by Morton D. Rosenbaum | December 01, 2005

Arizona Biltmore Resort Spa

It was odd timing, to be sure. At this year’s Lodging Conference at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced its hotly anticipated spin-off of the W brand, the sleekly uncapitalized “aloft” (rendering above, left), with high ceilings, huge windows, and all the clean, hip elegance of a private urban loft space. Almost simultaneously, all-caps newbie NYLO (above, right), whose president helped launch and nurture Starwood’s W brand until 2004, debuted its own line of loft hotels, based out of Atlanta. Is sibling rivalry inevitable? NYLO CEO John Russell claims he welcomes the competition. “I’m actually glad Starwood came out with its loft product,” he says. “It will drive customers to say, ‘We’ve got to try this loft thing.’ ”

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