio.  And en route you can shop like the high rollers.  City-Center’s designer-only mall is exclusively for top-branded names such as Stella McCartney, Louis Vuitton (the largest store in the USA) and Porsche.

The spa is on two levels. Thankfully, the lower level is where the hubbub is, comprising a massive full-service salon, a busy fitness center, poolside spa cabanas and a large retail area.  Take the elevator upstairs and the atmosphere changes dramatically.

Here, the décor is dark moody with shades of 70’s style browns and beiges, as well as a transition lounge with large screen TV.  I’m not a fan of TVs in spa environments claiming total R&R but others enjoy the distraction. I realize that the spa is striving for an ambiance of earthy, indigenous and warmth but other than the flickering screen, and a bowl of red and green apples adding a flash of color to the scene, the low lighting leaves you with an overall impression that’s somewhat drab and dated.
Stay with it, though, because the spa does offer some interesting elements to complement a good range of services provided by well-trained practitioners.  It has a brighter hot-pool area (unisex, clothing optional), and a balcony infinity pool overlooking the pool-deck below, and other areas. 

My two favorites are: 

The Shio Salt Room features a wall of illuminated salt bricks that encourage the healing of skin irritations and upper respiratory problems.  Lounge chairs can vibrate in rhythm to sensual music (made all the more so if you don the headphones), while salt-lamps and salt-infused air promote radiant and dewy skin.

The Ganbanyoku Stone Bed room is the only one in the country to offer Japanese stone beds.  During a ganbanyoku treatment, you relax upon a bed of heated black mineral stone that emits negative ions and far-infrared rays.  In addition to soothing muscles, the treatment helps improve blood circulation, increases metabolism and eliminates toxins from the body.

Recommend: Shiatsu was among the first non-traditional therapies to come to the spa world and over the years, fell out of favor to more exotic treatments from various parts of the world.  Consequently, finding a great Shiatsu practitioner is just that, a real find.  In my experience, the relaxation results of simply one session of quality Shiatsu can sideline those of a regular massage.

Tip: Check out the very understated Vdara Spa next door – organic and more intimate in its approach. Love the Akhassa product line from Thailand.

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