7 Things Families Should Know About Aloft Hotels

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I just spent a night at the Aloft Dallas Downtown, and since the number of Aloft properties around the world is only increasing (and at a rapid rate), I thought this was a good time to highlight a few things that families should know about Aloft when deciding if it is the right type of hotel for them.

 

Aloft is Often a Good Value on Points

The Aloft brand isn’t a perfect match for families as it was designed for Millennial travelers as opposed to those with several kids along for the ride, but I’m covering them anyway because they can be a good value on points. This is in part because they are a lower frills brand in the Starwood family, but also because their locations are sometimes a bit more suburban. That said, they are expanding into more urban areas, like the Aloft Dallas Downtown where I stayed last night, so they aren’t only located near airports or on the outskirts of town.

To stick with the Dallas example, the Westin Dallas Downtown is 16,000 points per night this week and the Aloft Dallas Downtown is 10,000 points. You will see that trend hold up in many locations where the Aloft will be a tick or two lower on the award chart than the nearby Westin or W Hotels. If you are paying with cash, it is also often a good value as well with a worldwide average daily rate of $136.39.

Alofts are Funky…In a Good Way

Alofts are not only lower on the cost scale than some other SPG hotels, but it isn’t because they are tired, dark, and dingy. Not to say that all Sheratons meet that description, but while you will often find a Sheraton hotel at a lower price point in the SPG family, it may be a slightly more tired style and layout than what Aloft brings to the table. Not all Aloft Hotels are new-builds, but many of them have been newly built in the last few years.

The typical Aloft has a very bare-bones industrial style, but with bright colors and hotel-specific lingo splashed everywhere. To put it another way, it is kind of like IKEA meets Chipotle. If you are traveling with little kids, I have to imagine that the bright colors will be fun for them.

Aloft Showers Feel Like a Dorm

The shower is where I get a little wary of Aloft. I’m obviously a grown-up and am fine taking a shower instead of a bath, in fact, I prefer it, but I still don’t like the Aloft showers. They always feel like a dorm-style shower, and for me, that isn’t a good thing.

Industrial bathroom with bad lighting

Part of it is the industrial styling and part of it is simply the in-shower soap dispensers they opted for over offering travel sized shampoos and soaps. I am sure that decision is better for the environment and overall cost savings, but it just does not vibe well with me at all. I have read too many horror stories of other things being added to soap dispensers than to feel comfortable slathering that blue-ish gel everywhere.

Of course, the fact that these properties largely do not have bathtubs also means that you will have to get creative when bathing the small kiddos who are used to baths.

Lots of Small Pools

On the plus side for those with little kids, many of the Aloft properties in the warmer climates do have small pools and outdoor spaces. And when I say small pools, I mean small. These are not the kind of pools where you will probably swim laps, but as long as you swim when there isn’t a happening pool party of Millenials going on, the very small and shallow Aloft pools that I have seen would be really fun for the toddler and young child crew.

Here is the Dallas Aloft pool as shown on their website that goes from extremely shallow to about three feet deep. From memory, the Aloft Austin pool is also around the same size and only a couple of feet deep.

Aloft Dallas Downtown Pool

Grab and Go Snacks and Breakfast

At an Aloft you probably aren’t going to have the option of a sit-down meal or visiting a club lounge, and instead, there is a kitchen gallery of sorts that has grab-and-go snacks and breakfast. They do usually have some hot breakfast items available in the morning, but just be aware there isn’t probably going to be a full-service restaurant available in your Aloft hotel.

Tech-Friendly Properties

Alofts are one of the SPG brands that already offer SPG Keyless access to your room, some have screens where you can order breakfast, and they are reportedly working on some more tech-friendly offerings. For one, they may offer two, large-format, HDTVs side by side so you can either watch two shows or perhaps use one as a larger screen to work on a presentation or similar. This is not something you will find in most Alofts at this point, but it is something you might see in the future.

Some Aloft properties also have a smart mirror near the desk where a standard, full-length mirror hangs. This mirror offers a live feed with weather updates that you can customize to link with your smartphone…in case that helps you out.

No Rollaway Beds

As a general rule, Alofts do not offer rollaway beds, largely because there isn’t always space for them to fit safely in the rooms. However, they do theoretically have what is called “Camp Aloft” that features a child-size air mattress and tent, which sounds super fun. The bad news is I have not read a whole bunch of positive reports on individual Aloft hotels knowing about that offering, so I would not count on that availability without talking to the property you are interested in first.

While we are on the topic of beds, the Aloft bed is not the same as the Westin Heavenly or W bed, though I generally sleep just fine in them. They are not usually hard mattresses, the pillows are plentiful, and the blackout curtains get a big thumbs-up from me.

My family has a booking at the new Aloft South Bend for next football season at a tremendous deal on points, so even though Aloft wasn’t built with families in mind, families can make the brand work as long as you know what you are in for and can prepare accordingly.

Does your family ever stay at an Aloft?

 

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. Travelling with just me and my 5 year old soon and I need to stay the night before an early morning flight out of SFO, so i just booked the airport aloft. The pool actually looks a bit larger at this property, but we shall see. The bright colors were one of the reasons I thought we would like it… And I’m not planning any fine dining necessarily either. Looking forward to trying it out!

    • Enjoy! Should be good for an airport overnight. I have to imagine some of the pools are larger than the ones I’ve seen. Hope y’all enjoy!

    • That Aloft is perfectly situated for a short 7 minute walk to the New England Lobster Company (824 Cowan Rd, Burlingame, CA 94080) for dinner! It’s even closer than walking over the freeway to In-N-Out. 😉

      My kids always get hot dogs with freshly fried potato chips while their parents gorge themselves on Manhattan Clam chowder and lobster rolls.

  2. My mother and I stayed at the Aloft New Orleans Downtown in April. It is two blocks west of Canal Street.
    It was the second stay of a Gold status challenge(two stays of any length). When I booked our room, a two queen corner room was cheaper than a two queen regular room.

    I don’t know if other Aloft hotels are like this, but the Aloft New Orleans Downtown has some rooms with no windows. Our room thankfully had windows.

    We didn’t buy breakfast, visit the bar, or go to the rooftop pool. We bought food at Rouses Market five blocks away from the hotel.

    I had a problem with the bathroom lighting. I usually leave the bathroom light on with the door slightly open so I can see where I am going in the middle of the night. There is a door for the toilet/shower area, but not the sink area. The only light is in the sink area, and it lights up the entire hotel room. My partial solution was to put the super heavy floor lamp from the bed area in the bathroom. It still lit up the room, but not as much as the bathroom light.

    Despite the lighting issue, I would still stay there again. I have a three night stay booked for January for between cruises.

  3. Stayed at aloft in chesapeake, va. in sept. 2017. terrible, fridge broken, took 2 hours to get replaced after calling 800#. Bed hard prices for food higher than resturant.NEVER AGAIN.

  4. I enjoy my stays at the aloft in Harlem NYC. The staff is friendly and accommodating. The rooms fit my needs, and the food voucher that’s offered is nice. It’s a Great place to stay!

  5. I just stayed at the aloft-Raleigh, NC this past weekend and completely agree with you on the showers. I’m a 30yr old millennial and the hotel definitely vibes with me, but the soap dispensers in the showers reminded me of my hostel days. I think they missed the mark in the shower, but everywhere else is fun and stylish!

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