Lexington Travel Guide
Back in February, Aloft Hotels announced that they would begin a Smart Check-In program in which guests would get a special Aloft SPG member card that would in effect, act as their room key every time they stayed at an Aloft.
Now HotelChatter has gotten a sneak peek at what this smart check-in program, starting on June 1, will entail. Here's how it works:
· You'll be sent a special Aloft SPG® Member Card that will double as a room key, allowing you to bypass the front desk and go straight to your room whenever you stay at Aloft hotels participating in Smart Check-In.
· On the day of your next stay, we'll send a message containing your room number to your mobile device.
· When you arrive at your participating Aloft hotel, skip the front desk and go directly to your room. Touch your Aloft SPG card to the door lock to unlock it — you'll be checked in automatically and have full access to the Aloft Aloha desk throughout your stay.
We told you about the electric car-charging station at the Element Lexington when they announced that they were installing one back in July. But now we can bring you photos of the charger in action. And doesn’t it look cute?
It looks a little boxy on the outside, but people are still responding favorably nonetheless to the Element's latest outpost. Here's just a sample of some of the words used in the thirteen reviews current up on Tripadvisor: "Modern" - "Perfect" - "Fun"- "Excellent" - "Fantastic" -- "Amazing."
This hotel, roughly 20 minutes from Boston proper, is making a name for itself with ultra-mod amenities, massive rooms with kitchenettes (some with full kitchens), an indoor pool and "motion fitness center" (known to us regular humans as a gym), to beer and wine tasting social hours in the hotel's public spaces.
It's strong on green best practices, from EnergyStar appliances and recyclable materials to considerable thought going into how to reduce waste and minimize costs. The next Element Hotel will open in Irving, Texas on November 1.
Hey, remember how Aloft and Element opened up together in Lexington, MA and we went on and on about Aloft but then Element kind of went under our radar (comparatively, at least)? We hadn't been hearing too much out of Element division of the Starwood over-the-top marketing department lately, so we got to wondering what was going on with the Element Lexington, the new chain's first-born.
Natch, we dropped in to TripAdvisor to see what guests were saying.
Now, there is a certain image we get in our heads when we think of eco-hotels: grainy materials, a bit more rustic-looking, green and brown colors -- and we've gotta admit that we're a bit more apt to head toward the aesthetic of the super-sleek and shiny vibe we get from Aloft's marketing efforts, you know?
Yeah, sometimes we're wrong.
As every hotel watcher should know, this summer Starwood Hotels launched two new hotel brands, Aloft Hotels and Element Hotels. While we've seen picture after picture and review after review of the Aloft brand, very little has been said about the Element brand.
Maybe Element having only 1 location in Lexington Mass vs Aloft's 15 or so locations throughout the US (and.. Canada) plays a small part in that, but nonetheless -
Aloft was probably the most over hyped hotel brand, ever, so needless to say we were all a little asick of aloft long before they opened a hotel. However, visiting the aloft Lexington changed all that.
We get it. Starwood is gussying up roadside hotels and making them millennial nostalgic, if there is such a thing, and you know what? Roadside hotels were in need of some millennializing.
Someone we know stayed at the Aloft Lexington with a child and was surprised to find it totally kid-friendly, from the cool things to do on-site to the oddly large number of kids present during his stay and even right down to the air mattress that they bring into the room for the kiddies.
Here's what it's like:
They call it Camp Kids. They come in and blow up an air mattress and put some caterpillar sheets on it. Then they let the kids pick out some sugary snacks.
The rest of Aloft seems pretty kid-friendly whether or not you are a real kid or just a grown-up one. The hotel features an indoor swimming pool and the re: mix (XYZ) lobby/lounge features flat-screen TVs and a pool table. Oh yeah, and a bar.
However, there is an age limit on the Camp Kids program. You gotta be 12 and under to score caterpillar sheets and sugary snacks. Fudge, we just missed the age cut-off.
Once upon a time, our eager eyes were fixated on little ol' Lexington, Massachusetts because we'd been told the very first Aloft would open there.
It didn't. We blamed Canada.
And then another Aloft popped up in Rancho Cucamonga, and we were all, "whatever, Lexington, we're not waiting around for you."
Then we scored some pics of the first-ever Element, which was set to open in Lexington, and we were excited all over again -- especially since it looked a lot more spacious and comfy than the Aloft we visited in the meantime.
Thanks to a generous insider we have a ton of pics from inside the first ever Element Hotel in Lexington, Mass. which we hear is going to open next week (not July 15.) Element Hotels is the extended-stay brand for Starwood Hotels and is a spin-off brand of Westin Hotels. Much like Aloft (a spin-off of the W Hotels brand) is good for one night near the airport, Element is for business travelers who are put several days on a project in random places like Lexington. Thus each room is very spacious complete with a souped-up work area and a kitchen. Essentially, it's the antithesis of Aloft. Also, each hotel will aim to be LEED-certified, all rooms will feature the Westin Heavenly bed and spa-like bathrooms; a state-of-the-art fitness center on-site, complimentary breakfast and organic "pantry" options, and complimentary bikes for guests to tool around on. But why do we need to write any more? Just take a look at the pics! (There's six in total.)
Element Hotels is the extended-stay brand for Starwood Hotels and is a spin-off brand of Westin Hotels. Much like Aloft (a spin-off of the W Hotels brand) is good for one night near the airport, Element is for business travelers who are put several days on a project in random places like Lexington.
Thus each room is very spacious complete with a souped-up work area and a kitchen. Essentially, it's the antithesis of Aloft.
Also, each hotel will aim to be LEED-certified, all rooms will feature the Westin Heavenly bed and spa-like bathrooms; a state-of-the-art fitness center on-site, complimentary breakfast and organic "pantry" options, and complimentary bikes for guests to tool around on.
But why do we need to write any more? Just take a look at the pics! (There's six in total.)
Element Hotels / Aloft Hotels / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel Openings / Starwood Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
The first ever Element will be in Lexington, Massachusetts and is scheduled to open either July 1 or July 15--depending on which portion of Starwood's website you're viewing. Go figure.
But you can't make reservations through the Element website until after July 15. So we're guessing the opening date is the 15th.
That makes Element's opening occur almost simultaneously with the Aloft Lexington which is located adjacent to the Element.
Yet unlike the Aloft Lexington which lost out to those silly Canadians, the Element Lexington WILL be sticking to its initial goal of being the first Element to open in the world.
Perhaps not going to take getting beat to the first-ever Aloft Hotel opening sitting down, the Aloft Lexington is going to open on July 1. When we last checked on Friday, this Aloft (long-hyped as the first Aloft ever to open anywhere) was opening July 14.
Guess someone had a fit over the weekend and now the hotel will open in just a few weeks.
A non-smoking king room is open for $169 a night. Again, that's the internet rate so no changes allowed. A best available rate of $179 is available if your plans are dicey.
Another thing to note: If you are an SPG member and you book a stay at Aloft under the super promotion where you get 8 points, you still have to register for the promotion before you can get the points.
More Aloft News after the jump.
The site follows a standard Starwood Hotels layout and look but since Element has been so vague for so long, it's nice to have some visual imagery here about what the place will look and feel like.
You can really see the Westin DNA here (remember Aloft is a spin-off of W Hotels) with the "good for you and good for the earth" approach. Elements are "bathed" in natural light and have open-air designs. Food served is healthy grab-n-go gourmet and all guestrooms (otherwise known here as "private spaces") employ eco-friendly practices like paper recycling bins, amenity dispensers rather than mini-toiletry bottles and Energy-Star rated appliances.
We're actually more excited for Element than Aloft. There is something about it that looks approachable. Aloft seems too crazy and too pink. Element seems soothing, which is probably its intended purpose.
Anyways, the first Element will open in Lexington on October 1st. It's right next to the Aloft Lexington which should now open in September (instead of July.)