Introduction to the Aloft Baltimore Washington Airport (BWI)
Like all non-city Alofts I have been to, this one is laid out in exactly the same way, with a W XYZ bar, hip seating areas, and a circular check-in. It seems to cater to millennials, and perhaps young professionals, with its stylishness and boutique atmosphere. I stayed here a few months ago as a Starwood Gold guest, and, overall, had a very negative experience, with many separate issues, some more jarring and discomforting than others. The one relevant to this review was the internet – previously I was able to clock it at 1.4MB/s, a very slow speed which inhibited my work as I attempted to send attachments and update folders on a company network.
My Second Chance Experience
I decided to give the Aloft Baltimore a second chance at a good impression. This time, as both my lady and I had to do work, it was the first thing I checked upon entry. However, it was too slow for me even to run a speed test this time around. After multiple calls and discussions with Guest-Tek, purportedly the internet service provider for the hotel, they told me that internet service is better “on the even number side” of the hotel. Wonderful, 50% of the hotel is miserable, so imagine if the hotel occupancy dropped by 50%! They would be out of business.
The Internet Saga Continues!
Finally, after an hour of talk, they informed me that support service to the hotel had been “suspended” as of the previous year. Thus, they were unable to help me and suggested calling the front desk for assistance. Why they could not tell me that earlier befuddles me. When notifying the front desk of my situation, they transferred me to a different number at Guest-Tek, who also confirmed that service had been suspended to the hotel and they could not assist me further.
At this point it had been over an hour of my time wasted. I called my SPG Platinum Concierge and spent another 30 minutes notifying them of the situation, canceling my second night at the Aloft Baltimore, and rebooking myself at the Westin Baltimore nearby. This terrible ordeal and second poor experience has permanently coloured my opinion of this hotel brand.
The room was standard, two queens (as they are a tad bigger than a normal 1 king room) with a nice view of a treeline out the window.
Food & Drink
Platinum breakfast was a severe disappointment. At checkin, they told us the vouchers were redeemable at either the W XYZ bar, or at their Re:fuel grab and go stop. However, in the morning they said we could only use at Re:fuel, and additionally that they were out of hot foods. I was looking forward to a well prepared omelette, but we had to satisfy ourselves with cold cereal and pastries.
The Aloft Baltimore had both a gym and pool. Having previously used the gym, it was adequate for an airport hotel, but still quite small. When I went to the Westin Baltimore the next day, their gym by comparison was much larger and impressive.
My SPG Platinum Concierge assured me that the hotel would reach out to me and would be refunding my second night’s stay, as we left a day early. Although I had to call and follow up on this request, they ultimately did refund my stay and award me some courtesy points for their issues. I plan to reach out to their manager and convey the details of my experience personally, so that they can better prepare for future issues with guests. The 3,000-4,000 Starpoints difference (per night) for the Westin Baltimore is worth it, without a doubt.
Edit: I have spoken with the GM of the Aloft BWI and conveyed my experience. He mentioned they have recently acquired the hotel and are working out a lot of structural and personnel issues, with a remodeling coming in January. He and I had a productive discussion and I am open to the possibility of returning down the line.
Featured Image is the exterior of the Aloft Baltimore Washington Airport, from the hotel website.
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