Take a look inside the new Aloft Hotel before it opens

All photos by Max Cooper.

The new Aloft Hotel in downtown Asheville at 51 Biltmore Ave is nearing completion, and Xpress recently took a behind-the-scenes tour.

Although it’s still bustling with construction workers and building materials, Sales Manager Sarah Bender Hope reports that the hotel is set to open for business on Aug. 23.

Approved by Asheville City Council in early 2011, the project has a controversial history. At that time, opponents to the project argued that it didn’t make financial sense and would be out of step with the area.  In more recent days, McKibbon Hotel Group, which owns Aloft, is also the subject of similar criticism as it seeks approval for building another downtown Asheville hotel across from the St. Lawrence Basilica.

However, Hope says that she’s hopeful about the response Aloft will get when it opens its doors — from travelers, local residents and downtown business owners alike.

“We’re known for a lot of color and vibrance. … It’s more of an urban style than other hotels downtown but still fits in,” she says, noting that the Aloft brand caters to “lifestyle” travelers between the ages of 25 and 45.

“It’ll be fun to see Asheville branch out. Economic development is a good thing,” she adds. The 51 Biltmore project will eventually include apartments, parking and additional retail space.

Here’s a sneak peak at what awaits guests at the hotel:


The main gathering space near the hotel’s “W xyz” bar features colorful decor and access to an outdoor patio with nice views of Biltmore Avenue. It also includes a big fireplace. Hope says the lounge will regularly feature live entertainment, including local bands and DJs. The bar will also serve local beers, she adds.



All of the hotel’s rooms feature copies of this mountain panorama piece done by local artist Stephen Lange. Each room has large windows that face West toward views of Mount Pisgah or East with views of Biltmore Avenue.



The hotel suites include jacuzzi bath tubs placed in the center of the room to provide easy TV viewing directly from the tub. Each room also big windows and either west facing views of Mount Pisgah or east facing views of Biltmore Avenue. Room rates will vary widely, between $159 and $350 for standard rooms; suites will cost more, according to Hope.



There’s a small saltwater pool and a big surrounding patio on the Lexington Avenue side above the parking deck, with views of Mount Pisgah. The area includes an outside cabana bar and fire pit.


Much of the inside mirrors the brightly striped motif of the outside awning.




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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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14 thoughts on “Take a look inside the new Aloft Hotel before it opens

    • bsummers

      I’m sure if you take out a second mortgage, you’ll be able to buy a hot dog at this new place.

  1. ashevillain7

    Nice… (not!)

    Looks like we’ve got our own little slice of South Beach right here in Asheville.

  2. sashac.g.

    When are they going to do a facing on the front walls? It’s just concrete blocks and does not even attempt to fit the area. Way too industrial. If these are the same people who want to build near the Basilica, watch out. Who approves these designs anyway? Looks like it would better fit in by a freeway.

  3. Jake Frankel

    NOTE: The original version of this post reported that the pool bar and patio area would be open to non-hotel guests. According to Paula MacDonald, Director of Communications for McKibbon Hotel Management, that is not accurate and the post was edited to reflect that fact. Also, the names of the hotel’s bar as well as its sales manager were misspelled. Those errors have also been corrected.

  4. indy499

    Memories of the trash strewn rutted parking lot with the broken down chain link fence on which the hotel was built simply warm my heart. The Hot Dog King was actually the crown jewel on this site.

  5. Orbit DVD

    One of the top questions I get asked is if there are any affordable hotels downtown. I don’t know if this place will provide that, but there is a definite need for cheaper rooms.

    • bsummers

      Keep looking – I’m pretty sure this article originally listed the price range as being $159 – $350 for ‘standard rooms’, and then on up from that for suites. But that seems to have been removed.


  6. Jake Frankel

    Yes, that’s correct. Not sure why that was removed — might have been an accident when we made the other corrections. I added it back.

  7. Joe Zinich

    This building doesn’t fit downtown Asheville in style and color and having another just like it near the Basilica is even worse. Sold at too low a price, doesn’t fit; Who are making these decisions and how do we stop them from making more mistakes?

  8. WskyFlp

    It’s disheartening to see the locals react in this way to a hotel — a means for more tourism, which is exactly what Asheville relies on. Not to mention this hotel is taking the time out to recognize the local industry here and lift it
    up — ie: local cafe (Blackbird), local featured artists, local brews from our many breweries. What corporations do that? All those folks missing the Hot Dog King can drive to the other 50 locations around this small town. Growth is good. Jobs are good. So — what’s the problem?

  9. Big Al

    “…All those folks missing the Hot Dog King can drive to the other 50 locations around this small town…”

    Did I miss something? As far as I know there has only been ONE Hot Dog King in Asheville, the one they plowed over to build this place.

    I am not ready to condemn ALOFT yet for what it is or isn’t, but it is pretty ignorant to suggest that there are plenty of other places to find cheap, simple food anywhere near downtown. I know of no place in downtown that serves a hot dog or burger for less than $10 except the counter at Woolworth, and only then if you don’t tip (in which case you suck).

  10. makeashevilleawesomenotweird

    I like the hotel, the location and the way it looks. I think it is upscale and will bring a lot of revenue to Asheville. I don’t understand why Ashevillians have to be so negative about things. This hotel is bringing jobs and revenue to Asheville. People complain of low wages and a poor job market in Asheville. Be grateful companies like this want to invest here. I am not affilitated with this hotel in anyway but it is difficult to tolerate the negativity. Make a difference in your community and be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

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