Starwood Hotels & Resorts has opened the first Aloft Hotel in the UK at ExCeL London. The Aloft London Excel has been designed by Jestico + Whiles, the architects behind the highly successful W London‐ Leicester Square which opened earlier this year.
Developed by London ExCeL’s parent company, ADNEC (Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company) and constructed by McAleer & Rushe, Jestico + Whiles’ innovative design for the architecture and interiors provides 252 guest bedrooms; an exciting ‘w xyz’; a re:charge fitness suite with gym and Splash pool; re:fuel by Aloft - a one‐stop, 24hour grab‐and‐go food and beverage area; five ‘Tactic’ meeting rooms; together with a new restaurant concept restaurant ‘FEDE’ separately operated by Elior.
The plan of the building has a convex central spine containing bedrooms and the vertical circulation, flanked by two concave wings which house further bedrooms and corridors. These wings are clad in thousands of specially treated, highly reflective stainless‐steel shingles creating the extraordinary effect of constantly changing colour with the passing of the day.
The central spine of the hotel has been finished with a bespoke, double‐glazed cladding, which features a translucent ceramic frit pattern and solid back‐painted spandrel panels. Inspired by the illusion of depth seen in some of Bridget Riley’s paintings, abstract horizontal stripes fritted onto the glass have been designed to emphasise the flow of the building. This creates an unusual interplay of movement and depth when combined with the undulating colours of the crescent wings.
The building’s ‘serpentine’ layering reduces internal corridor lengths and brings natural daylight into the central lift core lobby whilst addressing the site restrictions generated by complex service infrastructure surrounding the exhibition centre. The form also enables the variety of room sizes demanded by the client’s brief to be elegantly accommodated. In response to the split‐level access requirements of the hotel, with the main pedestrian route emerging from ExCeL on the first floor and the vehicular access on the ground level, Jestico + Whiles has designed a spacious, double height atrium reception in the centre of the building with a bespoke, sculptural spiral stairway linking the two levels.
Jestico + Whiles’ treatment of the internal spaces continues the linear, multi‐coloured motif of the external design. Innovative finishes and bespoke coloured light panels, reminiscent of the façade treatment, decorate the guestroom corridors, creating cohesion between the internal and external spaces. The interiors have been furnished with a carefully selected palette of timber, Corian®, glass, porcelain and textured wallpaper, with selected artworks decorating the public spaces. The firm has specifically tuned and developed the interior design to evolve the Aloft guidelines into a site‐specific design.