Friday, July 26, 2013

Aloft a Little Late in Atlanta... Again

Before and (rendering) of after 
Aloft planning a late check in downtown.

Starwood's Aloft hotel, planned for the former Days Inn in downtown Atlanta is still opening, but is significantly delayed.  The hotel was announced in summer 2012 and was to open in spring 2013.  Now, estimates are that the hotel will open in (late) January 2014.

The aloft downtown Atlanta will open where most recently a Days Inn operated at Spring & Baker Streets.  Miramar Beach, Florida-based Banyan Investment Group, in association with Tampa-based DeBartolo Development LLC plan to pump $25 million into the aging building.  Up until a couple of months ago, the hotel was operating with no branding, simply as the "Hotel ATL." 

Whether because of extensive remodeling or the numerous terrible reviews the hotel got on travel site TripAdvisor, the hotel will reportedly remain closed for the duration of the renovation process.  

Aloft is a relatively new limited service product from Starwood Hotels.  The first property opened in 2008 near Montreal's Trudeau International Airport.  Today, there are about 60 aloft brand hotels open, with about another 60 in the pipeline. 

The chain originally announced as many as five locations in Atlanta, but thus far zero have opened.

Hotel locations or, "areas" as aloft calls them, were previously announced for Alpharetta, Buckhead, Savannah, The Millenium Center near Hartsfield-Jackson as well as a different location for the aloft downtown. 

The previously announced downtown aloft hotel was to have been near the intersection of Centennial Olympic Park Drive & Simpson Street, across the street from The World of Coca-Cola.   The hotel was planned by a partnership of Post Properties and Hal Barry of Barry Real Estate, the developer of the W Atlanta - Downtown. 

Personally, I've visited aloft hotels in Portland, Phoenix, Asheville and Denver and have overall been impressed with both their interior and amenities.  The properties I've visited, however, were all "new build," and built to be aloft properties, rather than conversions of existing hotels, like the downtown property .

Aloft is billed as  "a Vision of W Hotels" and offers some similar amenties, with fewer luxury services like an in-house spa.  The room rates are also slightly more budget friendly at aloft as they are a limited service, rather than a full service hotel.   

Aloft, as a brand, has performed well in the south with four locations already open in Florida, and four more expected to open over the next 12 months.  Aloft also has four locations open in North Carolina, with a fifth coming soon to Raleigh.  When the four additional locations open in Florida, the Sunshine State will be tied with Texas,where aloft has 7 properties, and another coming soon, as the largest aloft markets.   

Atlanta had been one of W hotels largest markets with four hotels. The first ever W Hotel opened in Dunwoody near Perimeter Mall in 1998.  This property closed last year and after a short time operating as the Atlanta Perimeter Hotel & Suites, reopened this past May as Atlanta'a first Le Meridien Hotel, another Starwood brand.  Atlanta remains home to W properties in Buckhead, midtown and downtown.  

Are you looking forward to Atlanta's first aloft hotel? Have you stayed at an aloft in any other city?  Did you enjoy it?  What is the coolest amenity or gadget you've found of use in a hotel room or in the hotel itself? Please share your thoughts below. 

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Frankly, the delay may be a good thing. The aloft in Jacksonville's southside opened in 2011 and they essentially needed extensive repairs immediately. From what I've seen/heard, the new hotel build was around $10M and the renovations are around $5M; the hotel has been shut down since January and not opening until next month (which frankly seems to be a stretch).

Anonymous said...

I stayed at the Aloft in Asheville and thought it was great and reasonably priced. The rooms were nice and the rooftop pool cabana rooms were REALLY nice!! the staff was very friendly and helpful as well.

Anonymous said...

I think the Aloft brand will bring some life to this part of downtown. The America's Mart superblocks have been such a hole in the downtown map that little development has happened around them.

Anonymous said...

Where'd you read/hear that the "first ever" W Hotel was the one in Dunwoody? The very first W Hotel opened is the New York location at 541 Lexington. Did you mean the first W Hotel in the Atlanta area? (I'd be surprised if even that is true.)

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon,

Thanks for the comment. While it is said now that the Lexington Avenue location predates the Dunwoody property, Dunwoody actually opened a few days before Lexington. This is according to a Starwood exec I spoke with at the W Midtown. New York is a bigger market and therefore they wanted NY to be the property they opened first.

Sorry for the confusion and thanks for reading.

Nicci said...

I enjoyed the Aloft in the D.C. area. The Aloft and Element Hotel themes of moderately priced luxury is something I appreciate. The Bliss products and stylish showers are what I like the most.

Bryan Johns said...

@ Atlantan 99, you are correct. The first W was the Dunwoody/Perimeter W. I work for Starwood and confirmed the W Perimeter opened 4 days before the W New York. It sounds better saying the 1st W was in New York rather than Atlanta. Atlanta had the 2nd most W Hotels behind New York for several years.

Atlantan99 said...

@Bryan,

Thanks for the support, I knew I'd heard we were first! Atlanta rocks!

Thanks for the comment and readership.