Not all new hotels are created equally. Take, for instance, the "hip, hot and happening" Aloft hotels.
Called the “tech-forward, innovation hub for millennial-minded travellers,” Aloft hotels are emerging across Canada, after a launch in Montreal, Vaughan Mills, north of Toronto, and Calgary.
This pioneering brand with its social guest experience is big on the techy elements and introduced the industry’s first robotic butler delivering amenities to guest’s rooms. Then, there’s Smart Check-in, the first mobile, keyless entry system allowing guests to use their smart phone as the key to their rooms. It’s what they like to call “forward-thinking initiatives that are part of the brand’s innovative DNA.”
Rated highly by guests for customer service, contemporary style, amenities and low room prices (from $111 a night in Toronto), the now international chain with 100 properties is part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, operator of W Hotels, Sheraton and Westin brands.
Our first experience at Aloft was in Atlanta when Ruben on the front desk offered us margaritas and a bite to eat at the buzzing mix lounge and WXYZ bar. Our “Savvy Suite” was filled with bright, funky furniture and industrial design throwbacks to groovy days gone by.
An overnight in a “Cool Corner Suite” at the new Aloft at the David Whitney in downtown Detroit was an historic treat. General manager Jeff Rieck said this “adaptive re-use project” transformed the historic 1915 building at One Park Ave. The decorative exterior elements removed in 1959 were restored along with the four-storey lobby with glass atrium.
Aloft Buffalo opened last December with 153 guest rooms and is 10 minutes from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and offers free 24-hour airport shuttles. It’s also near Walden Galleria Mall, Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo Museum of Science and First Niagara Center.
Toronto’s trendy boutique-style Aloft has 131 loft-like guest rooms near Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre, Canada’s Wonderland and Legoland Discovery Centre. The spacious guest rooms feature Aloft’s signature three-metre-high ceilings, oversized windows and an ultra-comfortable platform bed as well as large walk-in showers with Bliss Spa products.
As with all Alofts, there is fast-and-free wireless Internet access throughout the hotel and plug-and-play connectivity to connect electronic devices to the 42" flat-screen TV, turning the room into a high-tech office as well as an entertainment centre. There’s the “re:charge” fitness centre, Splash the indoor pool and “re:fuel by Aloft,” a one-stop, 24-hour gourmet grab-and-go food and beverage area.
All of the hotels offer live, free access to local emerging artists as well as some of the hottest bands with Live at Aloft events.
'YOU RANG, SIR?'
If you call for basic items such as a toothbrush, towels or snacks at Aloft Cupertino in California’s Silicon Valley, A.L.O. is on the job. This is the hotel’s first “Botlr (robotic butler)” in a pilot project with an aim to expand A.L.O. clones to all of its properties.
This charismatic cyber associate, once loaded up with the requested items, heads for the guest room, navigating the hallways and calling for the elevator using Wi-Fi. The almost metre-high robotic operative designed to assist staff is “professionally dressed in a custom shrink-wrapped, vinyl collared uniform and nametag.” Wondering about tips? A.L.O. “modestly accepts tweets as tips” as it wheels from task to task.
For more information, see alofthotels.com.