New Starwood Property In Cupertino Tweaks The Brand Standard A Bit To Feature Apple Technology

Starwood continued its growth in the US this week with a new Aloft property in Cupertino, CA, literally right next door to Apple’s HQ.

Aloft isn’t my favorite Starwood brand; I’m more of a full-service guy.  But, one of the cool things I saw in the press release was that the rooms are featuring Apple TVs.  For those not familiar, Apple TV is a small box that hooks into your TV and allows you to stream a bunch of things including your iTunes content, any movies or TV shows you already purchased through iTunes, MLB games, Netflix and a bunch more.  The big plus here for me is that you can key in your iTunes ID and have all your favorites right there on the TV in your room. I’m not sure what it took to get Starwood to allow the brand exception, but thumbs up for the decision!

A colleague of mine actually traveled with an Apple TV for a while when his family went on vacation to make it easier to access content they wanted to watch (and had already paid for).  When I travel with my family, having access to all that content is a big plus.  And, since the Apple TV fits in the palm of your hand, it’s easy to see why it might be a good idea to throw it in the suitcase.

I’ve thought for a while that hotels could do consumers a big service by finding some way to allow us to access all that content we have elsewhere.  Aloft already has a media box that’s easy to plug a laptop into, so that’s a start.  But, being able to plug an account into a smart TV and have all my goodies on the screen would definitely make that room feel more like home.


  1. I dunno. Isn’t the point of going on vacation with your family to not watch TV? Just leave off the TV and bring a deck of cards and a books. Even the littlest of children will enjoy having a chapter or two read to them at night. I’m pretty sure I can live without my iTunes account for a week or two as well.

    1. Nicole,
      I’m sure I could live without my iTunes account for a week as well. Okay, maybe not. 😉
      Anyway, we like to maintain the bedtime routine when our kids travel so it’s easier to get them back into a rhythm when we get home. For us, that’s a short TV show (usually 15 minutes) and then 3 books. iTunes makes that a bunch easier.

  2. My favorite hotels are the ones that have the TV off to the side in a corner somewhere, so I don’t see it first thing when I wake up in the morning. Bring back the TV armoirs!

    1. Scott,
      I don’t mind the flat screens so much. They beat the heck out of the old tube TVs. In a 2-room suite, though, I’m perfectly fine with a TV in the living room and nothing in the bedroom.

  3. @Nicole,

    This Aloft is in Cupertino, in the middle of Silicon Valley, right next to Apple’s campus. I doubt there are a lot of families staying there for vacations.

    As far as traveling with an Apple TV, the standard problem is that since it doesn’t have a web-browser or anything, you can’t get by the initial “accept these terms” or “type in your room number and last name” screens that Hotels throw up on the Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections that they offer. So the Apple TV won’t work on it’s own. You either need to travel with a Mi-Fi device on an unlimited plan (ha!) or more likely, hook a laptop up to the hotel’s network and then share its Wi-Fi so the Apple TV can see it.

    Perhaps the Aloft simply has free Wi-Fi with no login, or they’ve done some kind of tweak based on the Apple TV MAC addresses so they can login automatically. Or something.

    You’d be able to use the in-room Apple TV’s to:
    – watch digital copies for the Disney DVDs you have at home that you authorized through iTunes (Apple TV can stream them from the cloud).
    – see your photo stream including photos you’ve been taking on the trip
    – use AirPlay from your iPhone or iPad to play videos from say a SlingBox or CBS/ABC/HBO Go apps on the road.
    – you could of course also purchase movies through the Apple TV for a lot less than you’d have to pay the hotel, unless they’ve somehow disabled that feature.

    1. Glenn,

      My iPhone works great as a hotspot (iPad, too for that matter). That’s how I get my AppleTV to work on the road when necessary. Usually we use an iPad since it’s easier.

      But, that’s why I’d get a benefit out of a pre-installed AppleTV. In theory, the hotel would deal with the internet issue if they were installing AppleTVs.

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