Since my corporate universe seems to be most compatible with the Starwood hotels, I've been interested in staying at the Aloft since they opened a few months back. I finally got my chance, spouse and kids in tow on a recent trip to DC.
Upon arriving, I appreciated the edgy lobby area, although I think some aspects were a bit overdone. Overall, good marks, though on a usable public space - pool table, fireplace, decent (but limited) bar, etc. However, when I tried to use the self-check-in, I ran into the first snag; the computer wanted my credit card, but for the life of me, I couldn't find a place to insert it. After a few minutes of fruitless hunting, I asked the person at the desk for help - turns out the kiosks aren't fully up yet. No biggie (a sign would be nice). So we head for the room - turns out one of the two elevators isn't up and running yet, either (again, a sign would be nice). Still, no biggie.
The room was austere, small, but decent (think Ikea meets youth hostel). It had the typical wall-wart air conditioner that I always fear will keep me awake all night, but surprisingly, this one wasn't too bad. Internet connectivity was good, as was the TV (note: you can hook your laptop in, but bring a 15' DB-15 or HDMI if you want to lay in bed as the connection box is hardwired to the desk, which isn't very useful considering the wall-mounted TV isn't on a swivel). Not much to comment about regarding the beds or the decor - pretty typcial for this type of hotel. There were a few pseudo-edgy magazines in the room (think Wired), which was a nice touch. The shower was a decent size, however, as others have noted, lack of a simple plastic strip down the edge of the glass door results in significant water poolage outside the door. Shampoo and body gel are provided via bulk dispensers in the shower, which is probably pretty cost-effective (for those not creeped out by this). One other shortcoming that I noticed is the lack of independent light switches. I know - sounds like a small beef, but there's really no way to turn just one small bathroom light on for the night. Another more significant shortcoming is the lack of sound dampening between the rooms. Turns out the folks in the next room were a bit randy and up for some evening activity (I was regretting that the air conditioner wasn't louder at this point). Again, not a huge deal, but in any hotel constructed in the last decade, this shouldn't be an issue.
I did run into another small snag when the coffee maker caught fire in the morning (no exaggeration - flames, smoke, and everything). The room turned pretty acrid, so we decided to make a hasty exit - stage left. I expressed the concern over the coffee maker to the desk staff, and once they realized the gravity of the situation (ummm...not like a little smoke - think molten plastic), they were very apologetic and offered a few complimentary breakfast items.
Speaking of the breakfast items - I was a bit disappointed with the selection. They had an eclectic mix - yogurt, Perrier, fresh fruit, boxed cereal, and heat-and-eat sandwiches, but all at (IMHO) slightly high a-la-carte pricing.
Although the Ashburn area is (was?) growing, there's not much around the hotel. It is very convenient to the Dulles Toll Road (aka Greenway at this exit). However, despite the W-style vibe, I couldn't help feeling that this was the happy medium between a rave and a corn field. Or, maybe I'm just getting too old to stay at these sorts of places, and I'm just not ready to admit that I should just crawl back to the Westins closer to town (which are surprisingly not that much more in price).
Overall, not a terrible experience. I know some of these issues are start-up pains, but I think the Hyatt Place offers a similar, but more polished, stay. Would I stay here again? Probably not.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Chic and comfortable, the Aloft Dulles Airport North offers complimentary airport shuttle service to/from Washington Dulles International Airport and is located near the Dulles Technology Corridor. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aloft Ashburn