Of Youth and Style: Aloft Austin

Austin, TX is the answer to the hipster’s cry for something other than 10-gallon hats, massive steaks and cowboy country. Starwood’s Aloft Austin at the Domain hotel is no different. Completed in Spring 2010, this 86,569-square-foot property sought to (and managed to) retain the elements of Austin’s youthful vibe and trendy reputation.

“Austin has led the country in green initiatives and we wanted our project to fulfill that commitment,” says Don Marvin, executive vice president development and construction of LodgeWorks, L.P., the owner of the property. “Starwood designed the Aloft product with high sensitivity to sustainability, which made it a perfect choice for the setting.” Aloft Austin has received an “Austin Green” designation as part of the total development.

The hotel sits in The Domain, a complex that has breathed life back into a tired industrial campus. Today this urban development offers up a bevy of retail, dining and entertainment venues that sit in a landscaped, pedestrian-friendly, open-air lifestyle center.

“Our charge was to deliver a hotel project that represented the best of the capital city’s burgeoning growth with a mindful eye to the progressive and hip sense that defines Austin,” says Marvin.

The key was to take the Aloft prototype and fuse it cohesively with the style of Austin. Fortunately, Austin embodies much of what the Aloft brand is about: contemporary, outdoor living with a strong sense of environmental consciousness and youthful flavor.

In Marvin’s opinion, the pool and courtyard area is the key feature that brought Aloft’s style together with the Domain’s style of outside living design. One element that contradicts the Aloft prototype is the exterior design.

This property opted for brick soldier courses instead of the standard prototype bands on the exterior wall. This permitted the architect to keep the horizontal appearance of the property while meeting the city’s brick requirements.

Aloft is targeted at a younger demographic, which is perfect for Austin. The public spaces of the hotel have a loft-like design that is palatable to a trendy, younger crowd. The design includes high, exposed and floating ceilings.

To combat the sound reverberation common in loft spaces, the large amount of hard ceiling surfaces were broken up by using various floating ceilings at a variety of heights. Multiple levels and various seating offer space for communal mingling. The materials used were ones you would typically find in a loft space, highlighted with clean straight lines, but the warm tones and fabrics give off a more inviting tone.

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