Aloft Hotels has debuted in the heart of London’s Docklands, with a new site offering 252 loft-like guest rooms. By the end of 2011, six out of the nine brands operated by Starwood Worldwide will have a presence in the UK.
And, according to Wale, Aloft Hotels could be opening in other major UK cities. “We would love to bring more Aloft hotels to the UK and see cities such as Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester being able to support an Aloft,” he told BigHospitality. “We have just opened our landmark 50th hotel worldwide and we expect to increase our global portfolio to more than 70 hotels by 2013.”
This is the second new Starwood brand to open in London within a year, following the launch of the W brand in the UK with the opening of the W London Leicester Square at the end of 2010. But Wale believes Aloft is perfectly situated to expand in the UK market.
The right brand for the right time
“Aloft is the right brand for the right time!” he added. “It has shaken-up the traditional and rather boring mid-market hotel category by delivering urban-influenced, modern and vibrant design and an energetic guest experience at an affordable price point.
“There is nothing else like Aloft in the market right now – no other hotel is reaching out to people by offering such high-style at an affordable price. Take Aloft London for example, rooms start at £120 per night, including taxes, yet the hotel offers loft-style rooms, free WiFi, a buzzing bar scene, gym and pool facilities and lots more.”
Aloft London Excel has brought 66 new jobs to the local area. As well as a grab-and-go food pantry and the XYZ bar (pictured), the hotel will also feature the FEDE restaurant concept, run by third-party partner Elior, serving contemporary British food.
After opening its first hotel in 2008 in Canada, Aloft has grown to nearly 50 hotels in four countries – the USA, Canada, China and the United Arab Emirates. New openings are planned this year in Belgium, India and Thailand.
Starwood currently operates eight hotels in the UK under four brands: the Lanesborough (a St Regis hotel), Sheraton Park Tower (the Luxury Collection), one Le Meridien and four Sheraton hotels (two at London Heathrow airport, one in Edinburgh and the Sheraton Park Lane, London).