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ExCel gets the first UK Aloft hotel

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Brian McGuinness, Global Brand Manager, tells ITCM what Aloft offers to the next generation of business travellers and delegates

Aloft has arrived in the UK. Aloft is the hotel brand that Starwood first launched in June 2008. There are now 58 Aloft hotels and the UK is the seventh country to receive them. Already in the USA, Canada, China, the UAE, India and Belgium, they will soon be seen in Thailand, Colombia and Costa Rica. Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President, Speciality Select Brands for Starwood, was in London to attend the launch of Aloft London Excel.

‘Aloft’, he told ITCM, ‘shakes up the traditional mid-market hotel sector with its modern and vibrant design. It gives guests a great experience at affordable prices’.

The new property is in London’s Docklands alongside the ExCeL International Exhibition and Convention Centre. The property is owned by ADNEC (Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company) , which also owns the Centre. It brings 252 much-needed rooms and facilities designed to suit go-getting, busy executives.

‘We provide high ceilings, lots of natural light, open spaces for networking and very high-spec technology. Aloft London Excel has free wireless internet access throughout, including all guest rooms. Each room is equipped with a unique plug-and-play service, which connects most electronic devices to the 42’-in flat-screen TV, turning the room into a high-tech office as well as an entertainment centre.

‘Bottled water is always available. The rooms have spacious walk-in showers. We see our main market as the next generation of business travellers’, Brian explains, ‘who want a good, rapid but inexpensive service. There is always a 24-hour grab-and-go food pantry so that they can eat well without using too much of their time.’

The majority of Aloft hotels have about 100 rooms, but there is an obvious need for more accommodation when the property is alongside such a large conference and exhibition venue. The hotel itself has five well-equipped Tactic meeting rooms for up to 15 people.

‘The Aloft brand’, says Brian, ‘has been very successful from the start and we see its numbers doubling in the next four years. In the UK we have our sights on Manchester and Liverpool. Although we insist on many basic essentials in every property, we also are aware of the importance of meeting local needs in each destination. Our Asia-Pacific Aloft hotels have restaurants offering full service Chinese cuisine. There are prayer rooms in India. At Aloft London ExCel? It has a new restaurant concept, FEDE, to serve British food and drink in an unpretentious, welcoming environment. And, yes, the rooms have all that the guests need to make tea!’

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