The aloft brand will feature "urban-inspired loft-like" guestrooms, a lounge and room amenities such as a workspace with an mp3docking station, a flat panel television and oversizedwalk-in-showers. Five company-owned sites in Lexington, MA, Tuscon,AZ, San Francisco Airport, Philadelphia and Cherry Creek, CO, arein various stages of entitlements or development for aloft hotels.Company officials expect the first hotels to break ground in early2006 and open in early 2007. They also anticipate the developmentof 500 aloft Hotels by 2012.

"We are building on our success and lessons learned from W andreinventing the category," says Stephen J. Heyer, Starwood's chiefexecutive officer. "aloft will offer travelers a radical departureand a welcome, refreshing alternative to what's currently outthere." David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group, which designed theKodak Theater, Nobu and the W Union Square, are collaborating onthe aloft brand design.

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John Jordan

John Jordan is a veteran journalist with 36 years of print and digital media experience.