The new Aloft Hotel in downtown Asheville at 51 Biltmore Ave is nearing completion, and Xpress recently took a behind-the-scenes tour.
Although it's still bustling with construction workers and building materials, Sales Manager Sarah Bender Hope reports that the hotel is set to open for business on Aug. 23.
Approved by Asheville City Council in early 2011, the project has a controversial history. At that time, opponents to the project argued that it didn't make financial sense and would be out of step with the area. In more recent days, McKibbon Hotel Group, which owns Aloft, is also the subject of similar criticism as it seeks approval for building another downtown Asheville hotel across from the St. Lawrence Basilica.
However, Hope says that she's hopeful about the response Aloft will get when it opens its doors — from travelers, local residents and downtown business owners alike.
"We're known for a lot of color and vibrance. … It's more of an urban style than other hotels downtown but still fits in," she says, noting that the Aloft brand caters to "lifestyle" travelers between the ages of 25 and 45.
"It'll be fun to see Asheville branch out. Economic development is a good thing," she adds. The 51 Biltmore project will eventually include apartments, parking and additional retail space.
Here's a sneak peak at what awaits guests at the hotel:
The main gathering space near the hotel's "W xyz" bar features colorful decor and access to an outdoor patio with nice views of Biltmore Avenue. It also includes a big fireplace. Hope says the lounge will regularly feature live entertainment, including local bands and DJs. The bar will also serve local beers, she adds.
All of the hotel's rooms feature copies of this mountain panorama piece done by local artist Stephen Lange. Each room has large windows that face West toward views of Mount Pisgah or East with views of Biltmore Avenue.
The hotel suites include jacuzzi bath tubs placed in the center of the room to provide easy TV viewing directly from the tub. Each room also big windows and either west facing views of Mount Pisgah or east facing views of Biltmore Avenue. Room rates will vary widely, between $159 and $350 for standard rooms; suites will cost more, according to Hope.
There's a small saltwater pool and a big surrounding patio on the Lexington Avenue side above the parking deck, with views of Mount Pisgah. The area includes an outside cabana bar and fire pit.
Much of the inside mirrors the brightly striped motif of the outside awning.
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