ALOFT Austin at the Domain

27 Jun

As a starwood preferred Gold member, I am always seeking to experience all the concepts Starwood offers (notably 9 distinct brands). Their newest installment is ALOFT… supposedly a younger, hipper, ultra-contemporary styled hotel brand that is more affordable than some of Starwood’s other brands.

I attempted to squeeze a little getaway out of my obligatory trip to Austin, Texas this past june, and found that Austin is an interesting city with distinct character and style. It is traditionally known for being a Music town, yet has evolved into an up and coming destination town for business, hospitality, and quality living. Vibrant streets filled with gourmet food trucks and bustling music venues… I’d have to say this town’s defining word is ‘cool’. My only worry is that with commerce and vast amount of people flocking there (almost exponentially), Austin may transform into the next Scottsdale… a large suburban heatbox void of classic style, evolving its citizens into Beverly Hills wannabes (check out the amount of plastic surgeon clinics in Scottsdale… or just take my word for it).

Unfortunately, ALOFT slowly reaffirms this prediction (which I sincerely hope won’t come to be), representing the falseness and fleeting nature of ingenuine glamour. ALOFT, at its best, is a less-than-half-assed poor man’s version of the W Hotels. It is akin to a hollywood set… looks good at first glance, yet step a little closer, and you realize it is all folly, a show… deceiving its patrons into believing they should pay extra for the ambiance.

The location of the ALOFT Austin is ‘scottsdale nice’, it is seated against “The Domain”, a newly built 21st century outdoor mall equipped with popular restaurant chains, top brand clothing stores, and an upper crust movie theater asking 20 plus bucks a ticket. It is as if the Domain was created as a chunk of ‘Garden of Scottsdale Eden’, in an attempt to undermine and essentially forget about what Austin is all about… real people, good tunes, delicious food served from a trailer on a paper plate, and rustic character that is unapologetic. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy elegance… but this place gives me an uneasy feeling that commerce (and its armies of shopping malls and falsely fancy hotel brands) will eventually destroy the charm of all American towns that begin showing promise.

The Domain and Aloft has successfully molested Austin. What a Shame. I award this hotel 1 star out of pity.. and my God have no mercy on their commercialized souls.

I recommend finding a hotel near South Congress if you want to really experience Austin for a little getaway.

Mike Markoff

1 Star

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