Last month in August, I got to experience the Aloft brand for the first time during two separate occasions. My first stay was at the Aloft Lexington while I was up in Swampscott, MA working, and the second stay was a few weekends ago at the Aloft Philadelphia Airport in order for Kevin to receive his 2,000 bonus points through SPG’s targeted “Bonus Beginnings” promotion (related post).
For those who are unfamiliar with the Aloft brand, it’s Starwood’s fairly-new chain that is what I’d call a “budget-friendly” version of the their trendy W brand hotels, featuring hip and modern rooms with elements of the W vision spread throughout. I personally really enjoy the W brand since I love young, hip, and modern decor, so I was eager to give the Aloft brand a spin. You can scroll down for my reviews/photos of the two properties I stayed at below.
One thing I noticed at both locations was the option to make a green choice – by declining cleaning service during your stay. As a reward, the property was offering either a $5 credit or 250 Starpoints. Naturally, I value the points more than the $5 room credit, so I opted for that. I really love hotels that offer points or some kind of reward for opting to help conserve, and I have seen this “go-green-for-points” effort at select SPG properties in the U.S. Back in March, I was awarded 500 Starpoints for declining cleaning at The Nines in Portland. OK, enough about me – do you make an effort to participate in similar “make a green choice” promotions in exchange for an incentive, such as bonus points?
Back in the beginning of August, when I spent a few weeks hotel-hopping in the greater Boston area, I used cash and points (2,800 SPG points + $45) for a one night stay at this property. I arrived at the hotel at around 10 pm after a long 13-hour work day, so I was happy that check in was quick and painless. When I entered the lobby, or I should say “living room”, I definitely saw major components of the W in the decor and atmosphere, as it was very modern, trendy, hip, and inviting with its open floor plan.
I was given a king room on the first floor that was pretty basic, but clean, quiet, and comfortable, featuring a large flat-screen TV, a work desk, and a spacious bathroom. Just like the W brands, the bathroom was stocked with Bliss products, but the shampoo and bodywash were in fixed wall dispensers inside the shower. I understand that they do that as a way to be “green”, but honestly it made me feel like I was showering at a community facility, such as a gym, instead of at a hotel. Other than that, there really were not any issues with my stay, and I was able to get a good night’s sleep.
Hotel Review: Aloft Philadelphia Aiport
A few weekends ago, Kevin and I had a work and play weekend in Philadelphia. As I was looking for a place to stay, a little birdie reminded me that the Bonus Beginnings promotion that Kevin’s SPG account was targeted for was coming to an end, which would allow
him us to earn an additional 2,000 bonus Starpoints with any stay. Naturally, I generally try to consolidate all of our hotel stays under my account so that they count towards elite-status qualification, but of course it was worth sacrificing that element for the 2,000 bonus points. I was able to book the room at a great $101 rate with AAA.
The location of this hotel is not so ideal. Yes, I understand it is an airport hotel, so if you’re looking for a quick place to rest and shower for a few hours then this is for you. Other than that, be prepared for total isolation… from food at least. There isn’t a restaurant inside the hotel, nor is there anything desirable to eat within a 5 mile radius, except a [really grungy-looking] Ruby Tuesday or a Chinese Buffet with horrid reviews. They also charge $7 for parking and exiting/entering the hotel lot is super annoying because the room key cards do not seem to work for anyone. All of my attempts to exit the lot with my room key left me frustrated and having to honk/use the [not-so-courtesy] phone in order to request the booth-lever-thingy (what are they actually called?) to raise so I could exit.
The hotel itself was just your average 3-star hotel experience – nothing to write home about. We were given 2 double beds, which were both oddly lumpy as you can see in the pictures below. The shower and bathroom were clean, and it was the same Bliss-products-in-wall-dispenser-amenities ordeal as the Aloft Lexington. I’m not too sure I would stay at this location again; not that it was anything terrible, but I recall staying at the adjacent Four Points by Sheraton a few years back, and from what I remember, it was a better experience. Both the Aloft and Four Points hotels go for roughly the same rate, so I’m sure you already know what I’ll be choosing next time!