Sneak Peek at the First-Ever Aloft Hotel Conversion in Sunnyvale
When hotel developer Shashi Group first considered buying the old Pacific Inn in Sunnyvale, the original thought was to rehabilitate it and operate it as a boutique property. Then Brian McGuinness, who heads up Starwood’s select service properties, took a tour of the asset while in town. (Shashi developed the Aloft Cupertino, rumored to be the most successful in the brand’s portfolio.)
“He said ‘Yeah, let’s do it,'” said Alex Stanford, VP of design and construction for Shashi Group, on a recent tour. “So we had to find a way to tweak it to bring in the Aloft program.”
On a recent Tuesday, it was clear the team — which included AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design on architecture, HBA on interiors and S.D. Deacon on general contractor duties — had succeeded. It’s hard to believe while bellying up to the sleekly finished bar, but this was once a much different kind of place. It was built in two phases, one was constructed in the 1980s and the other in the 1960s. One wing was configured as a single-room occupancy hotel, with bathrooms in the hall, not in rooms.
“The biggest challenge we had was an old wing that was in SRO configuration,” Stanford said. To solve it, Shashi got rid of some of the rooms. “For every three SRO bays, we made two rooms with private baths. That design scheme was the key moment because it makes it feel very open and airy.”
The project is the first conversion of an existing asset into an Aloft-branded property, but it won’t be the last. Other adaptive reuses under the Aloft name include Aloft Orlando Downtown, Aloft New Orleans Downtown, Aloft Tulsa Downtown, Aloft Dallas Downtown, Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney and Aloft Tampa Downtown.
Doing a conversion can be more challenging than an existing asset. For instance, the Aloft Sunnyvale has 19 room types for 85 rooms. “That’s insane,” Stanford said. Yet it also allows a brand to get up and running much more quickly than doing ground-up construction. (The Sunnyvale rehab took about a year.)
“Even if a hotel is worn out and beat up, but still has a fundamental box that can be renovated, it’s much better to buy,” said hotel consultant Rick Swig of RSBA & Associates, a hospitality consultant. “You’re going to get the predictable revenue stream, or existing revenue stream, and you’re mitigating your risk about having to develop.”
You will soon see more Alofts in the area. Shashi is working to get approvals for a new property in the thick of the Googleplex in Mountain View, which would be a ground-up, not a rehab.
Click the photo on this page for an exclusive inside look at the new Aloft Sunnyvale.