The online prototype
of an aloft hotel
Starwood Hotels &
Resorts’ first “aloft” brand hotels will not debut until
2008, but thousands of people already are roaming the lobby, guest
rooms and lounges in an online version built into Second Life, a
virtual world where players assume identities and interact.
Marc Schiller, the CEO and co-founder
of Electronic Artists, developer of the virtual hotel, based the
online property on artist renderings, architectural drawings and
meetings with aloft’s designers. Though the cyber hotel is
unstaffed, the online preview is a good representation of the
brand’s loftlike goal.
“What’s been surprising is just how
much being in a virtual hotel becomes immersive for people,” says
Schiller. “While they’re still at their computers, they feel like
they’re in the hotel. It’s fun and gives people a sense of what’s
Eventually, the design team plans to
take what they learn from users’ habits in the virtual hotel and
use it when building the real one.
For a free visit, go to www.virtualaloft.com.