The trend for co-branded lodgings is manifest in this dual personality hotel where the happening Aloft, often described as a budget W offshoot, shares a high-rise with the more serene Element, an extended-stay Westin line (both now come under the Marriott aegis). When you walk in the front door—which is also the entryway to the bustling coffee bar/casual-chic restaurant Caroline/Coffeehouse at Caroline—a sign directs you to separate lobbies for the hotels on different floors. If all this sounds a bit confusing, that’s because it is.
It doesn’t get much clearer when you reach the Aloft check-in on the second floor, because this is also home to Upstairs at Caroline, where you can play lawn games, drink tiki cocktails, and eat food that can be held in your hand (because you’re pitching cornhole with the other hand, naturally). There’s an array of Allens cowboy boots to the other side of the reception desk, which you can borrow should the urge to bootscoot hit you. When you finally get to your room, you’ll find it to be small and fairly basic—bed, shallow desk, table, ergonomic chair—the premise being that you probably won’t spend much time in it.
In contrast, stepping into the reception area of Element is like entering a yoga studio. There are no games, and the only drinks are organic kombucha and the like in a cold case; here, you can borrow bicycles rather than boots. The guest rooms, intended to be homes-away-from home, are large, with Heavenly Beds (there’s that Westin brand), comfy couches, and lots of light wood. All have kitchenettes with full-size refrigerators, microwaves, and stovetops, the better to prepare the gourmet meals available through the Blue Apron “chef yourself” program. An upscale continental breakfast—think granola and a Chobani yogurt bar—is included in the room rate.
Most, though not all, of the Aloft and Element rooms are on separate floors, but hard partiers and early-to-bedders may mingle in the elevators, the 24-hour fitness room, and the various Carolines.