With the summer providing me more “flexibility” in my schedule to explore Tampa Bay, I have already been busy around town meeting new people and checking out new places. First on my list was Aloft Tampa Downtown. I contacted them and set up a private tour and on the day of the meeting, I made my way over, conveniently found a parking spot on the street out front, and met with the director of sales, Crystal.
We walked through the valet area for guests and hopped on an elevator to head a few floors up to see some of the rooms offered to guests. Although Aloft is new to Tampa Bay, the company who runs the hotel has multiple properties in the United States. In addition, the Aloft Hotels are a “baby sister” so to speak, to the W Hotel group. Offering guests 130 different room options with one Presidential Suite and 20 other suites, guests are able to choose from a variety of setups that meet their individual needs. Each room comes equipped with 9-ft ceilings and a very clean-lined, modern styling. Even though the hotel was clearly still in the midst of construction, as you can see in some of the pictures I snapped, as I made my way through. The design and decor made me feel as if I had been transported out of Tampa and into NYC or Miami. The hotel definitely has that boutique and upscale vibe to it that us young professionals seek in a hotel.
As we walked from one hotel room to the next, I found out that one major thing that sets this hotel apart from others is that fact that guests will have the option of checking in via their smartphone prior to pulling into the hotel. I know for me, many times the worst part of the hotel process is the waiting in lines in the busy lobby. No more will this be a problem for guests as not only can they check in on their phones, but they can then bypass the front desk COMPLETELY and head straight to their rooms. But how will they get in without a keycard? Ah, the same question I posed. Well, it just so happens this hotel has state of the art technology that will enable guests to use their phone as their key. Just a swipe of the phone facing the door and the keypad will unlock for you. HOW COOL IS THAT?!
Now, if guests fly in to Tampa and don’t rent a car, the luxury that this hotel offers is that once they have made it to the hotel and are a guest, they have complimentary transportation services within 3 miles of the hotel. This is great for business travelers looking or needing to get around. Therefore, there is no feeling stuck to the confides of a 4 block radius around the hotel. This is just ONE of the many ways this hotel wants to liven up the downtown area.
Another thing that struck me as really great was the local art that was being incorporated into the design of the hotel. Not only are the headboards decorated with Downtown Tampa’s Skyline printed by a local artist, but there will be other local art on display throughout the hotel that guests can purchase. The entire hotel will be equipped with free wifi (mainly because the technology I mentioned earlier requires it), and also has a 24/7 gym called, Re:charge.
As we walked down the hallway from Re:charge, we came across another area known as Re:fuel, a 24/7 foodie spot to grab a quick and light snack or cup of joe. This would kind of be like the “market” or convenience portion of a typical hotel, but what was described here is a place where people can come to grab smaller snacks and light dishes that can be hot or cold to munch on before a night out or a night in.
As you move through Re:fuel, you can see a small meeting area through a wall of glass windows that is going to be designated for “Tactic Meeting”. This is basically a sleek meeting space with tons of TVs and internet available for the guests. We kept walking passed the round front desk, making our way towards the bar and lounge.
Next, we walked towards the W XYZ Bar and when I asked about the reason behind the name of the bar, I found out about the W Hotel connnection. Some other unique facts about this bar is not only does it provide patrons (not Patron’s, put down the tequila), with the opportunity to play pool, a view of the infinity pool out back and a look out over the Hillsborough River, but it also offers one of our favorite, local breweries, Cigar City, on tap. Re:mix is located directly adjacent to the bar and is a lounge area where guests and locals can come to have a drink, enjoy some wifi, listen to music, and hang out. This area overlooks the beautiful outdoor fire pit area, live music spot, and infinity pool (which looked very inviting).
One of the biggest things that was stressed was the importance for the hotel to invite locals INTO the hotel as opposed to turning them away. With its close proximity to Curtis Hixon Park and UT, Aloft Hotel hopes to tap into those markets to drive business into the downtown area. So as opposed to going to a Rock the Park event, let’s say, you can swing by the hotel and have a quick bite or play some pool and have a drink after the event. Places like Aloft are unique in that it is this type of mentality that is going to help build our downtown area and develop it further. With the thought of having different entertainment come in and partnering with local event spaces, Aloft hopes to drive home the idea that the hotel is meant for everyone’s use, not just guests that are visiting from out of town.
So, if you are ever in need of a place to stay or have friends visiting from out of town, think about staying Aloft Tampa Downtown, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Or if you are like us and like trying new places, stop in for a Cigar City brew, a snack and a round of pool to start off a great night downtown.
Check out Aloft Tampa Downtown’s Facebook!
**If you are interested in booking before July 31st, there is a special introductory rate of $99/night which can be booked by contacting Crystal Rivera, Director of Sales directly at firstname.lastname@example.org**