On October 29, MGM Resorts International announced that they would be expanding the convention space at Aria during their quarterly earnings call. This information alone wasn’t all that interesting, but that changed yesterday as MGM revealed more details. The $154-million convention space expansion will create an additional 200,000 square feet of technologically advanced, flexible meeting space across four stories.
The highlights of the new convention spaces will be the indoor/open-air spaces and a glass-enclosed venue with views of The Park and spectacular new Las Vegas Arena that’s currently being built behind New York-New York. Construction on the convention space is scheduled to begin in May 2016 with anticipated completion in February 2018.
The news that’s useful to more people here is that the new convention area will take over the space currently occupied by Cirque du Soleil’s production of Zarkana, which will close April 30, 2016. There are no plans for the show moving forward and there are no plans to build a new theater at Aria.
This is an exclamation point on a busy year of changes to Aria. On December 28, “Top Chef” alumnus Brian Malarkey will open Herringbone Las Vegas, an ocean-to-table restaurant. In addition to fresh seafood Herringbone Las Vegas will offer lounge-style dining with tableside cocktail service and live music.
New York City import, Carbone, open recently to rave reviews. The Italian-American restaurant pays homage to similar restaurants from the mid-20th century. The decor is beautiful and Carbone is a modern throwback which exudes the glamour, showmanship and tableside service you think about with this period.
Earlier this year celebrity (and great) chef Michael Mina opened Bardot Brasserie at Aria. His take on French cuisine has been well received with a nearly perfect rating on Yelp. The menu features French comfort food and a wide variety of wine and beer. The happy hour beer specials are some of the best you’ll find anywhere on the Vegas Strip.
Aria always seems to be busy and the new bar and lounge, Alibi, seems to have become an epicenter of the casino. You can visit the bar to just grab a beer and play video poker or you can relax in the lounge with high-end craft cocktails. Alibi has something for everyone and is easily accessible in the center of the casino floor. Since it doesn’t close Alibi makes for the perfect meeting place.
Aria has also improved their hotel room product with the Tower Suites and Tower Suites Lounge. The Tower Suites are another level of luxury at Aria with a VIP lounge, separate entrance, priority taxi line access, turn-down service and more. Some suites even come with complimentary limo transportation.
The changes may be complete for 2015, but they’re not done. Next year a new nightclub called Jewel will open in the space formerly occupied by Haze nightclub. This will be the newest club in Las Vegas from Hakkasan Group who have brought you Omnia at Caesars Palace and Hakkasan at MGM Grand.
Aria is only 6 years old but has undergone a major makeover this year. When Aria first opened I had some bad luck at the tables and swore the property off. That will have to change after a fabulous visit recently and the actualization of all of these updates and upgrades. I’ll see you soon Aria.
Photo: Aria/MGM Resorts