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WHITE PLAINS-Officials with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and its W Hotels luxury brand, revealed the official name of their new affordable select-service suburban franchise concept–aloft Hotels. The yet-to-be named concept was announced this past June at the New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference.

The aloft brand will feature “urban-inspired loft-like” guest rooms, a lounge and room amenities such as a workspace with an mp3 docking station, a flat panel television and oversized walk-in-showers. Five company-owned sites in Lexington, MA, Tuscon, AZ, San Francisco Airport, Philadelphia and Cherry Creek, CO, are in various stages of entitlements or development for aloft hotels. Company officials expect the first hotels to break ground in early 2006 and open in early 2007. They also anticipate the development of 500 aloft Hotels by 2012.

“We are building on our success and lessons learned from W and reinventing the category,” says Stephen J. Heyer, Starwood’s chief executive officer. “aloft will offer travelers a radical departure and a welcome, refreshing alternative to what’s currently out there.” David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group, which designed the Kodak Theater, Nobu and the W Union Square, are collaborating on the aloft brand design.

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