Staying at the Winchester Aloft
I stayed at the Winchester Aloft on my recent trip out to the Shenandoah, which included a stop at Dinosaur Land. I love some of the wineries around Front Royal, but usually make it a day trip rather than pay $120+ to stay at a Hampton or Holiday Inn. So I was thrilled to find an Aloft nearby Winchester, VA for only 3,000 Starwood points a night.
Now as a rule, Aloft is one of my least favorite brands in the Starwood portfolio, simply because I’m not a fan of the hostel feel. But they’re always new and usually a good deal on points. So I was excited to check this property out.
It’s situated a few miles from the charming downtown of Winchester. The immediate area is not much to see, but really convenient if you want to grab dinner within walking distance (we tried Los Toltecos) or pick up toiletry items.
We checked in around 5:30ish, at which point the hotel seemed to be pretty full. We were given a handicap accessible room room on the second floor that overlooked the pleasant outdoor courtyard area.
We walked in and I was happy to see that the shower was a normal shower, the room just appeared to be larger with wider hallways.
I was a little less happy to see the presence of pet water/food bowls and a dog bed. I’m slightly allergic, so I always worry they haven’t cleaned the room sufficiently since the last pet stayed. For those with pets though, this is a great set up, even comes with a welcome bag with tennis ball and dog bone!
We happened to look in the mini-fridge and discovered the last occupants had left us several local beers.
A few minutes later while checking out the view, I discovered they’d also left us their overnight bag.
The rest of the room looked really clean though, including the remote in it’s sterilized bag, so we figured it’d just been overlooked underneath the TV console.
When we took it downstairs a few minutes later though, they immediately volunteered to put us in a different room, another handicapped accessible room on the 3rd floor. We decided to take them up on it and relocated.
This room was even larger, and a more traditional handicap accessible room, without the beer or pet toys.
There was some noise outside the window from guests smoking outside later that night, but like most Starwood beds, mine was incredibly comfortable and I was asleep long before that.
The only snag was during the morning showers. Other than not being able to figure out how to get the water to come on (tip: make sure both knobs are aligned), my friend had worried about getting water all over the floor of the bathroom.
I told her not to worry about it — that’s what usually happens. So when it was my turn to shower and heard her say “oh, there’s a little bit of water out here” outside the door, I assumed some had leaked out through the grout lines. I was not prepared for the giant pool of water that greeted me when I walked out…
I’d planned to get up early and work out the next morning, but forgot to pack my sneakers. It was a shame too because the gym was large and bright with a decent selection of machines and no one else in there.
The indoor pool is small, but attractive.
The common areas feature a cute little bar and pool table. Definitely an appealing place to hang out if you’re not exhausted after a day of wine tasting and climbing dinosaurs.
If you’re looking for lodging near the Skyline Drive, the Aloft is definitely a solid choice, particularly on points.
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