Starwood's aloft brand is still somewhat new. It is a division of W, but targets a different market segment. More than other Starwood brands (and perhaps because they are new), aloft hotels tend to be very standardized with many features that are identical from one property to another. In the following discussion, to avoid repetition I will avoid use of qualifying words such as generally, frequently, etc. which should be understood. The generalizations and opinions expressed below are based on my own experiences and might well admit exceptions. Clientele: Aloft customers tend to be young and well educated. A manager once recited some statistics about their demographic to me which I won't try to reproduce, but I remember themes such as high tech/IT industry, income level (high for the age distribution), and Morris Mini or Prius owners. Sometimes the other guests seem to be extremely young and the hotel can resemble a very nice and trendy college dorm. Insulation isn't great, so noise can be a problem. The same manager also told me that they would prefer that guests only use their rooms for sleeping, showering, and dressing, spending the rest of their time in the lobby lounge, either socializing or using laptops. Physical description: Aloft buildings have a distinctive two-tone grey and silver exterior. They tend to be about four stories high, frequently L-shaped with a protected courtyard area. They are located near airports or in suburban areas, sometimes on the edge of downtown but they will not be found in downtown neighborhoods where land is extremely expensive. Windows and mechanicals (noisy window heat and AC systems) are standardized. Rooms: Standard hotel rooms have one or two beds, a desk with outlets and a light, a second table/shelf in front of the window, desk chairs, and bedside tables. They are decorated in dark/bright colors and fabrics using stripes. There is an alarm clock (fancy retro style) and a flatscreen TV with remote and standard cable channels. The entry area has a sink and storage hanging areas on the way to the bathroom (toilet and shower stall with toiletry dispensers). There is no door of any sort on the closet. Soap and glasses are provided. Toiletries aren't especially unique or luxurious. Rooms are equipped with coffee makers and coffee supplies. There is a dorm-sized cube refrigerator under the sink. A few magazines are in the room; more are available in the lobby. Amenities: Aloft hotels have small indoor pools (about 3-5 feet deep) oriented toward adults with a fun and stylish pool area. There is a moderate health club with up to date exercise machines. The lobby has a variety of seating styles and games; it includes a stylish bar and some self-service computer stations. The front desk is in the center of an area rather than backed up against a wall. A small market area with cold packaged items and a microwave and coffee machine are present. Services: This is not meant to be a full service hotel, but they provide what is necessary for younger business and leisure travellers. There is no full restaurant, although the bar may offer snacks in addition to the market items. Some (but not all) hotels have a "room service" arrangement with an interesting nearby restaurant to deliver takeout food to rooms; you may find a menu for this in the room. (Examples include a Japanese sushi restaurant with a varied menu and a fish house and it seems acceptable to consume outside food in the lobby but YMMV.) I haven't tried to find pressing, laundry, and dry cleaning services but my guess would be yes if you bring the items to the front desk. Luggage storage is no problem. There may be airport transportation. Self-service parking is available depending on the constraints of the location. Staff are young, willing, and friendly, but should not be confused with concierge professionals. Platinum recognition: Do not expect upgrades: essentially all rooms are identical, although I've always had rooms in preferred locations (view, floor, quiet location). Standard Plat amenity is 250 SPG points. However, I'm usually given some sort of minor welcome token, such as a snack bar or Starbucks beverage with a handwritten welcome note, which is a nice touch. I've never has an issue regarding the 4 pm checkout time. Overall: Do not expect the style, luxury or service of a W. The aloft brand can be a great value and fun, but it is not suitable for everyone.