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**Aloft Beijing, “Sassy Savy Space” for the Young

Imagine arriving at an upscale Beijing hotel where you will sleep for the night and discovering that things are beyond your ordinary travel or hotel experience. There is no doorman or valet service to encumber your entry. Upon entering the lobby, there are stylish couches comfortably positioned. And there is a pool table, surrounded by players and observers. Continue your exploration, and you will find an open bar and an area off to the side, stocked with cold and hot beverages, fruit and snacks where you are free to pick up anything to curb your pangs of thirst and hunger. The music you hear in the background is not your common classical or remixed muzak, but new wave sounds by up-and-coming world artists. Once you get to the centre of the lobby, you will find the information island where the first greeting you hear is “aloha.”

This is not a dream, nor has Beijing gone Hawaiian; it simply means that Starwood Hotels, an American firm, has created a brand new hotel concept in their newest brand, aloft. Beijing, being a world-class city with extraordinary growth and energy, much like what aloft represents, has been chosen by Starwood to be inaugural city for its launch of its first aloft hotel in the world. It is targeted to open by the 2008 Games, located in Haidian District, near the Yansha Jinyuan Shopping Complex.

“Our mission with aloft is to bring style, convenience and a social environment to an otherwise tired, lonely experience, all at a great price,” said Brian McGuinness, vice-president of aloft and element hotels. “Sassy Savvy Space” is what the aloft staff calls their establishment. aloft has worked with contemporary designers, such as David Rockwell, to customize features that will stimulate a guest’s senses, offering atmospheric public spaces designed to draw guests from their rooms to socialize and make friends.

Guests can read the paper, work on their laptops via hotel-wide wireless Internet access, play a game of pool or grab a drink with friends at the “re:mix” communal lobby area and bar “w xyz.” The “re:charge” fitness centre and “splash,” the indoor pool, give travellers options to relax and re-energize. “re:fuel” by aloft, is a one-stop food and beverage area, offering sweet, savoury and healthy food, snacks and beverages for guests to grab and go, 24-hours a day.

Everything about aloft has been created, maximized and minimized to be more in tune with how their guests want to feel when they travel. aloft wants to ensure that their guests have a good experience in Beijing, including their hotel stay.

(btmbeijing.com March18, 2008)

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