So many hotels are so much the same that picking one usually comes down to some notable amenity—some froufrou toiletries in the bathroom, say. The next amenity everyone will be fighting over? High ceilings. Loft-style hotels are the new trend in the hotel business. Starwood's Aloft concept (9-foot ceilings) and a startup called NYLO (11-foot ceilings!) both are set to debut in 2007. Their targets are the suburbs, airports, and smaller cities currently thick with Residence Inns and Hilton Garden Inns. Room rates are expected to be between $120 and $200 a night.
We can all appreciate a fairly priced, fairly hip alternative to that Motel 6 guy leaving the light on for us. But let's embrace the irony. This is new construction, not converted warehouse space. And this urban vibe will likely be situated not far from a Wal-Mart and an Outback Steakhouse. Doesn't get much cooler than that.
A version of this article appeared in the April 2006 issue of Fast Company magazine.