One of the most popular posts of 2008 on this site was about my visit to the then-new Aloft hotel in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. In it, I detailed some of the cool amenities this Starwood concept offered.
So when Aloft suggested that we start our California tour back in Rancho I though: Why not?
Let’s start with what I don’t like. When I checked in, I learned that we’ll miss Aloft’s second-anniversary party. And from the looks of it, these guys really know how to party.
Then again, we’re traveling with three kids, I don’t know how much of a party we can handle.
Aloft’s Rancho property has aged well. It is as hip as ever, yet at the same time accessible. (By accessible, I meant that a hypothetical family of five doesn’t feel outclassed when it checks in.)
As I mentioned in my first post about Aloft, I’m impressed with the way in which it’s reinvented the hotel lobby. It’s not so much of a lobby as it is a living room, with a pool table, a bar, sofas and a check-in desk that looks more like a concession area.
The other thing I appreciate, as a traveler with a large entourage, is the minimalism of Aloft. The showers are uncluttered, with dispensers for shampoo and gel (saves on packaging) and the decor is spare but functional. Simple is good.
I’m not sure if could have ever envisioned a property like Aloft being built just down the road from the site of my second newspaper internship in 1988. Back then, this area was filled with old orange groves, vineyards and a tiny airport. Today, it’s the site of one of the largest malls in the United States, the groves and vineyards are almost all gone, and there’s a bustling new airport.
I still feel like I’m in Europe when I walk through the doors of Aloft. Or maybe at the very least, SoHo. It’ll take me a while to get used to this being Southern California.