|Review: Aloft Montevideo|
|View all: Reviews • Travel Talk|
We arrived in Uruguay’s capital city at about 9pm, and took an Uber from the Tres Cruces bus terminal to Punta Carretas, where many of the city’s higher-end hotels are located. As I noted in the last installment, this area is a bit of a hike from where Montevideo’s main tourist attractions are clustered, so be prepared to use Uber or taxis to get around.
The Aloft Montevideo is located steps away from Punta Carretas Shopping, one of the city's largest shopping centres and the main point of interest in this neighbourhood. It’s also right across the street from the Sheraton Montevideo, another property you can choose if you’re a Starwood loyalist.
The two hotels’ exteriors couldn’t be more distinct – the Sheraton’s drab beige cladding contrasts directly with the bright lights emanating from the Aloft’s glass facade.
The Aloft brand aims to put a funky and modern twist on the usual convenience and affordability of boutique hotels; in fact, Starwood describes it as “a vision of W Hotels”, which tells you all you need to know. It was my first time staying at an Aloft and I was curious to see what the experience would be like.
As you enter the hotel, the check-in hub is located in front of you, with the rest of the hotel’s lobby lounge, bar, and cafe spread out in the open space in front of you.
The lobby lounge has a great communal vibe, and it almost feels like the common area in a hostel. I saw many travellers hanging out in the seating area, playing pool, or enjoying a drink together at the bar during the brief time I spent down here.
As part of the branding, Aloft hotels tend to go heavy on the colours, the bright lights, and the lingo. For example, the lobby bar is named “WXYZ”, exactly the same as what you’d find in a W.
Meanwhile, the cafe is located in the opposite corner. There’s a small breakfast buffet in the morning, although as an SPG Gold Elite member I’m not entitled to free breakfast, so we declined the option upon checking in. There’s also a grab-and-go station – known as Re:fuel – for those of you who are eager to get out there and start exploring the city.
We headed up to our abode for the night, Room 1205. Interestingly, the 12th floor is designated as “SPG Level” – presumably for SPG Elite members – although I’m not sure if there was anything particular about the rooms that set them apart.
Coming into the room, you’ll find a small foyer followed by the spacious bedroom, in which the king bed faces the back of the room. Is it just me, or are we seeing more hotel rooms being designed in this way nowadays, with the bed placed facing the windows instead of along one of the side walls?
The king bed provided us with a very comfortable night of sleep. In keeping with the Aloft brand’s image, I found the hotel’s design philosophies to be spot on in every way, like how the decorative pillows on the bed matched the artwork on the wall. I imagine the artwork varies from room to room as well, and so too would the pillows.
I quite liked how the various pieces of furniture worked together along the back wall. Two desks sandwich a wooden bench, bringing together a sitting area and a working space in one unified design.
I was delighted to find a small welcome amenity consisting of a selection of deli meats and cheeses. However, I also wasn’t sure how long it had been sitting out here – I’m pretty sure I hadn’t indicated my intended check-in time of 9pm, so it could’ve been quite a few hours – and so didn’t eat it out of caution.
Nonetheless, the gesture was very much appreciated, and certainly above and beyond my expectations coming in to my first stay at an Aloft property.
Also located on the desk was a set of universal power ports, which always comes in handy.
The bathroom was very impressive as well. The limited space that’s available is utilized to great effect, with mirrors – including a full-length one mounted on the bathroom’s sliding door – in place to make the area feel bigger.
Furthermore, the shower had excellent water pressure, the towels were nice and fuzzy, and there were equally fuzzy bathrobes in the closet. There’s some full-service hotels out there that don’t even provide bathrobes, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a pair of nice ones here at an Aloft property.
There’s also a small pantry located opposite the sink area that contained a coffee maker. Again, I was impressed by the amenities in the room as compared to my expectations for this hotel – after all, there wasn’t so much as a kettle, let alone a coffee maker, in the Sheraton Buenos Aires, which on brand name alone you'd expect to be much nicer.
I loved pretty much everything about the room, and found it to be a perfect fit for our one-night stay. The in-room amenities went above and beyond what I expected, and it was clear that plenty of thought went into the design, all of which made for a very satisfying stay.
Before turning in for the night, Jessica and I went to the Disco supermarket right next door to pick up some snacks. On our way back, we enjoyed a game of pool down in the lobby, before I took a few moments to have a peek at the hotel’s other amenities.
The hotel fitness centre – known as Re:charge in the Aloft lingo – is located on the second floor. It’s a rather bare-bones setup with the basic cardio machines, a single exercise machine, and free weights. There’s also three TV screens – surprisingly many for a small gym like this.
Meanwhile, up on the top floor of the hotel is where you’ll find the hotel's modest-sized swimming pool.
Also up here is some kind of private event space that looks quite nice, but was locked when I tried to enter it. The next morning, Jessica and I actually managed to gain access out of curiosity, but a member of the hotel staff quickly came up to inform us that the area was off-limits.
That little escapade proved to be the final action of our stay, since we headed promptly for our Uber ride to see some of Montevideo’s main points of interest before heading back to Buenos Aires later that day.
The Aloft Montevideo was a very enjoyable place to spend a night, and I’d have no hesitation returning to the hotel on my next visit to Uruguay. The guest rooms are cleverly designed and well-appointed with amenities, while the lobby offers plenty of activities to keep you occupied and opportunities for socializing with other travellers. Moreover, I’m glad to have discovered what the Aloft brand is all about, and I have to say I quite like what I’m seeing so far and may well be scoping out other Aloft properties on my future travels.