Late last month, Ajay and I were in Bangalore over the long weekend for the Bangalore Meetup. Since Ajay is chasing SPG Platinum, we agreed that it would be best gain stay credits by trying out a few SPG hotels in town rather than shuttling back to Mumbai and then over again for another of his meetings after the long weekend.
Our car ride from the Four Points to Aloft took about ten minutes. This was also a reason we split our two nights between the two hotels since both the hotels are located in close vicinity in the Whitefield area.
The Aloft brand was introduced by Starwood to recreate the success of its upscale W hotel brand and offer millennials a trendy stay proposition at a lower price point. That’s why the brand is also referred to as A vision of W hotels.
This by no means was our first stay at the Aloft in Bengaluru. Ajay had stayed at this hotel 4 years ago in 2013 while visiting me during our courtship period. Additionally, last month we also stayed at the Aloft in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which is the largest Aloft hotel in the world. Hence we were aware of the brand standards and knew what to expect.
The hotel is located off the main road in a bylane in the industrial area, and we had to guide the Uber driver to take the correct turn. Even though the lobby and the check-in area were empty it took a long time to process our reservation.
There was some confusion about the room being for single or double occupancy, which quickly escalated. The hotel contended that for double occupancy we had to pay another INR 1000, while we already had a double occupancy rate. On the other hand, when we tried to understand the rationale about more money for double occupancy, we were told that double occupancy uses more toothpaste and internet (that’s what they said!). Additionally an extra breakfast. Interestingly, this hotel does not offer a rate without breakfast in the first place.
When Ajay requested to speak to the hotel General Manager in person, the hotel handed over the phone to another senior person of the hotel who chaffed him off even more by just talking and not trying to listen to the customer. We were told the GM had quit the hotel. We had to escalate the issue to SPG and finally SPG assist stepped in to resolve the rate problem. As a part of SPG amenity the staff offered Ajay 125 bonus points or a free drink and he opted for the bonus points.
The lobby itself has a casual and fun vibe. There are comfortable couches to sit on, a billiards table and another long table with board games.
Once everything was sorted out by SPG, we headed over to the elevator. Now since Aloft is a budget brand, globally it means that you have to lug your bags yourself. However because the hospitality standards are so high in Asia we did have a bell boy come over promptly to assist us with our bags.
Our room was on the 5th floor, that was also the SPG floor. Our room was about halfway down the corridor and the hallway was done up in a funky multicolored ceiling that sort of matched the carpet on the floor. Exactly the same as the Aloft in KL.
All rooms at this hotel are identical with the only difference in the view. Our room had a queen size bed. There was a table on one window and a work desk on the other. On the table was placed complimentary bottled water, a fruit platter and a kettle. There were also cans of nuts and dry fruits that were on paid basis. Oh, and there was also a welcome letter from the same guy who had a bit of a tiff with Ajay this afternoon.
The work desk had a phone, an array of power points and charging ports. There were plenty of plug points near the work desk, table and bedside to juice up all our gadgets.
The television was embedded on the wall opposite the bed and underneath was a daybed, a bit odd since the television above meant no one could actually sit there and watch television.
Our room had a good view of the swimming pool.
Right by the entrance was the closet and the bathroom. There was also a wardrobe placed in the room that was clearly installed as an afterthought. It wasn’t there the last time Ajay was over at this hotel. I guess it must be for long stay guests.
The bathroom was an open one. Next to the sink was an enclosed western style toilet and a shower that had a glass partition for separation. The head shower had good water pressure. The bathroom amenities were Bliss, a brand that is also used by W hotels.
The shower had soap and shampoo dispensers instead of bottles. They were filled with Bliss products again a toiletry brand I am fond of.
Overall our room while basic was clean, comfortable and had everything that we needed.
Breakfast at Dot.Yum
The all-day dining restaurant all Aloft hotels is called Dot.Yum. Buffet breakfast is served between 7am to 11am everyday.
The breakfast spread was scrumptious and included a variety of Indian and western selection. They have even a small Japanese spread with miso soup and Udon.
For a no-frills brand, the breakfast was very very good and the variety offered was a lot. The highlight for me was the healthy Ragi dosa option that is also considered to be a super food and it was crisp and tasty.
The staff in the restaurant were chirpy, cordial and encouraged us to try their speciality dishes likes aloo dum (potato curry) and pooris. Even the masala tea at the restaurant was a winner brewed perfectly to our taste.
There is an outdoor pool and a functional fitness room at the pool level.
Apart from this the hotel has many kinds of dining options. The hotel had Estia, a full service Mediterranean restaurant that is done up in a manner that reminded me of Greece, It was closed during the morning, so we never managed to try it out. The WXYZ bar which operates across all Aloft hotels and serves drinks and appetizers was also there.
Since Aloft is built for Gen Y there is also a fourth Grab N’ Go deli option where one can grab a sandwich, salad and a beverage while on the go. Surprisingly, the Grab N’ Go counter in the hotel only had some chips and chocolates stocked. Which is very different from the offerings we had the Aloft in Kuala Lumpur where there were hot items like Biryani and Nasi Lemak available as well.
The hotel is located off the main road in the IT district of Whitefield in Bengaluru. The plus point is that it that there is no noise in and around the hotel a negative is that there is no eating option available right outside. We stepped out for dinner and had to walk about 10 mins to get to the nearest mall that had umpteen number of restaurants. On the way back we got caught up in the rain, and umm, had a hard time getting back with all the cars and other commute options drying up.
This is a SPG category 1 hotel where a night’s stay is priced at an average of INR 4,500 plus taxes and a free night can be redeemed for 3,000 Starpoints.
Overall we were happy with our stay at the Aloft. As much as I look forward to staying in unique properties like the JW Marriott Mussoorie and the W Goa, it’s sometimes nice to check into a hotel and know exactly what to expect. This is was my second stay at an Aloft hotel and I am beginning to grow fond of the brand consistency.
Have you stayed at Aloft hotels? What do you think of the brand?