Hotel Reviews

Vdara Resort and Spa: Review

Vdara is an odd resort. Most know it’s there, sitting back from the Strip as Aria’s sister property, but it’s lack of gaming and ban on smoking keeps non-guests away. It has the design and amenities of a high-end resort, but is priced as an upper mid-tier property. I stayed at Vdara recently and found a ton of value out of a resort I once considered as an afterthought.

I was in Vegas celebrating my friend’s remaining days of bachelorhood. The bachelor was in the mood for a place with a little class-  wanting something other than the low-end hotels where young, single men typically lay their heads. Aria and Cosmo were early favorites. Both are center Strip, a must for the party, and each had pleased travelers in our group in the past. Despite our proclivities for something a little more grand, budgets still needed to be considered.

I threw out the idea of staying at Vdara, a place I’d never actually set foot in. My reasoning? Vdara’s rooms were seemingly as nice as Aria’s, a bit bigger in size, and priced much lower. Sometimes the cost difference between the two is a few dollars, but typically find around a 20% disparity. The group agreed to do what was best for them. Some chose Cosmo. I don’t blame them. Most settled in at Vdara.

All told, including the resort fee, Tony, my short-term roommate, shelled out a little over $200 a night for the Vdara Suite, but this included at $150 food and beverage credit which could also be used at Aria. This nightly rate was about $30 more than their basic Studio Suite, but it got us over 200 sq ft of extra space, separated sleeping quarters, an extra bathroom, and a washer and dryer.

If you’re having an extended stay in Vegas, an in-room washer and dryer could save you from checked luggage fees. Plus, the full-size fridge in the Vdara Suite is great for storing, well, things that you might want to put in there. Studio suites have a fridge as well, but it’s a mini that sits under the kitchen counter. Oh yeah, we basically had a full kitchen. We didn’t use it all, but it may have been nice to nuke up some Ramen if our budgets were obliterated early. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

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Full-sized fridge for soda and stuff.

The room design isn’t awe-inspiring; it has the condo-like feel I was expecting. Theme junkies will want to stay away. It was, however, nice, comfortable, and clean. The bathroom was gorgeous and spacious. The oversized soaking tub went unused during my stay, unless Tony did some surreptitious soaking, but it made the space feel luxurious.

Sit or stand bathing preferences.

Sit or stand bathing preferences.

What I most appreciated about the suite was separated spaces. It made afternoon Vegas naps far more comfortable. With each room having its own TV and bathroom, the suite accommodates pairs with different sleep patterns. The living room couch converts into a queen bed if necessary. Tony found that it was more comfortable to him to just sleep on it when it was still in couch mode. The bed in the bedroom was unmemorable, which is probably a good thing.

Where the magic happens. By magic, I mean a mild man-snore.

Where the magic happens. By magic, I mean a mild man-snore.

All told, we didn’t spend much time in the room, spare for standard slumbers and a couple naps. The bachelor’s suite acted as a sizeable space for some pregame action. Typically, though, we met at Vdara’s lobby bar, Vice Versa. It’s where Tony and I spent a good chunk of our F&B credit. The service and cocktails were quite good, though as pricey as you’d expect. We ate at the casual eatery, Marketplace Cafe, on multiple mornings. For a simple and quick breakfast, it works.

Artisanal flour discs with maple reduction.

Artisanal flour discs with maple reduction.

This is my first resort review in which I don’t get to talk about the casino. The lack of gaming was actually refreshing. I found that it actually helped me wind down at the end of the night, being able to avoid a cacophony of slots machines through a smokeless lobby. For the gambling inclined, it’s a less than 5 minute walk to Bellagio, Aria, and Cosmo. Bellagio is connected via a walkway. A quick walk across the valet will get you to Aria. To get to the Cosmo, you just have to head outside towards the Strip, around to an almost hidden staircase, then walk through Cosmo’s valet. It was nowhere near as problematic as I thought it would be.

Vdara isn’t a property all will enjoy, but if you’re a visitor on an extended stay looking for a nice, but inexpensive home base, it’s worth considering. Harcore gamblers, smokers, and theme junkies may not appreciate it, but budget travelers looking for an upscale would likely appreciate the experience.