We love when we find a hotel that welcomes you into its fold as if you’ve been part of its fabric since its opening. That’s how I felt as soon as I walked into both Arlo SoHo and Arlo Midtown. The vibe is both hip and hospitable; the service is one of the most heartfelt I’ve ever encountered at a hotel; the location for both properties is spot-on; and the guestrooms, onsite eateries and hang-out spots are just what your client deserves when looking for that bleisure getaway in a metropolis that never sleeps. Oh, and these are no cookie-cutter properties—they might fall under the “Arlo” umbrella, but they each have a distinct personality.
Arlo, you ask: That’s a name you’re going to want to keep on your radar because this brand is shaking things up in the hotel scene. They’re so forward-thinking, in fact, that they’re the very first hotel to pop up in Miami’s dynamic Wynwood neighborhood, known for its impressive graffiti pieces. Fully embracing the surrounding aesthetics, Arlo Wynwood features a vibrant colorful outdoor staircase that will have you swooning (it made us do a double-take when we first popped into the hotel for a look-around). This stylish hotel brand also has just swung open the doors to the 218-room Arlo Chicago, offering a new take on the old soul of the landmark 1916 Atlantic Bank building, and located in the heart of downtown Chicago, steps from Millennium Park.
“[Arlo] offers everything you need,” says Jimmy Suh, chief commercial officer at Arlo Hotels, “with some surprising moments of the unexpected. We offer the optimal balance of a great comfortable sleep with some experiential highlights throughout the stay, and we do our best to embrace the local community and the local culture and bring that into our hotels.
“We don’t profess to be the most luxurious,” adds Suh, “although we do offer a very accommodating product, design and overall experience. But I think where we do stand out is the incredible guest service.” He adds that travelers will encounter surprising moments of delight from the “moment they enter our lobby to the time of check out.”
Arlo in SoHo & Midtown
We dined deliciously, we cocktailed it at a chic speakeasy, we slept divinely, we were delighted with our surroundings. Arlo embraces a community-driven ambiance, with the overall feeling being more like you’re hanging out at your friend’s home surrounded by like-minded people than being in a stuffy hotel where everyone’s a stranger.
At Arlo SoHo, we had dinner at Lindens—open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour and Sunday brunch—offering everything from a raw bar to baked figs and brie as well as pizzas (we went for the yummy white clam pizza) and even a cheeseburger. Dessert? There’s the Pinot Noir poached pear, among other goodies. We also slipped into the onsite Foxtail speakeasy— it’s located behind a curtain right off the lobby and one could easily walk right by it—for a cheeky Sly Fox cocktail (although the pineapple upside-down cake cocktail was also calling our name) and to take in the intimate setting (it’s a small, dark space with a cool bar and great mood lighting). Also right off the lobby, is the lively Bodega, for that morning coffee, quick to-go lunch or must-have sugar high (there are a ton of colorful candies to choose from).
Arlo SoHo’s guestrooms (there are 322 total, including three suites) are micro-rooms that come in several categories—King, Queen, Twin (we love the idea of a twin room for a mother/daughter or friends getaway) and Bunk—some with a terrace (those are on the ninth floor). Although these micro-rooms are undeniably snug, they have large windows— thus making the space feel larger—as well as flip-down desks, peg board closets, mini-fridges and comfy beds. For clients who want a bit more room to stretch out, recommend the 350-sq.-ft. Arlo Suite, featuring a king bedroom, separate living room and an ample terrace.
The property also encompasses The Living Room, Studios, and an adjoining Terrace, as well as the charming open-air Courtyard for when your client needs to take a meeting or hold a stylish event. For a large event, groups can combine the Courtyard with Lindens, Foxtail and The Living Room. Best part? From this Arlo location you can take a nice stroll over to Tribeca and the 9/ 11 Memorial & Museum, or explore SoHo, of course (pop into buzzy Balthazar to dine with celebs).
We hopped over to Arlo Midtown, a more, let’s say, energetic location as it’s near Times Square, the Theater District, Fifth Avenue…in other words, one of NYC’s most touristy areas. That said, once travelers walk into this property they’re welcomed into the cocoon with a signature scent, a spacious lobby and earth-colored tones—an oasis away from the hustle and bustle. We sank into the Atrium Bar as soon as we arrived—a great place to watch all the street action while sipping on a cocktail. We dined divinely, although we weren’t able to experience the new dining area as that’s opening in a couple of months (another reason to head back). Midtown’s Bodega is more buttoned up—less candy, for one—but the coffee is just as delish. This is a larger property with 489 guestrooms, including six suites, and the guestrooms here offer more space, with categories ranging from King to Double to Suite and many featuring terraces. Deep pocket clients? Recommend the stunning 490-sq.-ft. Arlo Suite, with an expansive terrace (think VIP event for business clients). We were blown away with the size of the guestrooms overall given the city we were in—this property is a great value (especially for bleisure travelers). When it comes to groups there are a few spaces to choose from for meetings or events, including Studios, Alcoves and the 1,044-sq.-ft. Terrace.
During our visit, it felt like things were being shaken up at both of these high-energy properties—the rooftops—ART SoHo and ART Midtown—were about to open for the season (SoHo is open with Midtown coming soon, and your clients won’t want to miss those if only for the fab views), art pieces were being brought in to the different public spaces, and as I mentioned, a new restaurant space will be opening at Art Midtown. It feels as if Arlo is just one step ahead of what their guests might want, and we loved the liveliness of it all.
“We aspire to develop hotels that are in iconic districts,” says Suh. “I don’t think we would ever develop a hotel where we felt the culture was lackadaisical or bland.” And within that, “we bring in local partners to help bring out the experiential value. Within the art and wellness communities, all of the activations associated with those pillars, which we are absolutely going deep and heavy on this year, they’re all formed by local instructors, local studios, local galleries, and so on.”
Arlo Means Business
One of the ways the hotel brand embraces the local culture is via its Arlo Means Business program, which gives small businesses preferred access to the hotels’ best corporate rates as well as bonus perks for choosing Arlo as their business home base. Says Suh, “This program recognizes the small businesses—which have often brought out the culture of these districts [where the hotels are located]—and we want to make sure we preserve that culture by giving them the benefits that the bigger Fortune 500 companies enjoy. It’s all about making sure that the local culture and businesses can coexist. The last thing we want to do by developing a hotel in a community is dilute a community with a commercial building. We strongly feel that commercial and culture should absolutely exist in hotels since hotels often become the hubs of where people hang out.”
As members of the Arlo Means Business program, companies receive up to 40 percent off Arlo’s best available rates across its portfolio. Additionally, the program waives Arlo’s standard Urban Fee, provides vouchers to its signature Bodega grab-and-go food and beverage outlets, and grants late checkout based on availability. All small businesses, from independent artists and freelance contractors to mom-and-pop companies and budding startups, are encouraged to sign up for the program.
“People want to tack along some of these leisure experiences to their business travel. Some people bring along their partners, friends, family, too, and for us, we feel there’s no real separation. We want the business traveler to experience our hotel the same way that we want the leisure traveler to experience the hotel.
“Whether you’re a business traveler or leisure traveler, you still want a great local experience, you want great food, you want great service. So, to us they go hand-in-hand and even with Arlo Means Business, we actually want the business owners and operators to invite their friends and families to stay with us,” says Suh.
Rooftop Wellness Series
Arlo has just launched the 2023 Spring/Summer Rooftop Wellness Series across its 5-property portfolio in NYC and Wynwood Miami. Open to guests and locals alike, the wellness series will run from May 5 through Sept. 30, 2023, and feature complimentary and ticketed yoga classes, dance and fitness classes and meditation sessions, including 305 Fitness at Arlo SoHo and Lit & Lean at Arlo Nomad.
So, who’s the target client? Forget age or a certain generation, says Suh, and focus on people “who are unique in their own way. Who want to search for a different experience, so age is absolutely not the matter. We have something that is out of the ordinary and we would never turn up our nose to anyone. We want everyone to get the best out of their local experience.”
For more on this chill hotel brand, check out arlohotels.com.