As featured in Indie Entertainment Magazine.
Imagine you’re at a concert. Make the crowd smaller. Smaller still. Now get rid of the stage. The band is playing right in front of you. Close enough to see guitarist’s fingers dancing on the frets. You’re standing next to someone important; you hope they think you’re important. There’s a fancy drink in your hand. Its name sounded cool and made you feel classy. But wait– it gets better.
Imagine you didn’t just wander in off the streets. This is in a hotel lobby. Your hotel lobby. No taxi, no Uber– just an elevator trip away from your room where you’ll be making pillow forts on your king sized bed after the show. What could make this all better? Oh yeah. It’s free. You heard me– free. As in no cover charge. Spend those dollars on fancy drinks, not admission, you important person.
This was my experience last week at the Aloft hotel in Seattle. Since 2008, Aloft hotels have been hosting a live series featuring acoustic performances from rising artists. These performances are open to the public and are as close to a private venue as you could get. Plus, the Aloft staff make you feel like a legitimate VIP, even when you’re just a plebe like me.
As far as intimate acoustic performances go, the Aloft Live series takes the cake. I’ve been to a lot of small venue concerts before but none like this. I was fortunate enough to have ZZ Ward be my first Aloft Live artist. Her unique bluesy sound and down to earth feel was perfect for the swanky atmosphere Aloft is trying to conjure.
And like a colorful chic sorceress, conjure it they do. I felt like I was in a TV show half the time. I was surrounded by beautiful people dressed much fancier than I was. Were they genuinely important or were they just as normal as I am? It didn’t matter. It felt like we were all important. One moment I’m rubbing shoulders with the Event’s Manager the next I’m small talking with ZZ Ward fans. But there was no difference in tone or conversation. Everyone there mattered. This intimate atmosphere is worth the price of admission which I kept forgetting was free– an unbelievable deal.
I don’t think I can really oversell the intimacy of the event either. There could not have been more than 50 people. Which is mind blowing considering it was a free event. Everywhere you stood had a good view and a good sound. And unless you found yourself behind an exceptionally tall human, you almost always have direct line of sight to the stage. But what really sells the intimacy is the proximity. Most of the audience is only feet away from the stage. To an outside observer, this could have been the performance of a close friend.
Once the show was done there was a little meet and greet with ZZ Ward above the stage. While waiting our turn in line, fellow contributor and I treated ourselves to dessert from the bar. Aloft’s commitment to making you feel special is evident in the fact that I’ve never had a fancier cookie in my life. We then briefly interviewed ZZ Ward, which you can read more about here(insert hyperlink). And then the night was done.
It probably goes without saying that I am hooked on Aloft’s Live series. If I had known that they had hosted some of my favorites like The Lumineers, Ed Sheeren, or Colbie Caillat, I would’ve been hooked years ago. Check out Aloft’s schedule to see who will be playing in the coming months.
If I stopped at Aloft’s Live series, I’d be selling the experience short. The other half to the whole weekend was the stay at the hotel itself. Not only does Aloft know how to put on a show, but clearly they know how to do hotels. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
A weekend getaway for me usually involves a healthy dose of dirt, sleeping bags, and campfires. I’m a dirty filthy hippie in my heart. A good vacation, for me, involves smelling like I’ve been hiking all day and zero mattresses. So my baseline is set pretty low. That being said, the Aloft made me feel like a King.
Before I even get to my room I’m handed a door tag that tells housekeeping to skip my room. Aloft strives to have a low environmental impact. If they don’t have to use the energy to wash the towels you didn’t use, they pass the savings onto you. For every night I have that tag on my door I get a $5 voucher for the bar. They immediately got hippie bonus points from me.
I then walk into my room. The colorful chic vibe from downstairs extends itself to the rooms. While others find this color too much, I heartily disagree. Most hotels have neutral AKA emotionless colors on everything. Aloft’s colorful approach brings a sense of fun and playfulness to the whole thing. It’s really quite enjoyable.
My stay at Aloft got bumped up a notch when I found a king sized bed. All for me. Tentatively I spread myself across it. I’ve been scorned before by hotel beds that looked too good to be true. But dammit, Aloft did it again– the mattress was just the right ratio of firm and soft. I could sleep on this. And I did. Happily.
Then it came time to take a shower. Oddly enough, showers are kind of a sweet spot for me. A cruddy shower can really tank an enjoyable experience but a good shower is like the cherry on top. Aloft’s showers have no curtains, no slippery tubs, just an awesome floor to ceiling clear glass partition. Call me crazy, but I love these. Normal showers with curtains or that cloudy glass make a shower feel like a cave. Aloft’s showers feel open and breathable. Plus, they have done away with the disposable soaps and shampoos. Affixed to the shower wall are push dispensers. Each comes with a label explaining how they are ocean sourced environmentally friendly soaps. Hippie bonus point multiplier x2.
And on the entertainment front, there is a wall mounted LCD flat screen at the foot of the bed. Basic cable is provided as well as an HBO package. Don’t want any of that? No problem. Just cast anything from your mobile device onto the screen. I watched YouTube and Netflix every night.
Remember that atmosphere they conjured for the Live series? It isn’t exclusive to the Live series. A real factor to this is the outdoor patio common area. When I wandered out to this patio I felt like I had stepped into a magazine or something. Imagine a backyard garden area for sipping wine and chuckling with dinner guests. A wooden pathway guides you subtly around the patio. Numberless native plants line the walkway and sitting areas. There is covered and uncovered seating so when the Seattle rains start falling, you don’t have to sacrifice your patio experience. Plus an outdoor plant covered roof area helps cut down on energy usage. Hippie bonus point multiplier x3.
And I can’t say enough about the staff. The whole weekend I felt like a genuine VIP. I’ve never been called Mr. Daniels before. I gotta say, I don’t hate it. When a package came for me, I found it delivered to my room. There was always met with smile and friendliness, and not to mention good restaurant recommendation.
Between the hotel and ZZ Ward’s performance, I had an unforgettable weekend. Aloft receives a very high hippie bonus score, a phenomenal atmosphere bonus score, and a soaring hospitality bonus score. If you want to feel important, hear good free live music, and be easy on the environment while you do it, Aloft Hotels are the place to be.