JaxFoodCritic is doing hotel reviews now?!?! This guy is out of his element! Wrong I tell you, you are wrong. Sleeping somewhere that isn’t my house, having people clean everything for me, and sleeping late and comfortably is right in my sweet spot. I know this very well. I have trained for this my whole life!
4812 Deer Lake Drive West
Jacksonville, FL. 32246
Location: If you get off of J. Turner Butler Blvd (known by Jacksonville residents as “JTB”) you will see it on your right as you approach your first light. It’s nestled in Tapestry Park, adjacent to Starbucks and a short walk from III Forks Restaurant.
Hotel Experience: Are you like me? Are you tired of getting out of your car, heading towards your hotel and looking at the outside of the hotel and thinking to yourself “it looks like 1,000 other hotels”. Don’t they all basically look average and no way to distinguish them from each other? Well, as I was pulling up to Aloft at Tapestry Park, I knew this would be something different, something fresh, and I was excited to actually be staying at a hotel for once.
The outside just screams modern with it’s clean lines, the huge “Aloft” sign out front, the colors…it just all screamed that this would be different. Right off, as soon as you walk in the lobby, you know this isn’t your parent’s hotel. I was immediately impressed with the contemporary decor. If you like IKEA styled furniture and decorations, you will absolutely love this place. Once inside, to the right you see W XYZ (their lounge, I will cover that below) and to the left is the reception desk. Also, located close to the reception desk is what they call the “Re:fuel” area. This is where you can grab a quick little lunch, snacks and stuff like that.
Very clean and reasonably priced. You don’t feel like you are buying your stuff out of a broom closet. Once you give your info and get your keys, the elevators, or as they call them “the lifts” are a short walk away. You will notice right away in the elevator that there is a very modern type music playing (are you getting that this place is modern? lol). After arriving at your floor and stepping out, you will notice the textured wallpaper and the cool lighting. Arriving at your room you will notice that there isn’t the typical key or electronic card slot, these cards you just wave in front of the door handle and it unlocks. Nice touch, it always seems that the usual card readers NEVER work the first 2 times you swipe them, stupid red lights. Aloft made it easy for me, just a quick wave and I was inside.
The Room: The IKEA type theme is continued inside the rooms. Immediately, I was impressed with the large and very comfortable bed. Everything was very clean, you didn’t have to do that thing where you grab the “bed cover” and peel it off and throw it in the corner on the floor because you have seen that 20/20 episode where they went in and used a black light on typical hotels. Those things never get washed do they? Well, you don’t have to worry about that here. Everything on the bed is white too, so you would be able to see anything that was dirty right away.
I like that. The bathrooms were top notch and I also noticed the little things. Like, there are two bottles of water that are free (that’s a first for me), the soap and shampoo aren’t the bottom of the line, generic stuff. Oh and the toilet (yeah, I know you are curious) has the option to do a Full Flush or a Half Flush which is a nice eco-friendly consideration. While we are talking about eco-friendly, I noticed the water facet had an aerator to save the wasting of water. Another detail, they had the CFL’s in all the lights as well.
I later found out that they are working towards becoming the first LEEDS certified hotel in Jacksonville. Awesome! Also in the room, on the desk there was a media connection center that enables you to plug in any mobile device and it will then play whatever you want on the TV. You don’t have to try and hook things up behind the tv or anything, they took care of that with the media center on the desk. Over on the other desk, I found a charging station that had every single attachment I could think of. This is awesome because I know I’ve forgotten my cords one time and this would have been awesome. It’s the little details here that I thought showed that they are really taking this hotel to the next level. Oh, last thing, all the phones in the room were cordless!
Lounge/Bar area: After a quick nap (we had to make sure the bed was as comfortable as it looked…it was) we went down to the w xyz lounge. The first thing I noticed was how stocked the bar was. Lots of options…I saw my favorite: Johnny Walker Blue. What hotel bar carries that? Of course, the modern theme is carried out here as well. I particularly liked the fiber optics in the bar top (we have those at our house:) ) The bartender quickly made up an Aloftini (not sure I spelled that right) and a Mojito. Both were perfectly made and hit the spot.
The vibe was pretty neat, laid back but plenty to do. They have a giant set of Jenga (giant as in huge blocks), they have a billiard table, a fireplace to sit around and tons and tons of couches to sit and mingle with your friends or family. While we were drinking our drinks, even Batman stopped by for a quick drink! Yep, crime fighters even pick this place too! That should count extra right?
A couple other things: The pool was very clean (I didn’t get in, I wanted to nap instead) and they had those cool seats like you see in Miami where several people can sit on one rounded couch like thing with some shade over it. I didn’t take pictures because I didn’t want to be that “pervert with a camera”, they had no idea I was reviewing the place haha.
I also wandered around and got a look at three conference rooms which can be combined into a ballroom. Very spacious and looks like a lot of seating options to fit whatever needs you might have. One other thing, there is a Starbucks about a 30 second walk from the front door of the hotel! Yes please! So, all in all, this hotel seemed to have everything covered. I didn’t see a detail that they hadn’t already thought about. I like that, it made it where I could just relax and enjoy some downtime.