Aloft hotel opens its door to the UA

Photo by Tyler Besh  for Arizona Daily Wildcat Aloft hotel opens on the corner of Speedway and Cambell. It showcases a more luxury experience for guests.
Photo by Tyler Besh for Arizona Daily Wildcat Aloft hotel opens on the corner of Speedway and Cambell. It showcases a more luxury experience for guests.

By CECELIA MARSHALL for Arizona Daily Wildcat Published April 5, 2013 at 5:43am

From The District on 5th to The Retreat, Tucson is being spoiled with luxurious accommodations sprouting up left and right. The newest addition, Aloft Tucson University, says it boasts “the new twist in travel.”

Yesterday, the Aloft hotel opened its doors to bring in not only travelers from out of town, but college students and Tucson locals as well.

Early last summer, construction on the hotel began on the corner of Campbell and Speedway, within walking distance of campus.
Until now, security guards patrolled the premises to ward off intruders. The secrecy and surveillance added to the well-warranted aura of prestige surrounding the hotel.

Guests at the Aloft hotel are treated like celebrities, after all, greeted when they arrive by hotel employees who introduce themselves as “talent.”

“It’s a new place to stay, work and play,” said hotel general manager Craig Martin.

The new hotel also offers amenities such as free WiFi and free parking, although those aren’t exactly original features for a hotel.

“We make it easy,” said Martin, who has experience converting old hotels into Starwood Hotels in San Francisco, such as the Le Meridien and Westin hotels.

Tucson was scheduled to get its first Aloft location in 2006, but Aloft grew bigger than the little Old Pueblo. There are currently 60 Aloft hotels, and by the end of the year there will be 68 worldwide, Martin said.

Four Points by Sheraton, the Starwood hotel that sat on that corner before Aloft, was everything Aloft is not. It had drab walls with generic desert and Western paintings, stale carpets stinking of cigarette smoke and a bar and restaurant that felt empty even on the busiest of weekend nights.

The Aloft hotel did away with the Four Point’s previous restaurant, replacing it with its new WXYZ Bar, which is known for its handcrafted cocktails and a daily happy hour sure to draw people across the street from the overcrowded Dirtbag’s.

Though it has the “DNA of ‘W’ hotels, we’re bringing something new,” Martin said.

Known for their swankiness, Aloft hotels use pops of color and LED and black lighting to contrast the polished cement and steel gray features.

“It’s fresh and new in design,” Martin said.

Just don’t expect to stay there for May graduation — rooms were already booked before it opened.

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