To Keep Up with Demand, Starwood Hotel’s “Style at a Steal” Brand Makes Conversions a Big Part of Expansion Plans.
A pair of Aloft hotels opening this month will have more in common than bold design and a buzzing social atmosphere; both are conversions of existing hotels, and highlight an exciting new growth channel for Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ ‘style at a steal’ brand. The Aloft brand, which provided a new alternative in the select serve segment when it launched in 2008, is turning to conversions to keep up with global demand.
“Since its 2008 debut, Aloft has introduced an affordable, design-driven hotel option, growing to more than 60 properties worldwide,” said Starwood’s President and CEO Frits van Paasschen. “We continue to see a lot of demand for this brand around the globe and look forward to opening many more Aloft hotels in the years ahead.”
“Growing Aloft through conversions is the right strategy at the right time for the right brand,” said Simon Turner, Starwood’s President of Global Development. “We’ve developed a conversion-friendly strategy for existing hotels to meet owner and guest demand for Aloft while staying true to the brand’s positioning and helping our partners reposition existing assets in a cost-effective manner.”
Mr. Turner continued: “We see two types of opportunities as ideal candidates for an Aloft conversion: older hotels in need of a major renovation or unique, independent boutique hotels seeking a stronger brand point of view and the ability to utilize Starwood systems. The upcoming openings of Aloft San Francisco Airport and Aloft Nashville West End are perfect examples of these two conversion opportunities.”
Aloft San Francisco Airport has opened its doors last week after 14 months of extensive renovations. The 253-room hotel marked a milestone as the first external conversion project undertaken by Aloft in 2011. The property, owned by Starwood, brings the in-demand Aloft brand to the Bay Area for the first time.
Aloft Nashville Music Row also opened this month. The 139-room hotel will mark Aloft Hotel’s debut in Nashville, and replaces the Hotel Indigo Nashville West End. The property itself is an adaptive reuse of an office building originally constructed in 1970.
“The short turnaround of the Aloft Nashville conversion in less than one month highlights the agility of Starwood’s team to quickly and efficiently convert hotels to join our system,” said Mr. Turner. “Many well-located, but under-branded, hotels represent enormous untapped repositioning potential that will benefit from Aloft Hotels’s ever-growing guest loyalty with the right capital investment and the backing of Starwood’s powerful platforms.”
Conversion or adaptive-reuse projects are also underway for Aloft in Tucson, Calgary and Atlanta. For guests, who have made Aloft one of the world’s most prized hospitality brands, conversions mean access to their favorite hotel at more key locations.
“Aloft has developed a fiercely loyal following. Once travelers experience Aloft, they begin seeking it out wherever they travel. And they constantly ask us to bring the brand to more cities,” said Brian McGuinness, Starwood’s Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands. “Conversions like Aloft San Francisco Airport and Aloft Nashville West End are exciting from a brand standpoint because they allow us to bring the Aloft experience to new markets more quickly, which can only enhance the brand’s already powerful growth.”
Pioneering initiatives in music, design, and technology have positioned Aloft as a must-have brand for the next generation of travelers. Aloft has reported consistently high guest satisfaction scores since launch, reflecting the success of its modern and vibrant design at an affordable price point. Aloft’s social guest experience, with the buzzing re:mixSM lounge and w xyz® bar, has also earned select hotels within the portfolio designations in TripAdvisor’s 2012 “Top 25 Trendiest Hotels in the US” rankings.
The opening of Aloft SFO crowns an extensive, 14-month transformation of a onetime Clarion property. Aloft SFO’s strategic location, along with proximity to mass-transit options into San Francisco, made it an ideal choice for a conversion for Starwood.
The 253-room Aloft SFO boasts a 5,102-sq-ft lobby designed for socializing, with the brand’s signature w xyz bar and re:fuel by Aloft® grab-n-go pantry. Signature tactic rooms include 672 square feet of meeting space. And splash is Aloft SFO’s cool pool, where guests can refresh or just relax. The entire property also features free Wi-Fi.
Aloft SFO will also give guests an enviable location next to one of the world’s major air-travel hubs. The hotel is located at 401 E. Millbrae Avenue in Millbrae, about two miles from San Francisco International Airport, and less than a mile from the Millbrae Caltrain commuter rail station. San Francisco is an easy 14-mile drive from the front door – or a quick ride on one of many mass-transit options nearby. For business travelers, Aloft SFO offers access to major corporate headquarters like the California Teachers’ Association, Genentech, and Walmart, all less than 10 miles away.
Aloft SFO will become the third Starwood property adjacent to San Francisco International Airport, joining The Westin San Francisco Airport and Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Suites San Francisco Airport.
Aloft Nashville’s Rapid Transformation Highlights Advantages of Conversion The opening of Aloft Nashville Music Row is the brand’s first conversion from an existing select-serve or boutique hotel. The hotel will also become the first non-Starwood-owned Aloft conversion hotel to open.
The hotel’s exceptional location, just blocks from Nashville’s historic Music Row, situates guests near Vanderbilt University, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Tennessee State Capitol. Aloft Nashville Music Row, at 1719 West End Avenue, is also just 12 blocks from the soon-to-open Music City Convention Center. Nearby attractions include the legendary Grand Ole Opry, Belle Meade Plantation, Nashville Super Speedway, Bridgestone Arena, and LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans.
Along with Aloft’s signature w xyz bar and re:fuel by Aloft grab-n-go pantry, the hotel offers an 832-square-foot re:charge® fitness center and four smart tactic rooms with 2,470 square feet of meeting space.