Review: Aloft Dallas Love Field With No Shampoo Or Hot Water

I stayed at the Aloft Dallas Love Field on Tuesday night. Aloft isn’t one of my usual brands. In fact I hadn’t stayed at one in nearly six years. I needed a one night stay near Dallas Love Field for Southwest Airlines Media Day and the Aloft seemed like a reasonable choice at $144, while reacquainting myself with Marriott’s brand.

This one is a combined Aloft and Element in the same building, with separate entrances. Aloft is a limited service, lower-scale chain with modern aesthetic that was dubbed ‘a vision of W Hotels’. Element is an extended stay chain with Westin branding tie-in.

Check-in And Lobby

Check-in was friendly and efficient. My status was acknowledged in asking for my preference in welcome amenity, and I was assigned a room at the very end of the hall on the 8th floor. I suppose that was an upgrade, though the room wasn’t larger than any other?

The lobby concept is industrial with some splashes of color, definitely cheaper-looking than an ‘actual’ W but still modern in approach.

There’s a grab and go market and a bar area that was fairly lively when I came back from Southwest’s opening reception in the evening.

Room

Room 821 was fairly simple – cheap-looking in terms of materials but still modern. There’s a bathroom, small area with coffee and a bottle of water, and bedroom with a desk and built-in bench.

Elite Breakfast

The Aloft elite welcome amenity choice, for Platinum members and above, is 500 points (per stay, not per night) or daily restaurant breakfast for the member and one guest. I selected breakfast, and it turns out that’s just the lobby breakfast next door at the Element.

Anyone can walk in and have that – there’s no checking whether you’re eligible, no asking who you are. I’ve always thought that if I were ever struggling, cycling between limited service hotel free breakfasts would be a smart play.

I was impressed that the eggs were actually eggs. A staff member was cracking them to make the scrambled eggs, making pancakes, and offering omelettes.

No Morning Shower

I think of a hotel as bundling two basic services, and then adding on from there: a night’s sleep, and a shower (though a private toilet I suppose as well). I’ve written about whether a hotel owes compensation when your sleep is ruined or when they have no water for a shower.

My room had no hot water though apparently this wasn’t a hotel-wide issue. I turned the water all the way to hot and waited. After a minute or two, nothing. So I tried the reverse (perhaps the knob was reversed), but the cold setting wasn’t hot either. And setting in the middle didn’t help make it lukewarm. Oh, great.

Well not only wasn’t there any hot water, the full-sized wall mounted toiletries hadn’t been refilled. The shampoo bottle was completely empty. By the way this wasn’t a tamper-proof setup either, just easily openable bottles mounted to the wall. Both are reasons I don’t like the wall-mounted set up.

I didn’t have time to get the hotel to address it, and it’s not clear anyone on property at the moment actually could. I spoke to the front desk, whose ‘systems were down’ (they couldn’t even print folios), and I was told they would make a note to have maintenance address the water issue later in the day. I explained that I was checking out, but that this was an issue – I hadn’t gotten what I’d paid for. The woman at the desk just shrugged. I asked for a manager, and was told that someone would contact me. Of course no one ever did.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. In my experience with ‘major’ hotel problems, I decide how much I’m willing to pay for ‘a room where I can’t shower’. I give the Front Desk that amount when I’m ready to leave. It seems that hotel people are incapable of thinking up a solution for a disgruntled guest. But they always respond positively to me telling them what I want. You have to be super-nice about it (it ain’t the front desk’s fault that housekeeping is incompetent or the whole maintenance department is out to lunch for 5 hours) and you have to do it in person. In all these years, I’ve only had one problem, a Florida Holiday Inn with a snarky, smart-ass GM five or six years ago … that one took about 20 minutes to resolve.

  2. Stayed at a Holiday Inn Express at Warwick, UK last week. No heating in our, and other rooms. Another , complaining, guest said another HIX was similar. Are they saving energy costs as policy?

  3. The short answer is to avoid the Aloft brand. I’m a millennial – allegedly part of their target audience – and I’ve tried enough Aloft properties to conclude they’re all trash. The service is always awful; the beds, pillows, and bedding border on unsleepably uncomfortable. And then you add this crap on top. Just don’t do it.

  4. I remember years ago when Aloft first launched
    Was told by other trusted travelers the beds were cement like prison cots
    that did it for me I wasn’t going.
    I’ve never stayed @ Love Field though came close last year as I was flying in on Southwest
    If I was going to stay in sub par property I would likely choose the Doubletree
    While I’m certain it wouldn’t be a property of choice it would likely be 5/star compared
    to the lost cause you stayed in.And as many know hate or love them Hilton has a 100% brand
    Assurance if it’s something reasonable goes wrong
    Which is why I try and avoid Marriott unless I am confident in a properties performance

  5. Aloft is supposed to be a Courtyard for the younger set. In practice, the quality of the furnishings and the bed is worse than Fairfield, except it has a bar. The decor is like something from 2006. Just like W. That style is no longer fashionable.

  6. BTW. I think the same problem that W, Aloft and Moxy have (the entire decor and concept is based around what was fashionable in 2006) will plague Edition going forward. Marriott hoped Edition would be a Ritz-Carlton for those under the age of 50. Not only hasn’t the brand kept up with expectations and projections, but Ritz-Carlton’s new and newly renovated properties have moved into the Edition concept by ditching the the faux Georgian English country house style or faux Louis XIV style that plagued some older Ritz-Carlton properties and can still be seen some at St. Regis properties.

  7. Aloft is an oddball hotel in my experience. Literally the property at night there are very limited staff. Probably only requires 2-3 at night. This was a SPG brand, not Marriott. Since Marriott took over, Aloft will only get worse. Even some of my favorite properties have been changed for the worst. My family’s favorite Sheraton Waikiki has been eliminated from our annual go to places. It used to be SPG properties were special. I almost think that Marriott wants to destroy all the SPG superior service legacies on purpose. Generous and lavish lounges (SheratonWaikiki?), attentive staff, suite upgrades are non existent now. Bonvoy gave me these suite upgrades that no property ever honors. If they upgraded me, it was the hotel staff courtesy. They never took any of the suite upgrades on my account. It’s a joke that properties are even joking about the Bonvoy. Since I’m Platinum for like for Bonvoy, there is no incentive for me to continue with them.

  8. Never stay at trash properties – especially those that offer common-use soap/shampoo dispensers that can (and are) tampered with.

  9. Can’t speak for the brand as a whole, but my two Aloft experiences, both in the Philadelphia area, have been good. The one by the airport was a well-priced option when city options were sky-high. A few weeks ago we stayed on a free night at the one in Center City, a couple of minutes walk from the Reading Terminal Market. The hotel was exceptionally quiet. Our corner room–given to us, when our original room still hadn’t been cleaned by 5:30–was larger than expected. Easy to avoid the $60 valet charge by parking across the street at the Convention Center lot for $25 with ParkWhiz. And we had plenty of hot water.

  10. @Mike: Hawaii and, specifically, Waikiki is a very difficult market for hotels. The hotel industry is very unionized.

    The staff at the Sheraton and other Marriott properties in Waikiki have strike or threatened to strike in recent years.

    As a guest, getting staff to perform a simple request or provide basic service can be a challenge as a guest because, as with many unions, staff are only allowed to perform their specific duties.

    On top of that, labor costs are very high. So many hotels are minimally staffed.

    But I do agree that pre-Bonvoy, the legacy Starwood hotels in Waikiki had excellent elite treatment, including both lounge access and a restaurant breakfast at the Westin Moana Surfrider. Now they refuse to honor the restaurant breakfast benefit.

  11. Sorry to hear it, Gary ! As I think back on 45 years of travel for me, I can recall both of these things happening to me as well, although just once each and not simultaneously. In the case of No Hot Water, I simply washed my hair in the sink, used a washcloth, and was good to go. The No Shampoo thing is easier, Shower Gel isn’t a whole lot different than Shampoo (for someone as non-discriminating as myself). Next time at Love Field, consider the Hilton Doubletree directly across the street from the Airport (Mockingbird Lane), it’s an excellent property !

  12. This looks like a typical Aloft stay except for the hot water and no shampoo.
    Aloft is equivalent to Hyatt Place.

    It is surprising that someone with a huge stash of points in a variety of airline, hotel and credit card programs didn’t use points or free night awards for this stay. With a points stay it would be possible to get some reimbursement from Bonvoy if not the hotel. Not having hot water and the poor customer service.is unacceptable.

  13. Okay, maybe I am just too old school (or raised visiting brutalist monoliths of hotels that look like an oversized cinder block painted white with a light up Marriott on the side) but what’s the point of having like 30 brands?

    Give me the full flag, the half flag, the limited flag, and the long-stay. Shouldn’t that about cover it? Or when you turn a certain age does Hilton or whoever assign you a transition team to help you make the leap from Tru to HGI?

    I guess I’d rather go to Bonvoy or Hilton and select from a couple of brands where I know what I get. Other than check into something that the app or website spits out that’s near what I want for what I want to pay, then check in to my room and find there’s no ice bucket or desk because people making $65-84k between the ages of 27 and 39 who drive a Mazda 3 at home don’t like having those in their hotel room, thus we have a brand for that.

  14. @NedsKid: I agree but neither you nor I are Marriott’s customers. Marriott’s customers are the owners who build hotels that Marriott either manages or a third-party is hired to manage on the franchisee’s behalf. You and I are merely the product that Marriott sells to get its real customer to fly the Marriott flag. Marriott needs a multitude of brands — even if they are duplicative — because it needs to continue collecting fees — franchising, licensing, management, reservation systems, etc. — to make money. Unlike franchised restaurants and other enterprises, hotel owners apparently don’t want to build the 5th Courtyard or the 4th Westin in a given market. So, Marriott has additional brands for those owners to build a property and brand it under Marriott’s flag.

  15. I’m a Millennial, and a fairly long time Titanium Bonvoy member. I’ve also stayed at at least 10 ALOFTs. The ones that are conversions are crap. The “new builds” are much better. And the dual brands are AWFUL. The ALOFT in Downtown Denver is now a Permanent Homeless Shelter! And only 1/2 a block from the brand new Dual brand AC Hotel/Le Meridian as well. Morning knife fights outside of the breakfast window, getting followed while walking nearly anywhere, fist fights and open drug dealsbat all hours of the day! Perfect Le Meridian and AC Hotel stay! Literally ruined Denver for me, I think forever.

  16. My stay at this property last February was OK. For about the same price the author paid I got expected value, which of course thankfully included a hot shower. Bed was fine. Would have stayed down the street at the Doubletree, but they were sold out. Doubletree is a much older property but does have a restaurant with made to order menu items as well as Starbucks coffee as well as a hot cookie of course.

  17. I stayed at the Love Field Aloft just a week ago and I would definitely choose Double Tree over this property. The bedroom was dark as the only lights were a desk lamp that worked and the two mini lights over the bed which were inoperable. The worst part was that I could hear someones dog down the hall. It wasn’t loud but annoying.
    The shuttle service to Love Fierld was another issue. The van driver explained to all the people that airline crews had priority so most people waited for the van to make two trips before helping others. There still wasn’t enough room for everyone. They have sign up sheets for the van and know how many crew members will be using the shuttle at certain times, the hotel never let these people know they should use a ride service.

  18. Mike made a comment that since he’s PFL, no need to stay there. And that encapsulates the entire Marriott problem. Worked my ass of to get Starwood Platinum for Life – and it truly meant something. Marriott has killed it and now you can get their Platinum by getting a special Marriott credit card! So what are the chances now of meaningful upgrades? We lost getting to stay at St Regis properties for 35,000 points per night. We lost meaningful upgrades. Marriott has been very clear about expressing what we mean to them.

  19. Thanks for the tip, Gary. I’m adding the cycling from breakfast to breakfast to my own fallback for if/when I’m a bag lady: a stock of Costco shop cards so I can get in, the $1.50 hot dog (with ketchup, onions, and relish for veggies).

  20. The only decent Aloft I ever stayed in was the one in Metrotech/Downtown Brooklyn. Decent bar, live music, and next door to a very active real bar and a pretty solid Marriott restaurant(which also provided appetizers for the Aloft bar, which I find unusual in my travels). Lived in that shoebox for over 6 months. Wasn’t too bad

  21. I also had a very negative experience in the Fairfield Innat MIA. Room was not cleaned for 3 day, even after going to front desk before leaving for the day to remind them. After I went home I called the manager without success. Then I finally called Marriot and told someone would get back to me. No one ever did so after a month I called again. After explaining the issues for a 3rd time, the personal the other end finally offered me 40 000 Bonvoy points. That was decent, but I should not have gone to the extremes I did, es pcially after I told the manager I had stayed in the hotel at least 7 times this year but she said she could only find 3 bites. I think Marriot does not have proper supervision checks in place over housekeeping.

  22. Allow me to add one more item to the Aloft grievance list. I have twelve nights this year at an Aloft in SAT, and had to request missing points for every single stay. Certainly not the only property where I have to play the “send us proof you were here” game, but clearly this property owner has advised his/her staff to conveniently lose track of members’ stays. Alas, like many other Marriott addicts, the property’s location and price point will keep me coming back.

  23. $144 for THAT? I question why anyone would ever stay at a Marriott brand? They price their product as if it is an exclusive, but always are short on fulfilling their end of the bargain. Every time I have stayed at a Marriott, I have felt financially raped. I will never stay at one unless I am desperate.

    Hilton has always met my expectations for the price point I have paid.

    On a separate note, you mentioned that the two things contracted are a bed and a shower. I agree. Anything else is a nice add on, but I’m looking for a private bed and shower. I’ve stayed at some true dives in my life. From sleeping on a bed that felt and sounded more like sleeping on a pile of phone books, to having a Motel fail to show they had me in the room and then issuing the room to two more guests, to walking into a room where one bed was obviously missing (because there was no carpet there) to the bedspread being so worn out that there were holes in it, yes, I know cheap. But I was so tired, I didn’t care. So, when I pay for a room at this price point, what am I getting in addition to the bed and shower? proximity to the airport and a shuttle, I guess. What are those worth?

    But I have never stayed in a hotel bed that was actually comfortable. The number one thing on my list that I am paying for is a bed to sleep in. Do ANY brands have a comfortable pillow top premium mattress?

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