Number of locations
|United States, Canada, Europe, Asia|
|Parent||Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide|
Aloft Hotels is a brand of hotels based in North America. Its parent company is Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, although it is referred to as "a vision of W Hotels". The concept was developed in 2005, with the first hotel opening at the Trudeau International Airport in Montreal in 2008. Aloft Hotels have since opened across North America and internationally. Most Aloft hotels are located in city centers or in close proximity to airports.
The brand is most notable for its modern architecture design style. Another characteristic of Aloft hotels is the naming of basic hotel amenities. For example, in each hotel, the swimming pool is referred to as "splash".
Aloft Hotels was conceived in 2005 by Starwood Hotels. The hotel chain already had many brands, including Sheraton, Westin, and W Hotels, but was looking to expand into a market of more contemporary hotels, which would eventually become known as boutique hotels. To reflect its relationship with Starwood Hotels, the Aloft brand was dubbed as "A Vision of W Hotels". Starwood worked with the architectural company Rockwell Group and its founder David Rockwell to come up with the design.
To generate interest in the brand before its 2008 opening, Starwood launched a virtual tour of the hotels using Second Life, whose site allows visitors to move through a typical Aloft Hotel and explore its aspects in detail. Starwood monitored statistics from the site, gauged public reception based upon visitors' opinions, and incorporated this information into the design of future Aloft Hotels.
Aloft Hotels emphasize the local community, such as by highlighting local musicians at the w xyz bar, and holding Facebook contests to find the best local musicians.
Aloft Hotels strive for a lowered environmental impact. An example is the Aloft Milwaukee Downtown, where outdoor landscaping was done to try to give a fresh, green image on the outside of the hotel. On the inside, engineers used natural wood treatments and materials such as cork to reduce negative effects on the environment. Guest rooms have soap dispensers in the shower instead of bottles, and the option to keep towels for multiple uses. Parking spots are designated specifically for hybrid vehicles, encouraging guests to make environmentally responsible choices.
Since its first hotel opened in 2008, the Aloft brand has grown rapidly. The hotel originally started in North America and expanded to include international locations. According to the Aloft website, in the United States there are current or planned locations in 24 states. In addition to its locations in the United States, there are currently locations in Canada, China, India, Belgium, and the United Arab Emirates. In 2011 and 2012, 20 proposed locations were to open, including in Mexico, Thailand, Colombia, and England, for a total of 66 Aloft locations. While positive for the hotel brand, this number falls well short of an original anticipation to have 500 locations by 2012.
In early 2013, the brand opened a 482-room property in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, making it the largest Aloft hotel in the world. The hotel includes a ballroom that can accommodate up to 1,000 people in a theatre setting.
Aloft Hotels has opened some locations in areas that have shown low growth in recent times, helping to revitalize struggling urban areas. For instance, the Aloft location opened in downtown Milwaukee in December 2009 was the first new hotel built in Milwaukee since 2001. The hotel opened in Harlem, New York in December 2010 was the first hotel opened there in 40 years.
Public reception of Aloft Hotels has been mixed. The majority of opinions revolve around the two main aspects of the hotel brand: low room prices, and the contemporary style. Aloft Hotels grew quickly, not only in number of locations, but in customer satisfaction. In July 2010 Aloft Hotels ranked on the J. D. Power and Associates list.
The trademark culture of Aloft Hotels has also drawn some criticism. The contemporary theme of Aloft Hotels is not appreciated by everyone, and some critics feel the Aloft Hotels have too much of a "cookie cutter" feel to them. In addition, the barrage of colors, shapes, and lingo from the first moment in the hotel has been noted as simply too much for some to handle.
- aloft Montreal Airport Opens, Making Global Lifestyle Debut. BusinessWire.com, June 5, 2008, Accessed November 8, 2010.
- Alofthotels.com. Accessed November 8, 2010.
- Starwood Hotels Explore Second Life First. Jana, Reena. Bloomberg Businessweek, August 23, 2010, Accessed November 8, 2010.
- Aloft, Indigo hotel brands rank up with established chains. Archived URL. De Lollis, Barbara. USA Today, July 29, 2010, Accessed November 8, 2010.
- Aloft Hotel Opens At West Broad Village: A Photo Tour. Dickerson, Trevor. Downtown Short Pump, August 6, 2009, Accessed December 5, 2010.
- "Aloft opens its largest property in Malaysia". TTGmice. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
- The adrift Aloft Hotel. Schumacher, Mary Louise. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, January 12, 2010, Accessed November 9, 2010.
- Casting Call (Smile!) for a New Hotel in Harlem. Cardwell, Diane. The New York Times, June 23, 2010, Accessed November 8, 2010.