Excel's new hotel looking for high-tech edge

By Rob Virtue on November 22, 2011 2:11 PM |

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Upbeat pop music plays out while media-types lounge around in jeans holding informal meetings in the lobby.

Just two weeks since opening and its plain to see the Aloft Excel hotel has a different feel to many of its competitors in the business dominated area of the Royal Docks - where men in suits and easy listening music are the staple.

It's a style Brian McGuinness, senior vice-president of Aloft Hotels, thinks will work well.

"The new generation of meetings will be coming here and this caters for them," he said. "These people are tech savvy and into the latest fashions and we needed to build a hotel that appeals to them.

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"A lot of money has gone into this area and the expansion of the Excel makes this a key convention centre, so these are the groups of people that will be attracted here."

Brian said the hotel's convenience would prove a key element in attracting the time-pressed worker.

"It's the perfect place to wake up head downstairs and grab a quick coffee before heading over to the convention centre," he said.

"We've got high speed internet access, a 'grab and go' 24 hour food area for you to get a salad or a sandwich and a lobby perfect for a pop-up meeting."

The 252 room venue opened at the end of October. A hotel in Abu Dhabi next door to Adnec's convention centre in the United Arab Emirates provided the template.

Adnec owns the Excel and was keen for Aloft's owner Starwood Hotels, also behind the W London in the West End, to put a product on the doorstop of the east London conference centre.

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Features include a swimming pool - Crowne Plaza is the only other Newham hotel with one - a steam room and a sauna.

As well as Excel visitors, Aloft is also marketing itself for its proximity to The O2, London City Airport and Canary Wharf. However, the convention centre is undoubtedly its main draw as seen last week when the World Travel Market came to town.

"The first week was good but the second week was absolutely solid," said Brian. "We know the hotel business but when you're so busy so early it's a challenge."