Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Lofty Vision

We, in San Antonio, are flooded by tacky strip centers. You know the type. They are the ones that boast the huge chains that are too often associated with "America."

Now don't get me wrong. While I'm as big of a Target fan/shopper as the next Joe, I am NOT married to the development that occurs around most Targets. The centers feel dismal. They tend to be too big and over-developed and there is always an endless amount of concrete. It feeds into one of the things I don't like about our country: excess. And as a small business owner, it's hard to watch those kinds of things popping up all over the place.

So you can imagine my surprise when I came across something in a strip center just west of the airport that actually caught my eye: Aloft.

photo courtesy of Aloft Hotels

A Starwood property, Aloft is W Hotels sister chain that answers the call for high design and low cost. And, based on looks alone, it's pleasantly ... well, cool.

Though we weren't able to see a room - they were at 100% occupancy - we took a few shots of the lobby, bar and outside seating area. Take a look.

Like most Ws, Aloft feels contemporary, youthful and intelligent. There is a sophisticated drinking bar on one side of the lobby, and a healthy, clean snack bar on the other side. There are two seating areas and a pool table inside, and a small pool with two different seating areas outside.

In addition, it has some of the extra amenities that some of the other chains of this type lack: a small gym, wireless internet, flat screen TVs in all rooms, and "emergency" supplies like a small Etch-A-Sketch and a game of CandyLand. The best part? The price is right. Rates start at $130.

Upon entering the hotel, the staff greeted us with a friendly, "Aloha." Apparently, this is a part of their marketing strategy (it's included in some of their promotional materials). I could do without this part, but the rest felt right on. I would definitely stay here.

Alofts are popping up all over the place (a second one in downtown San Antonio is scheduled to open in April 2011) and it looks like they are expanding all over the world - and fast. This is going to be an interesting development to watch.

Pictures above are of Aloft San Antonio Airport: 838 NW Loop 410 San Antonio, TX 78216 (210) 541-8881

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