This hote's official open date was Thursday, August 23; my wife, dog, daughter and I checked in on a two night award stay on Friday, August 24. The hotel is new construction right on Biltmore Avenue. I'm not that familiar with Asheville (and this trip didn't change that) so I can't say if it is a good location with certainty, but it seemed like it. The Four Points and Renaissance were on the other side of downtown, closer to I-240. There are plenty of places to eat and drink and shop within an easy walk of the hotel. There is a very small lane in the street outside the hotel where you can park while checking in. If you intend to use the parking garage ($5.00 per day for hotel guests) you might as well park the car in the garage while you check in. There is one entrance from the garage to the hotel: floor 1. The first floor of the hotel is only used for checkins, but there is another checkin desk on floor 2. There are six floors total. As to be expected, there was quite a bit of learning and confusion going on at checkin. The lady in front of me was checking in and pre-paying with cash (?) and that really slowed things down. Eventually, I got checked in and was asked if I wanted the points or breakfast (took breakfast). I was given a little card good for breakfast for two for two days as well as a singular sip card that was supposedly good for two drinks per day for two days, and I was told they are only giving one out per room per stay but the card would be punched by the barista. We were upgraded to a mountain view room on the 6th floor. My guess is that this got us a little more peace and quiet since the other side of the hotel overlooked Biltmore Avenue. The room doors and elevators are all chip technology, whatever that is called. It worked very inconsistently. I had two keys personally and they were each about 50%. I ran into a guy who said his company "built this hotel" and they did not like whatever brand it was that had been installed...he was struggling with it as well. We get up to our room and find it smelling of new carpet and paint; not bad. The view is of the mountains, some churches and the pool down on floor 3. The pool: I somewhat question an outdoor pool in Asheville but think they more wanted to create atmosphere than anything else. It is fairly small and only 4.5 feet deep. There are towels and a shower outside. I'd never seen an Aloft with poolside rooms, but they had some. These had sliding doors and a small sitting area enclosed by walls on two sides with a curtain to close off the private patio area from the view of the pool. Each also had a ceiling fan. I'd personally avoid this room type, especially when they get the poolside bar opened up. That was also a first for me at an Aloft. There was plenty of seating around the pool. There was also a long narrow astro-turfed area for dogs to do their business. We used it b/c I figured it hadn't been used very much but in the future I'd likely take poochie out around the back of the hotel for some real grass that hasn't been used so often. There are poo-bags and a garbage can, as well as a hose with a spray nozel on it. The disturubting part of this is that there is only one direction for the water to go really, and that is right toward the pool. Back to the pool - it either is not heated or the heater had not yet been turned on; it was freezing. Even if it hadn't started to thunder and lightening, we'd have vacated after about 2 minutes due to the temperature of the water. The room is your standard Aloft room. It did seem smaller than the other Aloft rooms I've had, but I can't be sure. There was no bottled water - just a reusable pitcher with directions down the hallway to refill it. Refrigerator, ironing board, safe, hairdryer, YMCA shampoo dispensers, iPod dockable alarm clock, TV, cordless phone, coffee machine and so on...standard stuff. The only real problem we had with the room was that the shower leaked like crazy all over the floor. Other than that, everything was just fine. We hit the bar for drinks on Friday night; not a bad crowd. It was raining pretty hard by this time so that brought a lot of people in off the patio overlooking Biltmore Avenue. I had a bad bartender. I wanted an IPA and he suggested an ESB instead; I went with it but this is Asheville isn't it? Beer is king?! I also ordered a top shelf margarita; that's where he really started to flub. I knew something wasn't right b/c he was very secretive about mixing it under the counter or with his back completely blocking anyone from seeing him struggle to find the sour mix or Patron bottle (pretty distinctive shape if you're a bartender, no?). In the end, I took the bitter minty tasting margarita back and had the charge taken off my bill. While we didn't try any, they had some nice hot and cold munchies on the menu. After dinner (Mellow Mushroom) I went back for another beer and a margarita. I went to a different bartender and the drink was actually very good. In the morning, I hit the workout facility. Two each of bikes, elypticals (sp?) and treadmills plus some free weights and a machine or two. Towels, headphones, water and a TV...pretty standard stuff. It is down on the 2nd floor overlooking Biltmore Avenue. I grabbed a free paper and cup of coffee on my way back up to the room where I found my daughter sick (icky sick). Plans changed: get wife and I breakfast, pack up, check out early and go home. The menu for breakfast was a bit too foo-foo for me so I had them make a custom breakfast sandwich: scrambled egg, bacon, cheddar on sour dough. It came with a small cup of fruit. It should have been $10.00 but was comped with my Plat breakfast cert. I also ordered a fancy coffee drink for the mrs. which was also free thanks to the sip card. The lady who took my order was confused on how to ring up the food or drink, and wanted to keep both of the cards. She went over to the checkin desk on the same floor (2nd) and they explained it to her. The food was very good actually. I forgot the other stuff on the menu but eggs and pancakes were present as well as a veg choice. There were a lot of people that I assume to be Starwood ee's around. They were helping, watching, stepping in and really making things run smoothly. I really expected to have some problems during the stay and we had a few minor ones, but overall it was really very smooth. Now, we'll see if the Plat Concierge can get me half of my points refunded for checking out early! Happy to try to answer any questions.