Sep192011

Starwood’s trendy Aloft brand opens 50th Hotel

Starwood Hotels launched Aloft in 2008 with the opening of its first hotel in June 2008 – Aloft Montreal Airport. The brand offering promised to deliver guests W Hotel style at a budget rate. Style on a budget means compromise and the location of Aloft Hotels are the primary compromise with the brand focused on locations in business parks, airports, and other areas where demand and price point match better than trying to place a limited-service hotel in a high-priced urban location.

The first Aloft to open in the US was June 19, 2008 with Aloft Ontario-Rancho Cucamonga at a business park off Interstate 10 in southern California near the Ontario Airport and Ontario Motor Speedway (aside: I am remembering 1978 California Jam II at Ontario Motor Speedway and a laser light show in the evening March skies across the San Gabriel Valley while Foreigner played at dusk. Ted Nugent was the headliner, but Santana was the highlight of the day for this attendee in the mass of 300,000+ people. And look who is still around making great music today – Carlos.)

My first hotel stay at the Aloft brand was in November 2008 at the Aloft Portland Airport (PDX) at Cascade Station. I missed Missy Higgins playing in the Aloft Hotel lobby by one night. My review of the hotel still stands as a basic description with photos of what guests will find at any Aloft Hotel. This hotel brand is so uniform that I am fond of stating a guest needs to look out the window to remember where they are located. In the past three years I have also been to Aloft Denver Airport and Aloft National Harbor, Maryland.

The first hotel conversion project for an Aloft is underway at the former Clarion Hotel San Francisco Airport. That was the hotel where I originally started working the concept of understanding hotel loyalty programs in 1990 and the adjacent Westin Hotel was where I first earned elite status in Westin Premier in 1991.

When Aloft made its debut in China in November 2008 there were forward looking statements by Starwood corporate claiming 500 Aloft Hotels would open worldwide by 2013. The Aloft brand is 10% of the way to that goal, but the forecast is now for 70 Aloft Hotels worldwide by 2013.

The recent press releases from the past week herald the opening of the 50th Aloft Hotel worldwide.  Aloft Hotels currently show 52 hotels open with the following hotels being the newest brand members.

The most recent openings highlight the fact that 12 of 27 Aloft Hotels in the pipeline are developments in Asia-Pacific region.

Other hotels scheduled to open in the next year include:

Aloft Hotels are places of vibrant colors and fun game activities centered around a lobby bar. I think these are great places for business travelers who want a social atmosphere and a place that invites interaction.

Aloft Portland Airport PDX at Cascade Station

Personally I find the rooms a bit too cramped for more than one person. But that is just my opinion. When the price is right and the promotions are good I will stay at Aloft Hotels. For a similar price point in similar locations I prefer the rooms at Hyatt Place Hotels. Aloft Hotels are where I would prefer to hang out if bored and wanting some human contact. The Aloft lobby is set up for meeting people.

Aloft National Harbor, Maryland

Related Loyalty Traveler Hotel Review: November 8, 2008 – Aloft Portland Airport at Cascade Station.

 

 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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