I know a hot tub review won’t be a best-seller. But there are stories about men who die, get a glimpse of heaven, and come back. And this is one of those stories.
I’m not going to tease this out on whether this spa I just went to in Vegas was the best one of all-time.
It was and I’m here to tell you it wasn’t even close. I wasn’t 20 minutes into the pursuit when I knew it was a done deal. It was so good that I wondered if maybe–during all this time–I have been a small fish in a big tub. It was a humbling experience. I felt like I did when I was a kid and went over to a new friends’ house and saw his family had 12-packs of Coke in the fridge. SODA FOR DAYS. It was a whole new world, people. A new fantastic point of view.
It was the Aria Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada and it was nothing short of majestic. I was staying at the Vdara and planned to soak there but when I went to buy a Day-Pass, the woman told me they had no more spots left. I was bullshit to be honest, and wondered if I was being profiled. I didn’t look spa-material and I’m a ginger so naturally I thought maybe they had reached quota. Or maybeeee they knew who I was and were afraid of a bad review.
These things happen.
So I venture to Aria–the hotel next door—and decide I’ll give them a try. SAME FREAKING THING. “All booked up but you can call back!”
CALL BACK?! I don’t call back, you call me!
So I called back a few hours later because I was already leaving Vegas with less money and I wasn’t leaving dry. It had been months since my last soak and one could argue I was desperate. I sucked up my pride with that call but it just goes to show that good things happen to those who wait.
I take a quick tour with the-dude-who-asks -you-what-sandal-size-you-wear. I immediately know from the environment that it’s a top 5 spa. The place is immaculate and high-class and it’s just gonna come down to the basics from this point on. And then he shows me this other room. “The meditation rooms,” he says and I wonder what other mysteries I have been missing in life.
Sandal-man tells me it’s “nudity optional” which brings on a Kabuki Spa trigger like you read about. So many dicks that day, I think, but I really focus on the “optional” and pray for better days. I text my buddy to come because it’s unbelievable, but later learn he got denied like I was earlier. I feel a littttllllle bit bad but also a littttlllleeee bit smug. See, I was on the inside now. I was saved. Spa-life is a lot like immigration. You feel real slighted when you’re on the outside but once you’re “in”–welp, sucks for you dude. I mean, of course I don’t think that way–no way, Jose!–but not everybody is so refined.
I start with the hot tub because I’m a traditionalist. There are four square hot tubs in the middle of a large room. My soak-experience tells me at least one of those tubs is the “cold” tub. I get into Tub #1 and we’re off. The temperature isn’t my preferred 104 but that’s understandable. For a place of relaxation, 104 isn’t exactly common practice. I don’t hold it against them and get in a good 20 minute soak. No dicks observed.
I then move back to the lounge. The NCAA games are on and I’m dressed to the nines in my complimentary robe. “Robe or it didn’t happen,” I like to say. I haven’t really said that but if you know a t-shirt guy, please make one up for me.
The lounge has it all. It’s huge. It has three big televisions. Couches for days. And so many snacks. TREMENDOUS SNACKS. Sure, you had your traditional spa-water and what not, but they also had exotic trail mix, fruit, and chocolate. I was hungry already–which is a rookie move. You do not want to spa on an empty stomach but I was afraid of losing my spot and getting deported like my friend. I ate roughly 15 dollars worth of snacks and felt I had already gotten my money’s worth.
Next, was the meditation room because when in Vegas. I get into the meditation room and as many of you know, I majored in the art of medisleeping: the art of meditating your way into a coma. It’s how I met Julian Edelman and an ancient practice of many zen Buddhists. The chairs were S-shaped, which was undoubtedly, a twist of fate. I snuggled my way into that S and began to meditate about whether my students ever needed to see me again.
I didn’t stay too long there. There was just too much to see! I was like that couple on Fixer Upper who say, “Oh, I love it!” and move on to the next room 4 seconds later. WHAT ELSE DO YOU HAVE FOR ME?!
I retreated back to the soak area and found my way to a special door that led to the outside. It was a balcony overlooking the Aria pool. It was symbolically perched above the Vegas peasants and my heart skipped a few beats when I saw what looked like an infinity hot tub. Yep, I think I’ll try that out.
I did try that out and it was just a question of how much better the day was going to get. Now, not to toot my own horn, but I’ve been to a few spas in my day. The spa at Atlantis. A spa in Catalina. The Omni in New Hampshire. Foxwoods. Mohegan. Just to name a few. These are no slouch spas. But this place was smashing them in the face and it was a question of how ugly it was going to get.
I moved on to the steam room and this may sound sacrilege…but I’m becoming more of a steam-guy these days. A good steam is a good day as I like to say. It was eucalyptus steam–as all spa-people know it should be–and while the steam took an overall loss to the Omni Steam at Mount Washington (still my #1 steam), it didn’t negatively affect the overall score.
No dicks observed.
I then hit the sauna which of course, cannot be recommended. That’s too much heat for your average human being but I was on a quest to provide the most intricate review possible and this means utilizing all amenities at all costs. It was a nice sauna but I’m not really a sauna guy when you give me the option of a hot tub, steam, and mysterious meditation rooms. It’s a slow burn and I’m looking to light myself on fire. Speaking of that, here is a video of me actually lighting myself on fire in high school.
I then I save the best for last. I haven’t come across anything like it before. It’s genius. It’s amazing. It’s what I’m calling The Nap Room.
I walk into this room and feel a spiritual connection. Or maybe I was just tired and liked the darkness and the melodic music. I can’t quite say for sure because five minutes later, I blacked out.
You lay on this slab of marble, in the dark, and you’re given this tiny little bamboo headrest. The best part is that the slab is HEATED. It’s like laying on an electric stove-top, people. A fucking stove-top for humans! The technological strides the spa-universe is making is unparalleled.
I was on my back for about 23 seconds wondering if my scoliosis was going to act up when I peaked over to the person to my right and saw they were in the fetal position.
That’s all you need sometimes. Just a little push in the right direction. I turned to my side, and fell into the deepest sleep humanly possible. I awoke an hour later and began to notice person after person trying to get in. They saw all the bodies, and then sadly (I presume), walked out. I should have felt bad–that my one hour nap was greedy–but I didn’t. I was profiled earlier that day and I wasn’t going to let a little bit of guilt ruin my redemption run.
I finally walked out of that heavenly room and many of you still reading are thinking this is when I went back.
Repeated the whole routine ONE MORE TIME. It was a goddamn victory tour at this point but I now had more experience. My spa-strut was more confident and I even think I pushed a guy in front of the snack area.
Those are my cashews you fucking freshman. What, you just get the tour?
The official score of Aria is a 102/104. The highest score ever recorded on this blog. I deducted one point for the hot tub temperature and one point for the guy who purposely showed me his dick.