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Setting the Bar


Aloft New Orleans Downtown hotel inspires a rush of boutique hotels in New Orleans. 


spacesmarch2017Open for two years as of February, the Aloft New Orleans Downtown was one of many adaptive reuse projects planned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Located on the corner of Baronne and Gravier streets, the 30-story office building originally built in 1962 has been transformed into a mixed-use complex featuring 188 loft-like rooms and an atmosphere aimed at the Millennial traveler. The Aloft was one of the first of its kind in the city, and it set off a domino effect, inspiring an explosion of tech-forward, boutique hotels in the Crescent City.

In addition to large, loft-like rooms with modern art, platform beds and ergonomic workstations, the Aloft also features free Wi-fi and 42-inch LCD TVs. Guests have 24/7 access to Re:fuel, a light, quick fix for a hungry belly, and the hotel gym where guests can sprint, stretch and lift to their heart’s content to work off those extra pounds earned through beignets and étouffée. The hotel has a gorgeous rooftop pool for laps or lazing in the sun and also offers a bike share program through a company called Zagster where guests can rent out bikes for $24 per day through a mobile app.

The hotel also recently unveiled two new art installations that are a must-see for visitors and locals alike. The first is a series of portraits by New Orleans artist Josh Wingerter, which will be in rotation at the hotel through this month. Wingerter’s work can be described best as “graffiti on canvas,” featuring vivid hues and layered textures.

The second installation is a permanent custom art wall created by Austin, Texas-based Tenderling Design that was commissioned specifically for the hotel. The wall features schematic characteristics of iconic New Orleans landmarks and images hidden throughout. Be on the lookout for images such as the St. Louis Cathedral, crawfish, a paddle wheel, Mardi Gras masks and more. The piece is both digitally designed and hand drawn.

And because no one likes to leave home without their pets in tow, Aloft features an Arf Program that caters to travelers and their four-footed companions (dogs up to 40 pounds). The hotel is so pet-friendly that there is no required deposit or extra charge to bring along Fido. Plus, Aloft also provides dog beds, in-room water bowls, toys and treats so that guests won’t have to worry about packing extra.

For guests not looking to stray too far for a night on the town, Aloft New Orleans offers the WXYZ Bar. With an urban-influenced design, well-crafted cocktails and live music, WXYZ has a comfortable and cool atmosphere and a tasty menu with small bites so you can keep the party going. The bar’s live music repertoire includes musicians like Alexis & the Samurai, Kathryn Rose-Wood, Gravy, Andrew Duhon, Cactus Thief and Motel Radio.

Because most Millennials are concerned about lowering carbon footprint, Aloft provides rewards to guests who decide to “Make A Green Choice” during their stay. As a part of their green initiatives program, the hotel gives $5 vouchers to Re:fuel by Aloft or to the WXYZ Bar, or 250 Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints for each night a guest declines housekeeping.

Along with the hotel space, Aloft also features a 192-apartment complex dubbed The Strand — which has completely separate amenities and offerings from the hotel. The luxury living spaces at The Strand boast stunning views of the French Quarter and the Mississippi River, a controlled-access entrance, and a one-of-a-kind above-deck pool with in-water lounge areas and an outdoor kitchen. Amenities at The Strand also include a resident car-sharing program, 24-hour emergency maintenance services, online rent payment and an on-site private pet park. 225 Baronne St., (504) 581-9225, aloftneworleansdowntown.com