Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Since launching last June, 25 Aloft properties have been built, with at least 15 more slated to open by year's end. The new Starwood brand is sprinkled around the country -- and beyond -- with an impressive showing in the mid-Atlantic region. Nearby destinations include Chesapeake, Va., Ashburn/Dulles, Washington National Harbor and Hanover. By December, Linthicum/BWI Marshall; Mount Laurel, N.J.; and Winchester, Va., will join the list.
Rates differ according to the property and date, but most fall in the low-$100 range. At the Aloft Philadelphia Airport, for example, a 285-square-foot room with a king-size bed starts at $89.
The style and substance don't vary much. Each hotel has the same lobby features: a check-in/check-out kiosk; W XYZ bar serving specialty cocktails (cucumber Collins, pineapple-chipotle margarita); a pool table and board games; and special events in the Re:Mix lounge. There is also an indoor pool (called Splash), a fitness center (named Re:Charge) and free WiFi hotel-wide. There's also free shuttle service within a set radius; in Hanover, for example, the van services the Arundel Mills mall and BWI airport.
The guest rooms are simple yet sleek, with a 42-inch flat-screen TV, a connectivity station, Bliss spa toiletries, a mini-fridge, hot beverage fixings, a retro alarm clock and magazines (e.g., the New Yorker, Dwell, Wired).
The 24-hour Re:Fuel pantry in the lobby offers all kinds of nibbles, including Caesar salad, turkey roll and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Prices are moderate: $7.50 for a sandwich, $5 for a salad, $2 for a cookie. Depending on the location, you can also dine at other Starwood property restaurants and charge the meal to your room. In Hanover, Aloft guests can shop in the higher-end pantry at Element, Starwood's new extended-stay brand. W XYZ also serves a small bar menu. Plates include tater tots with dipping sauces ($5), vegetable or chicken spring rolls ($7-$8) and a pulled pork burrito ($7).
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