My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting.
- Lobby & Check-in
- Hotel Space / Ambiance
- Food & Drink
Highlights: Aloft San Francisco Airport
Ah Aloft. How this chain vexes me. The highlight of this hotel and stay was probably their proactive and reactive service. As in, how they respond to me after I bring up concerns and issues with my stay. This is either the third or fourth Aloft stay with Internet issues.
Also, a highlight (albeit negative) is this is the first time that I have checked out early and unnecessarily. I had late checkout until 4pm, but with a non-functional or dysfunctional internet, I did not want to spend any more time in the room. Of course, these airport hotels (and Alofts) in general cater to business travelers. While they are improving their internet, I would avoid this for now.
Lobby & Check-in
Standard configuration of WXYZ bar, lounge area, and circular check in. Breakfast area of to the side. Very reminiscent of previous designs in the mood lighting and layout.
Check-in did not go smoothly. Breakfast was restricted to cold foods only, with hot made-to-order items an extra charge. This is different than previous Aloft stays. Sometimes they can only offer cold items, but to upcharge Platinum guests for hot food is different.
No free drinks were available or offered. Typically when I ask they are more than happy to offer, but this hotel steadfastly refused. Afterwards, at the next hotel (Westin San Francisco Airport), I learned that the city of Millbrae (where the Aloft and Westin are) outlaws free drinks.
As I later mentioned to the GM, notifying guests of this when asking for the free drink amenity, is worlds different than just saying no.
Ultimately, I did not feel like my loyalty to the Starwood chain was valued here.
A standard King room I believe, smaller than previous experiences (the double queens of Baltimore) LINK. Same layout, design, and amenities as previous Alofts. Note only one bottle of Dasani was present.
Also, due to the asymmetry of the building (one long, long building) it was a far walk to our room. Bring your walking shoes.
Upon check in to our room the internet clocked in at 5.5MB. Not bad. However it cut out about 9:30 for a half hour, after which it repeatedly cut in and out, but mostly out. Not useful for either of us, and a failure on behalf of a business hotel.
Late evening (11pm+) it seemed to be functional again.
Hotel Space / Ambiance
Caters to business travelers (Airport hotel) as well as young professionals. It also has a nice lounge area where I can see families enjoying themselves.
Parking is $25/day (again, no space!) with unlimited entry and exit. If you stay, you should get a paper from the front desk to display on dashboard before going in or out of the parking lot. It was only after we got our second parking lot ticket that they told us that our key would work.
I would highly recommend retraining the customer service associates to inform guests of the essentials, rather than relying on the parking attendant to tell me what I need to do (get a paper from front desk).
Additionally, there is two hour parking validation for those enjoying the WXYZ bar.
Food & Drink
Breakfast was cold items. After I spoke with the GM about my concerns, she offered me the hot foods, but I wanted to grab things and go. Additionally, she brought me a bag for my items and did not ring me up. Usually, you are limited to $15 or $20 per person in items.
Their re:charge gym was larger than expected for an airport Aloft. I would say it’s roughly 50% larger than other Aloft gyms I have seen, with ~3 each of bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals.
However, the pool was small, which is probably to be expected. Due to the constraints of Northern California, space is a prevalent issue.
There is a free shuttle to the SFO airport, as well as to nearby Millbrae and Burlingame downtowns.
I emailed a Guest Services manager and spoke with the General Manager the next morning about my issues. As a category 5 hotel, this Aloft costs between 12,000 and 16,000 points. It would not be worth it even if there were no issues. I sincerely hope Starwood revalues LINK this property to a category 4, at the least. Compared to the category 5 Westin right next door, from where I am writing this, there is simply no comparison (on a redemption night basis).
Due to previous poor Aloft experiences I most likely will not be coming back to the chain.
I did want to point out the nuggets of good service I got from the GM – who gave me a bag for my breakfast items, and umbrella due to the rain. That was very nice, and very much appreciated.
Featured Image is the exterior of the Aloft San Francisco Airport, from the hotel website.
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