Overall Rating: 4/5
Introduction: My wife & I stayed at the subject property on New Year’s Eve for a single night and, despite a few issues, enjoyed our time at the hotel.
Check-In: I checked in early via the mobile app and was alerted that my mobile key would be ready within a short period of time. Upon arrival to the hotel my mobile key still had not been activated so I stopped by the front desk, picked up a room key card, and was then assured that my mobile key was ready to use. Upon getting up to our room, however, the mobile key was still not activated. I was told later that afternoon by a front desk manager that when he tried to activate my mobile key the system prevented him from doing so due to my personal phone’s settings as it pertains to the app permissions I have set up, which I thought was odd because I gave the Marriott app “free reign,” so-to-speak. I didn't press the issue further, though, because the mobile key was not too important at the time.
Parking: Given that the hotel only had valet parking, and that I try to avoid valet parking when possible, I located a parking garage directly across the street from the hotel (1001 McKinney Garage) and left our car there for the entire duration of our stay (a little over 24 hours in parking time). The rate was reasonable, the garage safe, and the location perfect. An issue we ran into regarding the parking garage itself, however, was that on New Year’s Day when we went to go retrieve our car, we noticed that all the entry/exit points of the garage were closed; the retractable gates were all down. This went for the gates on both McKinney Street and on Walker Street. Not only that but the pedestrian entry/exit doors were closed and locked. We truly had no way of entering the garage to get our vehicle. As I was in the process of dialing the main phone number to speak with someone from the parking company a driver pulled up to one of the gates and gained access to the garage by their contract parking permit. Thankfully this allowed my wife & I to finally get back into the garage. I’m sure there was an entry-point we missed, but it certainly gave us cause for concern in the moment.
The Lobby: The hotel’s common elements, such as the W XYZ Bar, billiards area, and the lobby itself were all well-maintained and clean. My wife & I arrived a little before Noon on 12/31 and the hotel was quiet. The hotel staff members we dealt with were friendly and personable and we took heart in seeing how well the property seemed to be managed and maintained.
The Room: Upon entering our room (1 King Bed Guest Room) my wife & I did a thorough inspection and were pleased with how clean and functional everything was. We also noted that the hallways and elevator waiting areas were just as clean as our room itself, which is not always the case. By many standards the room was small, but it was very functional and minimalistic, which is something I enjoy. The only disappointment I initially had was that our room had no view, as our unit faced the side of the neighboring building, which was only about 3 feet removed from the Aloft itself. This proved ideal for sleeping-in purposes, though, as it allowed for little-to-no light to enter our room.
Sleep Quality: One notable disappointment my wife & I experienced (especially my wife) was the poor sleep quality. While the bed was very comfortable and the room itself got cool / dark enough the noise levels from surrounding units and hallway traffic was quite high. Given how old the building was the closing of each guest room door seemed like someone was slamming our own door, as it would briefly shake the walls and any loose wall fixtures. Additionally, hallway conversations from other guests were pretty loud, as well, and it spanned the entire night since it was New Year’s Eve.
Dining Options: The Aloft concept is all about function and simplicity. As such, there are no on-site dining options like room service or restaurants. There is, however, a small dining area that offers grab & go refreshments and snack foods, along with a few pre-prepared large menu items, all of which are paid for at the front desk.
The Bar: My wife & I didn’t have time to relax for any significant time at the W XYZ bar, but we did spend about 20 minutes in the bar’s seating area while my wife enjoyed her “mocktail,” as she is pregnant. When she inquired with the bartender if he had any good virgin drink recipes, he asked her about her preferences and then promptly concocted a fruity beverage that was to her liking. He also mentioned to her that it would be free-of-charge as he simply did not have the time to officially ring up the drink in the system.
The Gym: The first amenity my wife & I utilized was the gym. The gym itself was clean and well-stocked with towels, complimentary headphones, and cold water. The pieces of equipment were all well-maintained and ready to use.
The Rooftop Pool / Lounge: Arguably our favorite amenity was the rooftop pool and lounge. While it was too chilly to swim, my wife & I spent plenty of time relaxing on the comfortable deck furniture while enjoying the fireplaces and the city lights. This is a huge plus for the hotel and is attractive enough to make me want to return in the Summer months.
The Service: Given the nature of the Aloft concept guest-to-employee interaction can be limited. The few times we interacted with employees, however, were pleasant enough.
Summary: Despite the parking issue and the poor quality of sleep I think my wife & I wouldn’t have an issue with returning to the hotel. While very simple and minimalistic, the Aloft concept is desirable for many reasons.