- The Aloft Downtown Dallas is a clean and affordable hotel
- The Aloft brand is a value price point hotel that features design inspiration from the W Hotel brand
- It’s often better to pay for stays at Aloft Hotels rather than redeem Marriott Bonvoy Points due to their lower price point
- We received a complimentary upgrade from the base room to the biggest room with our Marriott Bonvoy Elite status
- This hotel is a great alternative to the more expensive luxury hotel options in Dallas
To the Point
If you ever find yourself needing to stay in Dallas, whether it’s to take care of business, have a night out on the town, or you’re stuck in DFW due to a trip delay, you might overlook this downtown Dallas hotel. While it doesn’t have the curb appeal of the W Dallas Victory and it isn’t steeped in history as The Adolphus, Autograph Collection hotel is, the Aloft Downtown Dallas delivers value at a completely reasonable price. If you’re looking for a clean hotel room, with a central downtown Dallas location, at a solid price, look no further than the Aloft Dallas Downtown! Now let’s check-in, and check it out!
In This Post
- Pros vs Cons
- Booking Strategy - How We Paid for the Stay
- Location, Location, Location
- The Check-In
- Room Experience
- Let’s Wine & Dine
- Notable Amenities
- Hotel Guest Service
- Changes Due to COVID-19
- The Final Point
Pros vs Cons
- Stylish Aloft vibe, with a more industrial than usual twist
- Clean rooms
- Great value for the location
- Hotel offers all of the basics
- Full gym with weights
- Swimming pool
- Painfully slow elevators
- The property feels a bit dated
- The swimming pool is basically located in the parking lot
- No hot breakfast or full dining options
Booking Strategy - How We Paid for the Stay
We’ve stayed at this hotel twice now. Our first stay was back in 2017 when the Aloft Downtown Dallas was an SPG property. Fast forward to 2020, and the hotel largely remains the same except that it’s now a Marriott Bonvoy property. We paid for our hotel stay with our American Express Bonvoy Brilliant card to earn 6X Bonvoy Points per dollar. Keep reading below if you want to know why we chose to pay instead of redeeming points. If not, skip ahead and read about the hotel’s location.
As a Marriott Category 4 property, it ranks in the value brands alongside Marriott Courtyards, Springhill Suites, Four Points, Fairfield, AC Hotels, and the newest trending brand in the group: the Moxy. This categorization is important when it comes to determining whether to use points or pay cash for your stay. Category 4 hotels have the following points range, based on the Marriott Points redemption chart:
Marriott Bonvoy - Category 4 Hotels
- Peak - 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points/Night
- Standard - 25,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points/Night
- Off-Peak - 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points/Night
Let’s use an example of a booking one week in advance in December 2020. For this night, we could choose to stay at the hotel for free by redeeming 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points:
For the same room type, on the same night, we could also pay $85 with all taxes and fees. Personally, we always prefer to book rates that have more flexibility than the prepay rate, but let’s play devil’s advocate and go with this extremely good cash rate for this example.
If we chose to redeem the 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points for a room that has an all-in cash rate of $85, then the match is as follows:
$85.00 / 20,000 Bonvoy Points = 0.00425/Bonvoy Points (0.425 CPP or Cent Per Point)
This would be a terrible redemption, as typically we can redeem Marriott Bonvoy Points at a rate of 1.0 CPP to 2.0 CPP+. ($0.01/Bonvoy Point to $0.02/Bonvoy Point). In general, these points are valued around 0.8 CPP to 1.0 CPP.
We booked our stay the same day for the Aloft Downtown Dallas in October 2020. We did this via the Marriott Bonvoy mobile application while we tried to figure out the situation with our flight delay in the DFW Admirals Club. (Interested in Admirals Club access? Check out the “Netflix of Lounge Access”, the Citibank AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard).
Our Aloft Guest Room, King cost us $117.16 all-in, with taxes and fees for our room. Since we were staying there due to a trip delay at DFW, our Platinum Card’s trip delay benefit was actually covering our hotel expense. To maximize the points earning opportunity, we put the $117.16 for the Aloft Downtown Dallas room on our American Express Bonvoy Brilliant card, which earns us 6X Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar we spend with Marriott Bonvoy. It’s worth noting that when using either the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card’s trip delay benefit, you can put your expenses on any card you’d like, and still file the claim for your delay.
That means that for the $117.16 hotel stay, we earned approximately 703 Bonvoy Points. As mentioned earlier, using the lower valuation of 0.8 CPP, that gives us a minimum cash value of $5.62 towards future Marriott stays. Not bad! Now that you know how we paid for our room, let’s talk about where the Aloft Downtown Dallas is located.
Location, Location, Location
Much like the name implies, this Aloft hotel is located in the heart of downtown Dallas. Its proximity to everything downtown Dallas has to offer at a fraction of the cost of its big brother, the W Dallas Victory, is a reason I’ve chosen to stay here multiple times.
This hotel conveniently within walking distance of delicious barbecue at the Pecan Lodge and the foodie area of the Deep Ellum district.
The hotel is located approximately 20 minutes from the Dallas Fort-Worth airport. This makes for a nice alternative to staying at one of the many airport hotels, that offer merely a room to sleep in and limited on-site and nearby dining options.
Now It’s Time to Check In
Once we arrived at the Aloft Downtown Dallas via Uber from DFW, we were quickly greeted by the front desk. There, our reservation was confirmed, we were thanked for our loyalty as Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite members, and upgraded to the biggest room at the hotel. More on that in a second.
There are a plethora of benefits for Platinum Elite members of the Marriott Bonvoy program, but the main ones we were looking for at the Aloft was the room upgrade and the complimentary breakfast. Since this Aloft’s breakfast options were limited to a more or less “grab-n-go” option, we opted for the 500 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points as our welcome gift. We don’t often do this, but since our game plan was to head straight to the DFW Centurion Lounge in the morning, it made more sense.
While the Aloft brand, in general, doesn’t offer any suites or crazy room upgrades, there are some properties that have unique rooms. The Aloft Downtown Dallas is one of these! Formerly a mill, some of the rooms are much larger than others. In fact, we received a complimentary upgrade from a standard guest room with a king-size bed to the Aloft Savy King Suite with a sofa bed!
After a painful wait for the elevators, we arrived on the 7th floor. To our surprise, our first room reeked of cigarette smoke. We felt bad, but since we don’t smoke, this was something that was unacceptable for us. We called down to the front desk and they were completely accommodating and moved us to another upgraded suite located on the sixth floor.
Once we arrived in the new room, we were pleasantly surprised! It had a somewhat awkward, yet highly productive nook when you entered to the right side. This area had a desk, chair, and TV. The perfect setup if you’re with your significant other and both trying to work remotely, as it provides a semi-private area to do so.
Moving further into the room was the bathroom on the right. There, we found an open-concept closet, a very small coffee maker with Starbucks coffee, a safe, and some basic hotel amenities. Across from that were the sink and mirror. It was clean and had a very modern design, but was a far cry from the “marble bathrooms” touted on the Aloft’s website. There may have been some marble on the countertops, but don’t expect a lavish experience like you might have at an EDITION Hotel, Ritz-Carlton, or St. Regis.
The shower and toilet were separated from the bathroom sink and vanity area by a sliding pocket door. I truly appreciate this, as it makes for a much more practical layout than when they go too far with the open concept design. Inside the bathroom, there were Bliss soap dispensers mounted to the shower, which reflects the overall price point of the hotel.
After the bathroom, the room completely opens up with a king-size bed, modern design, and very high ceilings. The overall room felt industrial, especially with the support columns located in the middle of our room. While the windows were expansive, they were offset just enough that we felt the light was someone limited. The room also featured an HDTV and a sofa, neither of which got much use during our quick stay.
Let’s Wine & Dine
The Aloft Downtown Dallas was navigating local COVID-19 restrictions during our stay. This meant that they were able to offer some basic grab and go options at the Re:fuel by Aloft area. This is really meant for snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and a quick DIY cappuccino.
Aloft’s have a solid reputation for their W XYZ Bars. We feel that this is really where the W Vision for the Aloft brand shines. From craft cocktails to draft beers, the W XYZ is always a solid place to get the night started or to wrap it up before heading to your room to rest.
Unfortunately during our stay, the W XYZ Bar was only open on the weekends, on Friday through Sunday. The hours were rather limited to the early afternoon and into the night, so if you’re looking for a Sunday brunch with mimosas, you’ll want to ask the front desk for a local recommendation. That said, the bartender we had after a night exploring the Deep Ellum district was incredibly nice and had fun creating craft cocktails that we never thought of trying.
If you’ve ever been to Texas in the summer, you know the heat can be brutal. What a better way to escape the heat than by taking a swim in the Aloft’s pool? While there’s no hot tub and the pool is rather small, it’s a great amenity that helps elevate this Aloft location above others.
The pool is located towards the back of the hotel, adjacent to the entrance to the gym. It jets out into the parking lot, which is less than ideal. That said, thanks to a nicely decorated wall, there is a sense of privacy and you really don’t feel like you’re “in the parking lot” as you might at other hotels in this category that also offer pools.
Since we were visiting during COVID, it was unclear whether the pool was open or closed, and it’s a bit of a stretch to expect that guests know the changes in local regulations.
We found the pool area was cluttered with chaise chairs that were stacked. I make it a goal to swim at every hotel that offers a pool, but since we were only there for a night and it wasn’t clear whether the pool was actually open, I had to skip my swim this time.
Surprisingly, the Aloft Downtown Dallas offers a full gym! Plenty of weights, machines, and cardio equipment. Don’t expect a Peloton Bike like the select Westins and EDITION Hotels offer, but it was more than enough to get a full workout in. Again, we found that there was a lack of clarity as to whether the gym was actually open to guests, what was required locally (masks on while working out?), but there was a notion that there should be social distancing inside the gym.
Hotel Guest Service
The service at the Aloft Downtown Dallas was on point. The front desk gave us a warm greeting, acknowledged and thanked us for our Marriott Bonvoy Elite status, and immediately let us know that he would be upgrading both of our rooms. During the smoke smell incident, the other gentlemen at the front desk took care of us swiftly.
The Aloft’s website mentions a “Concierge Desk”. In our experience, this was also the front desk. Being in Texas, we were craving some delicious barbeque for dinner. Knowing that most barbeque restaurants sell out by lunch time, we knew this request would be a stretch. The front desk mentioned two barbeque options that had the potential to still be serving around dinner time. One of these was the well-rated Pecan Lodge. I’d highly recommend checking out the Pecan Lodge whenever you’re staying in Dallas!
The next morning at checkout we wanted to make sure that the room folios were separated so that our two parties could pay for the rooms on their own cards. Since the other couple traveling with us doesn’t have an American Express Bonvoy Brilliant card, they wanted to use their Chase Sapphire Reserve card and earn the 3X Ultimate Reward points on their hotel stay. Additionally, it makes it less risky for any potential issues with filing their claim with the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s trip delay insurance.
The front desk gladly took care of our requests throughout our stay and before we knew it, we were Ubering back to the airport to check out the DFW American Express Centurion Lounge.
Changes Due to COVID-19
Here’s a list of what we found at the Aloft Downtown Dallas due to COVID-19:
- Masks required when in public areas of the hotel
- Social distancing in place
- Limited contact with hotel staff
- W XYZ Bar was navigating local regulations and had very limited hours
- Lack of signage regarding gym and pool protocols
The Final Point
In the end, I’d gladly stay at the Aloft Downtown Dallas during any kind of delay or whenever I find myself in Dallas. If I were traveling for business or otherwise looking for a more elevated stay experience, I might opt for the W Dallas Victory or finally get to check out The Adolphus, Autograph Collection hotel.
That said, the Aloft Downtown Dallas delivers for a clean and quality room experience. The hotel even has a couple amenities such as the pool, gym, and W XYZ bar that help give you the full hotel experience without the higher price tag of a luxury hotel. While the benefits offered with your Marriott Bonvoy Elite status, such as a complimentary breakfast with Bonvoy Platinum Elite is a little limited, it still gets you a complimentary upgrade to the nicest rooms in the hotel.
While it’s not the most luxurious hotel in Dallas, it’ll serve as a great basecamp and give you a solid night's rest to get you recharged for wherever your stay and day takes you!