Since I had two days of long day meetings near Sea-Tac Airport, I went to book my go-to airport hotel. It was sold out! As was my second choice. And third. There was no way I was fighting traffic for two days driving back and forth, so it was time to go looking for a new Sea-Tac Airport hotel.
Earlier this summer, when I was apparently not noticing anything going on near the airport, an Aloft Hotel at Sea-Tac opened.
Aloft, owned by SPG (now Marriott), is known for its modern architecture and contemporary furnishings – dare I say it, a hipster hotel near Sea-Tac Airport. The decor is bright and busy – lots of patterns and color – a marked difference from the W, its sister hotel brand.
Aloft places a big emphasis on reducing the negative effects of travel on the environment. From its large product dispensers in the bathroom to parking spots for hybrid vehicles, Aloft wants you to think before using and wasting.
The entry is a large great room concept, with the reception desk straight ahead, the WXYZ bar and recreational lounge area to the left, and a grab-and-go snack area to the right. All are sizable, with plenty of room to move about, and give a feeling of spaciousness without feeling cavernous. Every time I passed through, except for the very VERY early hours heading to my appointments, there were people hanging out in the lounge area – having a drink, talking, watching television, playing games – guests interacting with other guests and having a good time.
The hotel may hate me for making this comparison, but it felt like an upscale luxury hostel. Instead of hanging out in the room, guests met one another by hanging out in the great room. This familiarity may be because of the hotel’s proximity to airline headquarters and aviation companies, a shared business brings out conversation. Or, it may be that the brand attracts a more outgoing and convivial clientele – I’ll have to take a check the next time I stay at an Aloft Hotel.
An emphasis on the common areas didn’t mean that the rooms were an afterthought. Aloft rooms feature signature beds, complimentary wi-fi, charging stations with both plug-ins and USB ports, work desk, coffee and tea station, refrigerator, and complimentary bottled water,
Bathrooms have a large walk-in shower, but no tub. Custom products are by Bliss Spa, with large dispensers in the shower rather than individual packaging. Lighting was good, with a separate dressing area from the shower/toilet area. Best of all, while utilizing the open concept, both are laid out with a wall to keep the light from waking other sleepers (a complaint that I often have of hotel rooms).
There is no traditional restaurant on the property. A nice selection of grab-and-go options is available at re:fuel, the 24/7 pantry. Breakfast, sandwiches, ice cream, and a variety of easy snacks. You can take your items to your room or over to re:mix lounge to enjoy over conversations with other guests. A good selection of beer, wine, and specialty cocktails are offered in the WXYZ bar, with an appetizer happy hour menu from 5-7 pm.
You can re:charge in the gym, open 24/7, with a selection of cardiovascular equipment and free weights. There is a moderately sized meeting room, right-sized for a board meeting or small workshop. A coin-op self-serve laundry is also on site.
If you’re not local and are flying in, Aloft has a complimentary airport shuttle available on demand. Head to the courtesy phone bank on the ground floor of the airport parking garage to call. If you have a car, on-site parking is free.
The Aloft is pet-friendly, contact hotel for details.
While I recommend the Aloft most for those who want to stay near the airport, you’re not totally cut off from the rest of the city. There is a light rail station at the airport, so you can take the hotel shuttle back to the airport, then grab the light rail into downtown Seattle, Husky Stadium in the U District, and places in between.
One criticism I’ve heard about the Aloft properties is that they tend to be cookie-cutter hotels. For some guests that consistency is a complaint, for others a comfort. This was my first stay at an Aloft, so I can’t rightly say. Yet. I like the concept, ambiance, amenities, and price, so I’ll be checking out a few others before I make up my mind.