On Dec 27, 2010, in the middle of a blizzard that shut down much of the Northeast, the Aloft Harlem quietly made history with the simple act of opening its doors to guests.
The 12-story building on the corner of Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 124th Street near the 125th St subway station has the hotel on the first six floors with 124 loft-style rooms, with the six floors above devoted to 44 residencies.
What’s historic is that Harlem now has its first major hotel since the Theresa shut down in 1967. This famous neighborhood in Harlem where the Apollo Theater alone attracts over 2.5 million annual visitors hasn’t had a hotel for 43 years.
A new hotel in New York City may not be a big deal now, but back in the days when the Theresa was open, it was the only good Harlem hotel open to some people because downtown hotels wouldn’t let them stay.
As times changed, the Theresa was no longer the only option, but it was still a powerful symbol and a call for visitors to come stay in Harlem. After it closed down, tourists and visitors would come to enjoy the Apollo Theater and Harlem’s jazz clubs and soul food, but they couldn’t stay here. The Aloft changes all that and Harlem now has its own hotel again.
Daniel Fevre, General Manager of Aloft Harlem, says that “Harlem has long been a highly visited destination in Manhattan and we look forward to providing a unique lodging alternative in the area.”
History and symbolic statements aside, it’s also a pretty trendy and tech savvy place to stay in. There are flat-screen television sets in each room which are ‘plug & play’ enabled – meaning guests can hook up PDAs, cell phones, mp3 players and laptops.
Each room also has individual climate control and video checkout. Smart check-in with a special RFID-powered keycard allows guests to skip the front desk and head straight to the room on arrival.
Standard amenities include the Signature bed for a good night’s sleep, and a work desk with an ergonomic chair and a coffee maker for those who don’t want to sleep and would instead prefer to use the in-room wi-fi or wired high speed internet.
Being an Aloft, the hotel also has a re:mix lounge, a re:charge fitness center, 24/7 re:fuel for a quick bite to eat, and the w xyz bar for mingling with drinks.
From now until March 31, 2011, guests who book in at the Aloft Harlem will earn double SPG points for every stay, and a $20 voucher for food & drinks at the hotel’s w xyz bar or at re:fuel.
Photo credits – Apex Condominiums, SPG (The Lobby).
Info: 2296 Frederick Douglass Boulevard New York NY 10027; (212) 749-4000; website