"Lesson: you get what you pay for in America, especially in Vegas, which specializes in new and innovative ways to screw you ten ways to Pahrump."
That is what James Marshall Crotty took away from a recent stay on the Strip, that and something about Aria being run by "shysters" prone to "pure obsequious evil." His review for the Huffington Post, which went live on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, was not so thankful. It was full of other stuff, like outrage.
Crotty, as he calls himself, has a substantial résumé in the media realm, having founded/edited/published a magazine, contributed to major news outlets and written books, among other distinctions. A couple of those books are city travel guides, and the "seasoned travel writer" opened his piece with a warning not to stay at "rip-off" Aria, followed by a rhetorical question about why he would say "such a nasty thing." Boy does he answer.
While his chief complaint appears to be fees (i.e. the resort fee that covers wireless Internet and access to the pool and gym; the facility fee for spa access; the $20 fee for a "stupid little mini-fridge") that were not communicated during booking, he also takes issue with a host of other aspects of his experience. The pool and gym aren't open 24/7; his room has neither coffee maker nor mugs; the cleaning crew is talking too loudly next door; the buffet is closed for "repairs" during his visit. And the icing on the proverbial cake? When Crotty calls to complain, "the half-human operators robotically say, 'my pleasure' with every request, however mundane."
Of course, we can sympathize with many of his frustrations (fees suck; sometimes you want to work out at midnight; no coffee?!), but by the time we get to him critiquing the Aria's art collection, it's hard not to feel like he's crossed the line from honest criticism to all-out whine. To his credit, Crotty responded to nearly all of the comments posted on the article, even offering his own plan to remake Aria (Step 3: "Kill the noisy slots") and summing things up thusly: "What's missing in Vegas are true cultural innovators. It's just all watered down for the dumb-ass masses now. They might have money, but they sure as heck don't know quality."
Given that statement, we can't imagine he'll be coming back to town anytime soon. But should he visit again, we've got a great idea of where he could find culture and quality in Las Vegas ... Just pick up a copy of Las Vegas Weekly, Crotty. We're here to help. In fact, it's our pleasure.