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All reviewspool tablewithin walking distancetrendy hotelshops and restaurantsgreat areafun placeparking garagelobby barsliding doorbusiness tripbed was comfortableflat screen tvindoor poolthe room was nicebirminghamweddingtoys
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Reviewed July 22, 2009

I was traveling to Birmingham for an interview and brought the family along. So, I was looking for a place to spend some Starwood points for a free night stay when I discovered Aloft. This new hotel brand is very themed and quite unconventional. The concept attempts to capture the demographic who would identify themselves as "hip, cool, and sophisticated".

What attracted me to select the hotel was a prominent promotion on their website for "camp aloft" a themed experience for children. The package included special bedding, games, toys, and snacks on arrival, and special kids menu. The promotion promised a very kid friendly experience.

After a long day on the road, we arrived about 2 hours after the kids bed time. When we entered the lobby, the Starbucks groupies were shooting pool in the lobby bar and the meager staff in their Polo shirts and khakis seemed shocked by the interruption to their themed environment by the entrance of my 4 and 6 year old kids.

Conventions are comforting because one knows what to expect...how to behave. As I entered the hotel I felt a bit like Crocodile Dundee encountering the bidet. There was no conventional staff to greet me, no one to help with the bags, the "front desk" was small and unusually located.

The room was also unconventional. Two spaces were defined by a partial wall. On the entrance side of the wall was the bathroom and a small amount of shelf space (no closet). The opposing side of the wall was the bed and wall-mounted tv. The room was all concept and no common sense. The AC was on the bed side of the wall, but the thermostat was on the bath side, so, the AC ran all night. The shower (no tub for the little ones to bath in!) had a glass wall. So, when my wife woke early to bathe, it lit the entire bedroom and woke everyone else up. The lavatory was one of those bowl-on-top affairs one might see in Architectural Digest. Owners of more traditional homes like ourselves would benefit from an owner's manual to figure out how to use it. For example, it took me several minutes to figure out how to let the water out after shaving.

The "camp aloft" was two unmade blow-up beds in back packs. (It took about an hour to get the staff to find bedding and get the beds set up. Unprepaired for the two little guests, it took another hour to apparently send a staff member to the corner drug store to put together a paper bag of goodies to fulfill the promised games and treats).

So many things were so wrong with this concept hotel that my wife and I had no choice but to resort to humor. Breakfast was the apex of our laughter since we couldn't figure anything out. There was a "station" for funky pastries and another "station" for coffee (kids menu?!). But the utensils for the food were hidden around a corner and the condiments for the coffee were in another room entirely. There was cereal artfully arranged on a table, but no milk on display anywhere. We had noticed a multiply pierced young woman in a chefs toque observing us for a while. When I finally approached her for help, she disappeared to the back to produce some milk.

The "space" offered only individual seating with tiny top-heavy tables just the right size for ones lap-top. It only took about three seconds for my 4-year-old to tip the table and spill cereal all over the floor. Once again, the mystified staff seemed to not quit know what to do with kids in their environment. We had to ask for a broom and clean up the mess ourselves as the staff paced nervously at a distance. We think that there was a charge for the food, but no one was keeping track of what we took, and there was no"station" for paying. Oh well!

If you have kids...run away from this brand and throw rocks. If you are single, hip, and sophisticated...you will love this place.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank ecologic1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2009

This is a contemporary hotel with a superior staff. My daughter and I stayed here when in Birmingham to find her and apartment for grad school. We found the staff very friendly and helpful. They knew our names and even ran off apartment listings for us. Homewood is a quaint area that is an easy five minute drive to the UAB campus. A variety of restaurants and cute shops are within walking distance. My only complaint is there is no reading lamp on the night stand. We did move the desk lamp so the problem was easy to solve. It has underground parking which was nice because it was 96 degrees outside. I would recommend this hotel and will stay again.

  • Stayed: June 2009
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Thank LouisianaRock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2009

Yes, it's an uber trendy hotel trying to mimick the Nordics design. It was not cozy but did it's job well because we did find it to be rather clean. But, what good is it when my husband and I woke up to the loud AC every 10 mins and we woke up groggy? It is so loud that it interrupted our TV time, I had to blast TV to volume 40 and I still couldn't hear the TV. Staff was nice, they had a nice book of menus for restaurants - but everything is across the street. I liked the Burger at Greyhouse Grille though ($13). Interesting experience, definitely mediocre. Free covered parking, nice bar area (cheap drinks).

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled on business
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2  Thank indaheezy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2009

As everyone in the hotel will try to remind you....you're supposed to be staying in a fun and trendy chic place....or so they think with their greeting of Aloha everytime you walk through the front lobby bring on...but in reality...all you're doing is staying in a barely acceptable space that they have tried to convert into a "bauhaus NYC" style environment -with no luck!
Let's see...there is NO closet in the room...its a mule cloth curtain on a metal rod in front of a spare 12 inches of a converted shelving unit...the door for the bathroom is a "sliding mirror". The best has to be...there is only ONE light switch for all the room lighting...no bed lamps...no light near the bed...and to turn the room lights on or off...you have to walk all the way to the room door which means in the dark you are now trying to find the bed in a room you have no experience in navigating! What a nightmare that is when you have arrived late and have to be at a customers meeting in the early am and you bang your shin trying to go to bed! OH and if it wasnt for my own alarm clock on my blackberry, I would have slept right through my customer meeting because the wake up call never came. I travelled with two co-workers so I can verify all THREE rooms fell into the exact same descriptive layout. They also felt like everything here was so "cheap" but they were trying to give it a trendy name to try and set a different mood but we all agreed-it was still cheap! They totally failed at the "industrial ubran" decorating they were going for...I come from NYC and this place has no clue what "industrial urban" should be!
The staff at the front desk is so poor in terms of friendliness...I think they took courses on how not to smile! The hotel is not for business travelers- it has not one amenity that you would normally need...even the "public" printer...it was low on toner and printing a page with a large white gap down the middle...ask the front desk..."oh we don't have any toner for that printer"...ok so what should I do to print a piece of the presentation that was just emailed me...well you could go over about 5 blocks to ,...I put my hand up and said..."that's ok...I will figure it out"....

Avoid the Aloha at the Birmingham Aloft....or else you will be very angry with yourself for having given them a penny of your money...and I was travelling on the company and I still feel horrible they paid them anything!

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled on business
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3  Thank DMKANDOIT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2009

The hotel is definitely aimed at the younger crowd. The decor is indeed a trendy, minimalist, South Beach-type style, and loud music overwhlems the lobby. (I had to go outside to take a call on my cell phone.) The staff was friendly and helpful. The rooms continued the minimalist theme; they were clean and adequate in size. The bed, linens and towels were first-class. My only two complaints about the hotel were (1) the wireless internet and (2) the in-room air conditioners. The free "high-speed Internet" was "low-speed." At first, I thought the problem was with my computer, but everyone in our group who had a computer had the same problem. Work that I normally would do in 20 minutes connected back to the office took 2 hours. I also was disappointed to see that a room unit AC was used in a newly constructed hotel. With the AC on cool and the fan on, it was extremely loud and noisy.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled on business
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2  Thank FatherofGirls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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