aLOFT Hotel it’s more than just a good night’s sleep.

“Our hotel will be a true oasis in style and creativity”

says Nina Timani, Director of Sales and Marketing, aloft PHL.

Last week I had a chance to check out the new aloft hotel, part of the W chain. I had been invited a few times to attend parties there, but I blew them off as I didn’t want to leave the island of Center City, but this time my friends Terressa Thompson and Jamie Boyd coaxed me out to the airport hotel with the VIP photographer treatment. I had photographed a party for Experience MM over the summer, and really enjoyed their energy and excitement. They also have a kick ass concept for event planning and parties.

Olympic Gold Medalist Brendan Hansen and Cullen Jones greet DJ ExcelThey flattered me with compliments on my style of photography, I am putty in their hands. The fundraiser was hosted by Cullen Jones for The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center. Jim Ellis will run the aquatic facility there once it opens in 2010 in North Philadelphia..

Bianca White and Stephanie Fletcher

After seeing how easy it was to reach the aloft hotel, what a really modern, hip space it was to have a party, oh and seeing the slide show of the opening night party, I was kicking myself for missing the two earlier events, especially the opening party with Beth Ostrosky, Jazzy Jeff and surprise guest Christian Siriano who did the fashion show of his new line.

Another fashionable couple: Tyree and wife Ashanda Powell
I could not get these girls to lighten up, they insisted on the VIP Diva treatment, making me take their photo over and over again, ok just one of them, but thankfully I caught them off guard and caught this fun shot. Note the serious one on the left, Masha, break out with a great smile, much better than that JLo diva smile…
but it was only after a couple of these that they started to relax a bit. The bar served complimentary shots to the guests.
A vision of W Hotels, aloft hotels are shaking up the lodging

industry with urban-influenced design, accessible technology, style
and a social atmosphere. aloft hotels offer a total sensory
experience, with guest rooms featuring loft-like, nine-foot ceilings
and over sized windows to create a bright, airy environment. The
centerpiece of each aloft room is the ultra-comfortable plush platform
bed, and large stylish bathrooms complement the guest experience with
over sized walk-in showers and amenities created by Bliss(R) Spa. Each
aloft room is also a combination high-tech office and entertainment
center, featuring wireless Internet access and plug & play , a
one-stop connectivity solution for multiple electronic gadgetry such
as PDAs, cell phones, mp3 players and laptops - all linked to a large
flat panel LCD television for optimal sound and viewing.

The two Olympic Gold Medalist Cullen Jones and Brendan Hansen, who the very next day were participating in a swim meet with the very same kids who may benefit from the Kroc Swimming facilities. Nina holds up the Belevedere Vodka to thank them for their generous donation they made to the party. As you know I really appreciate the generous donations from sponsors because without them the bottom line would be spent on supplies for the parties instead of going to the ones in need. So thank you Belevedere Vodka!!Jim Ellis comes in aLoft and immediate spots an old friend. This would have been a fantastic photo had he just not raised his arms so high.

Opps a Hail Mary that didn’t work out the way I wanted it too. I had been paying attention to something else and I had to run over and catch the candid moment, but darn if I didn’t cut off their heads.The aloft bar was buzzing, I love the sleek design. The bar is set at one end of the bright, multi-level lobby space, with comfortable seating, a pool table, free wifi and plenty of outlets to plug in your laptop while you unwind with a drink. The bar features three house-infused liquors: blueberry vodka, bartlett pear rum and pineapple-chipotle tequila.
Alvin Williams, former Toronto Raptor and NBA analyst with Comcast SportsNet and Jason Lawson, Former NBA Athlete and Big Five Hall of Fame Inductee with Phila Dept Rec Swimming Coach Jim Ellis (Pride Move about his life.)
Chocolate covered pretzels and strawberries. Designed in conjunction with world renowned David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group, aloft stays true to the W Hotel brand’s heritage, offering atmospheric public spaces designed to draw guests from their rooms into sassy public spaces.
Guests can work on their laptops ia hotel-wide wireless internet access, play a game of pool or grab a drink with friends. The next day Cullen Jones and Brendan Hansen were participating in a Salvation Army and the Philadelphia Department of Recreation (PDR) swim meet to promote learn-to-swim and water safety programs in Philadelphia on Saturday Oct 18. Nine people drown each day in the United States, and in ethnically-diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is more than double the national average, according to USA Swimming’s Make a Splash Foundation and the program wants to promote awareness of this problem. I would have loved to gone to the event, but there was no way I could wake up by 7AM for the 9AM meet. I later heard both of them were in tip top form. They were racing each other in the first heat, and then kids participated in the following heats. I forgot to ask who won. Do you know?
Michelle Miller, DJ G-N Kang, Editor of City Luxe Mag Megan Bishop, Nina Timani of aloft Hotel (W Chain) Check out G-N Kang’s blog, she’s a sexy single living la vida loca chica. G-N describes the loft as having a real Miami feel, which I would agree. I thought it reminded me of some of the Ian Shragers hotel’s in NY, like the Gramercy or the Hudson. In fact the Hudson has a similar vibe where they have parties in the lobby every night just like the party going on at the aloft tonight.
I voiced disappointed to a few friends that I wished a cool hotel like this was located in Center City, that the lobby would be a definite party place every night, but my friends told me that all the aloft hotels were located at either airports or out of the way places, “If you’re young, or hip, why stay at a Red Roof when you can stay at aloft.” I agree with hotel rooms starting at $109 why stay anywhere else?

When shooting an event, I keep in mind that maybe the general public in the Delaware Valley would like to see what I see and read about the great things going on in our area, and I like to capture the candid moments for Inqlings, where my photos appear weekly (Pg B2 in the Inquirer on Sunday). Anyway this was one of the moments, but you can see why it didn’t make the cut, it was taken in the VIP room, which basically was a hotel room, and was bland, bland, bland, but it does have all the characters of the story: Jim Ellis – will run program, Cullen Jones – the hot face to raise money for program and Nina Tiamni – the aloft hotel host for the party. Had we been able to move this scene into the bar area, then this would have been the money shot, because I really like it, most folks would be upset that their face wasn’t showing, but Nina knows that to get the right press for the event, the focus is on the names that are bolded in the news, just like the shot that did get published below as the PR for the event sacrificed her backside for the cause. Jim Ellis chatting with a young lady while former Villanova All Star and NBA player, Jason Lawson looks on. I like the setting of this photo, the candidness (is that a word) and it promotes the event and accidentally you can see the wxyz bar which places the picture. I should say the Inquirer’s photo editor is better than me at seeing a good picture and when it was published last Sunday, he cropped it above her pink pants, and if I wasn’t running late for work I would do that too.
What do you think of the differences between the two shots?