If you want the short version, here it is for the attention-span challenged:
-Great Rates while the hotel is new - I expect they will go up in the coming year.
-Very Pet friendly
-Beautiful, comfortable, functional modern rooms
-Flat screen on wall great for watching TV in bed. Audio/Video hookup for all types of players.
-Bliss bath products smell great
-Breakfast/snack menu reasonably priced and convenient.
-Staff very friendly and attentive
-In great neighborhood with rapidly growing potential
-Some construction in the area - and your low rate reflects that growth!
-Finicky hot water in stand-up only shower, no shaving/sitting ledge in shower
-Map/address inaccurate - off exit 178A, on West Broad Street, behind Whole Foods/REI
(As you can see, the good far outweighs the not-so-good!)
I traveled to the aloft Richmond West with my husband for our anniversary/New Year's Eve. We wanted to get out of town but not go too far or spend too much money, and the aloft was letting rooms at a Grand Opening price of $89. (We booked through their website.)
GENERAL: We arrived around 5 PM and found an empty space right up front - there is a parking deck under construction attached to the hotel but I'm not sure if it was open: the parking right out front was very convenient and we didn't have trouble finding close spots in our coming and going - it was surprisingly not-busy for it being a brand new hotel on New Year's Eve.
To address some comments below, yes the parking lot is not paved - it is dirt and gravel so if you'll be mad that your shiny SUV gets dirt on it, you should park on the street or use the garage (if it is opened.) The paving of the lot has nothing to do with the aloft hotel, but rather the construction company in charge of the whole center/complex. I'm sure the aloft would love to have it paved as much or more than their patrons do!
Yes, nobody is standing around downstairs to greet you or take your bags, but this isn't the Ritz-Carlton - there were a few trolleys hanging around in the lobby for your luggage, and I'm sure more could be requested from the front desk.
The front desk is not on the ground floor - you can either take the stairs up to the second floor or the elevator, both located in the entryway next to a beautiful falling water element. Please also note that this elevator only services the parking garage levels and the lobby/check-in area - you can't get to your room from this elevator.
CHECK IN: Check-in with a polite gentleman named Carl was quick and easy even though the phones were ringing off the hook and there was a small queue in front of me. There are also kiosks you can use to check in with the credit card you used to make the reservation, but since I wanted to use a different card I checked in at the desk. (Helpful note here, if you are traveling with pets, mention it at check-in or take your dog with you: they apparently have a pet pack for you to use that includes a water bowl/toy/treat/tag/etc and get you to fill out a form.) To get to your room (if you are on the 3rd-5th floors,) you must use the elevator past the check-in desk, between the re:fuel area and the bar. The 200-rooms are off to the right of the check-in desk.
HOTEL INSIDE: Very modern, clean, and fun! The lobby has a pool table, fully stocked bar, computers for your use, hand sanitizer station, re:fuel (snacks and small meals) area. It's very airy and the colors are bright and energizing without being overpowering. It looks like a really cool area to just sit around and socialize, play a game, or have a drink. Even the elevators are modern - they play rock, classic rock, dance, alternative, and other various crossover genres at an audible but not deafening volume. When we checked in, the carpet in the hallways was sparkling clean, but due to the rain we've recently had by the next morning with all the comings and goings of the guests, there was some mud tracked around near the elevators. I'm sure this will disappear as housekeeping makes its rounds.
The bar/lounge area filled up one evening (more so since it was New Year's Eve) and yes, the music is loud, and yes, people mill about. I thought it was fun and lively, but once the elevator door closes, the sound goes down 3-fold. We couldn't hear a peep on the fourth floor. I was told that sometimes you can hear the bass on the 3rd floor, so if you're a light sleeper or easily irritated, I would request a room on the fourth or fifth floor.
The re:fuel station has great prices for a serve-yourself option. Cappuccino was $3.00 and tasted great - and that coming from my husband who drinks a lot of coffee and spent several years in Italy. He said it was not too bitter but still had a nice robust flavor, and enjoyed watching the machine make it for him. Drinks ranged in price from 1.00 for milk to 3.50 for a mocha. Food consisted of sandwiches, fruit, pastries, hot and cold cereals, and nothing was much more than $8.00.
ROOM: WOW. WOW is all I can say. Modern, fresh, economical, efficient, fun. Yes, the rooms are not extra spacious, but I generally don't need to do cartwheels in my hotel room and there was plenty of room for my husband and myself to maneuver around one another. Honestly they're more efficient and spacious than the rooms in our house because they are so well laid out. Thought was definitely given to best use of the room space.
The door closes like a bank vault, so watch your fingers - it goes slow at first, then heavily swings shut as it nears the jam. There is a single-cup coffee maker and free safe in the room. The coffee maker only comes with one each of regular and decaf coffee, so if two people want coffee you might want to request an extra pod. There is green and decaf black tea as well. There's also a mini-fridge (no freezer) and hairdryer under the sink.
The bathroom itself is beautiful, tiled in blue-green solid and textured pieces with an enormous mirror. The bathroom DOES have a door (I know someone said it didn't) - it slides out from beside the sink area and has a mirror on it as well. All Kohler appliances (beautiful bowl sink) and Bliss shower products. The shower itself does not have a bath tub, it is stand-up only. My only complaints with the shower were that it was pretty fiddly to get the hot water right - it took several minutes to come up to temperature, and by that time you were all soapy and had to step out of the stream to turn it down so you didn't boil yourself. (Except my husband. He likes coming out looking like a lobster.) There was also no ledge - there was a grab bar at about waist height, and it made me glad that I do a lot of yoga because I had to stand on one leg and jack my other one up in the corner of the shower to shave my legs. This could be a problem for anyone who wants to shave but can't balance or bend over.
There are a few magazines on a rack in the bathroom (Spin and Conde Nast Traveler) and it was great to have some "bathroom reading material." There's a closet (a space with a hang bar and ledge - definitely enough room to hang up suits or dresses) with a curtain over it and several shelves to store your things. Some people say there's not a lot of space, but when I travel I a.) don't pack my entire closet and b.) don't feel the need to take everything out of my suitcase. There's plenty of room to hang things up or keep them off the floor. I could easily store enough clothes for a month and my entire shoe collection (nothing to sniff at) on the space provided.
The bed (we got a King) was huge, and the comforter was soft and plush and warm without making us sweaty. The mattress is firm without being uncomfortable, and soft without making my back hurt. It's hard to describe, but I slept like a rock on it. I love platform beds too, which this one was - it was a great height - not too low that you couldn't sit on it comfortably, but not too high. There were lights over each side of the bed so I could read while my husband dropped off to sleep.
The flat screen TV in our room was mounted at the PERFECT height to watch in bed. We ordered a movie (Zombieland, even though it's not out on video yet!) and while the price is higher than a rental at 13.99, it was more relaxing and fun to watch it in our beds, and certainly cheaper than going down the road to the Cinema. If you'd rather bring your own movies, there's a dock with Audio/Video/HDMI/DVI component imputs of all kinds, so bring your Playstation/iPod/iPhone/Computer and the cables you'll need as I'm not sure if the hotel will provide these or not. But it connects directly to the TV and supports HD, so the next time we stay we'll definitely bring a few movies on our iPhones to watch. The decor is beautiful and includes a little bench/couch under the TV and two desks with one chair in front of the windows.
I was told that they shampoo the carpets after each person with a pet checks out - free of charge. (I was told this after we told the very helpful, generous, and nice Kathryn who was working that morning that my husband spilled his coffee on a small part of the carpet near the bathroom, and they replied that they'd be steam cleaning the carpet anyway so it was no problem.)
NEIGHBORHOOD: The hotel is (as previously stated) located on West Broad Street behind Whole Foods/REI/Home Goods and a luxury condo/apartment complex. Much of the neighborhood is still under construction and is not finished. When the whole place is finished and retail companies move in, I expect the price of the aloft Richmond West to shoot up - it is going to be a FANTASTIC area. There's a sign right next to the hotel advertising a coming-soon day spa. There will be a Books-a-Million right across the street, and many more nice retail spaces still waiting to be rented out. It will truly be a great place to walk around and shop. My husband and I walked down a block to Dave & Busters one night and played some games - $15 got us a good hour's worth of play there (and we burned a lot on many consecutive games of ski-ball and the flight sim game.) It was also fantastic to go to Whole Foods (OM NOM NOM!) and REI (ouucchhh my wallet!) without leaving the "neighborhood." The area has major potential!
In conclusion, this was the best $89 hotel I think I will ever stay at. It is DEFINITELY a place made with a younger crowd in mind - I'm not sure that I see my grandmother or other non-active, non-modern non-youthful at heart people enjoying this kind of place. I'm almost a little sad to be writing this glowing review because I want to keep it "our secret" for now - but I couldn't help but want to praise it for a job well done. My husband and I have plans to come back regularly, as we love the area and now the hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Aloft Richmond West is set in the hot new West Broad Village lifestyle center, just minutes from shopping at Short Pump Town Center, the Innsbrook Office Park, and downtown Richmond. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Aloft Richmond West Hotel Glen Allen