Saturday, April 24, 2010

Walkaround: Bellagio, CityCenter (Aria, Jean Philippe Patisserie)- Las Vegas

So after going to the VIP lounge and taking pictures of our room, my companions decided to take a walk to see what Aria really was like as the VIP person told us to do. We knew Bellagio already- would Aria meet our expectations to just stay there for one night?

Jean Philippe Patiserrie Bellagio Chocolate Fountain

On our way to the tram though, we stopped by at the Jean Philippe Patisserie at the Bellagio just to look around. Plus, people were taking pictures and video of this: the largest chocolate fountain/waterfall in the world. I took a picture with this five years ago. Five years later, still no change. White chocolate, dark chocolate, and a mix of the white and dark chocolate still flow down from the top to the bottom, aided by glass pieces. Just this time, I was the one taking the picture and not my companion!

Jean Philippe Patiserrie Bellagio Chocolate Fountain Bottom Up View

Here is another crazy picture that I took. But due to the lighting, all the chocolate looks blackish. And you can see me in the picture too although I blurred myself and the employees out.

We then arrived at the tram area and I was only getting more tired with more of a headache. But I wanted to see more! Bad and good. Because, what did a lady say to her husband with a small child? "I can't move faster since I'm waiting for this tortoise to move forward."

She thought I couldn't hear, but of course I could hear her! I love to observe people and listen to other people's conversations (here, here) when I'm not talking. And my hearing ability is better compared to the people who my age that pump their earphones so high in volume I can hear from 20 feet away.

Mean comments make people unhappy in any situation, whether it be school, work, or vacation. The lady was just rushing to go back to the Monte Carlo via tram and did not want to wait a few more minutes for the next tram to come, and didn't want to walk around me either. However, we all struck lucky as the tram didn't leave anyway. It's kind of like at the situation where you see a car rush and then get a red light, while you are driving slowly to what you know will be a red light. She rushed. I relaxed with a headache and 101 degree fever. We got the same result! It always makes anyone happy to see that especially when they are the relaxed person.

Besides, relax. You're on vacation. Vacation= relax, not rush! Maybe that is why people want to go to places like Pelican Hill. They can't relax in a busy area. They can only relax in a secluded, comforting area. Places like Las Vegas don't make them relax.

Crystals Mall

So, we entered Crystals after a graceful tram ride. Not the best way to get into Aria, as walking through the path to Vdara and then cutting through to Aria's main port cochere is the better way. I should have listened to Protocol Snow! Protocol Snow also has more photos of Crystals too. I don't. This was the only photo I took. Wasn't feeling any better to take pictures of anything, but the view was interesting, if a bit filled with too much white and angular points throughout the mall.

We passed through the bluish glass area you see in the above photo to get to Aria, which involved passing through a nice reflecting pool. A child said "Ni hao" or "Hi" in Chinese to us and everyone else. How nice!

And we entered Aria. If you love contrast, this entrance is perfect for you. Crystals is white. Aria is black. Wood signs become black signs with white text. Walls are black/chocolate brown. The lighting is dim but doesn't make you feel like you're in a pitch black area. Yet, all around you, it is all black.

And yes, we did pass by Maya Lin's sculpture. Not feeling to take any photos, I didn't take any. (Should I even be writing this article where I was all dizzy and tired?) And we entered the dark casino which I just described in the last paragraph for you. Mood goes worse and worse. We left Bellagio happy, but now it was more of annoyance/ go back to room/ unhappy mood.

Which is exactly why we decided not to stay at Aria. Dark, stark, cold feeling. How do you feel welcome? You can use dark colors like Wynn does but still feel very welcome in their casino. Aria? Not really. And no wonder why there were just a handful of people gambling. Who wants to gamble in a dark area anyway? All the high end places offer bright casinos, if you haven't noticed yet (e.g. Palazzo, Wynn, Encore all do).

Chocolate Flowers Display Jean Philippe Patiserrie Aria

There were some bright spots in the casino which we were attracted to. One was Jean Philippe Patisserie. Instead of the chocolate fountain, chocolate flowers were the key at Aria!

Red Egg at Jean Philippe Patisserie- Aria

Purple Egg at Jean Philippe Patisserie- Aria

For decoration, there were some eggs placed for display only.

Chocolate Sculpture at Jean Philippe Patisserie- Aria

And a chocolate sculpture with chocolate confections and marshmallows placed next to it was also part of the decoration scheme.

Jean Philippe Patiserrie Aria Store

If you like a different view, here it is. The man you see looking at the products was actually taking pictures, just like me.

Jean Philippe Patiserrie Breads Aria

Sandwiches at Jean Philipppe Patisserie Aria

But of course, other than crepes, confections, and ice cream, there was more at Jean Philippe Patisserie. Like sandwiches, which people were bringing in to the Bellagio with the plastic boxes you see in the photo.

Jean Philippe Patiserrie Desserts Aria

There were also plenty of desserts to choose from. Didn't try any but they all looked nice.

Pastries at Jean Philipppe Patisserie Aria

And you know the pastries? They were actually made by machine. Kind of expected so. But the video showing how they made them confirmed my thoughts.

123 Chill Aria

Finished looking at Jean Philippe Patisserie, we decided to go upstairs to see what was available. Besides, it was finally BRIGHT! The second floor housed the buffet, which sadly had no people, and several restaurants. We wanted to eat at Aria but decided Bellagio would be better. Walking towards where we started off, we walked by 123 Chill, an interesting ice cream place. My companions wanted to buy ice cream to make me happier but I declined. Why eat ice cream here when there is Amore Patisserie at the Mandarin Oriental to visit? (no report on that)

Aria Porte Cochere

And somehow, we found our way out of Aria. Back to the Bellagio!

Art at CityCenter

There was plenty of art still to see and here was one of them.

Art at Vdara

This was near Vdara.

Aria

And before we walked back to the hotel (not taking the tram this time!), I took a picture of Aria's back...

Vdara

And Vdara. We walked through Vdara (through a dim walkway), and walked through the cold walkway and back into the Bellagio we were! Headache just got worse.

Waterfall at Sensi Bellagio Las Vegas

To end the post, how about a photo of the waterfall at Sensi at Bellagio? It is a simple but elegant water feature that attracts kids. It's fun blowing on water, after all.

Next in the series? Noodles (Bellagio)- Las Vegas. The fast dinner choice since it was quite obvious my fever was coming back again after not taking Tylenol for 4 hours.

As for CityCenter, my dining companions visited later again and shopped around Crystals but didn't return with anything. It will be a nice high end mall to shop in when everything opens! We all agree on one thing though- it is very modern. Aria doesn't feel exactly welcoming, but the Vdara does a better job. CityCenter isn't complete yet, so hopefully the Harmon and the Veer towers changes our opinion of the property. I never returned to CityCenter so this was it for me.


This trip series posts are listed in order below:
Driving Scenes: CA-Las Vegas, Spring 2010
VIP Lounge at Bellagio Las Vegas and Check In
Bellagio Review 2010: Penthouse Suite on the 35th Floor
Bellagio Review 2010: Tower Deluxe Queen Room on the 35th Floor (Room Connector)
Walkaround: Bellagio, CityCenter (Aria, Jean Philippe Patisserie)- Las Vegas
Noodles (Bellagio)- Las Vegas
Fountains of Bellagio- Las Vegas
Pho Vietnam & Capital Seafood- Las Vegas
Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (Spring)/ Check In Area- Las Vegas
Aureole- Las Vegas (Mandalay Bay)
The Buffet (Bellagio)- Las Vegas
Las Vegas Spring 2010 Trip Day 3: Caesars Palace Forum Shops and Driving Scenes: Las Vegas to LA

7 comments:

Protocol Snow said...

Nice trip report. I barely took any photos inside Aria. Like you said, it's very dark inside. I felt it was very "cold" in the impersonal sense. Not very inviting.

Ben and Suanne said...

Vegas has changed so much since we last visited a couple of years ago. Can't wait to read of your next report!
Ben

EatTravelEat said...

Protocol Snow,
Thanks! I too felt cold in Aria and that was definitely the reason why we didn't change our reservations at Bellagio.

Ben,
Yup! Although after CityCenter, there isn't going to be any more big changes on the strip other than condos and the Cosmopolitan. Maybe Echelon if they resume construction but that's it.

Dave said...

I see a simple blur of the face wasn't enough this time. =)

EatTravelEat said...

Dave,
You mean the drawing? Well, it would be quite obvious it was him even if I blurred it. So I drew a picture like I do with other employees :).

elmomonster said...

sorry you weren't feeling good, but I agree with Ben and Suanne: Vegas has changed so much!

EatTravelEat said...

Elmomonster,
Vegas has changed quite a bit just with CityCenter. It just feels so different now with CityCenter almost done and the fencing out! And negatively, there's a lot more inappropriate for kids content going all over the strip. Yuck!