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Lofty Lodgings

A new class of airy, open and affordable hotels is springing up.
July 1, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/159872

With hotel prices surging, business travelers are taking a renewed interest in midmarket hotels, which usually trade attractive price points for not-so-attractive design points.

A new hotel company, NYLO, is trying to change that trade-off. The idea, according to CEO John Russell, is to offer the chic style of urban lofts and the amenities of boutique hotels at midscale rates--typically $115 to $135 per night. NYLO rooms will be spacious, airy, light-filled and slightly industrial. Each room will have a flat-screen TV and free high-speed internet; amenities include a 24-hour restaurant, business center, library, meeting facilities and gym. The first NYLO properties will open next year.

NYLO's intention, Russell says, is to do for loft hotels what W did for boutique hotels: Carve a new lodging category that resonates with trend-conscious consumers, standardize it, and bring it to multiple markets.

For now, NYLO has few competitors. One is Loft 523 in New Orleans, which originated in 1880 as a carriage and dry-goods warehouse. It's small enough--18 units--to assign a personal assistant to each guest; the rooms are a generous 600 square feet. The décor is luxury minimalist: bare walls and floors, sconces rather than bedside lamps, but cushy Italian beds, huge bathrooms, two-headed showers and sexy freestanding bathtubs. Room rates start at $199.

Another competitor is The Loft Hotel Tribeca, set in the Lower Manhattan district that contains the city's largest concentration of residential lofts. The property, slated to open this summer, has 45 rooms. In-room amenities include flat-screen TVs and DVD players, and the hotel offers a business center, Wi-Fi and a 24-hour concierge. Room rates start at $295.

Julie Moline is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant in New York City.