Aloft Hotels is a hotel chain based in North america, owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (which was acquired by Marriott International in October 2016), although it is referred to as 'a vision of West Hotels'. The first hotel opened 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 West 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 West 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 West 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 locations in 27 states. There are also open locations in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, England, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
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 was 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.
In 2013, the chain opened a new hotel at the Ernst & Young Tower in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 2017 and 2018 Aloft is slated to open properties in Kiev and St. Petersburg, Russia, respectively.
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. The first Aloft hotel opened in the Perth suburb of Rivervale on May 26, 2017.
Public reception of Aloft Hotels has been mixed. The majority of opinions revolve around the two main aspects of the hotel brand: room prices, and the contemporary style.
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.