Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Review: the Aloft London Excel hotel, by City Airport

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

This is my review of the Aloft London Excel hotel at the Excel centre in East London.

The Aloft website is here if you want to find out more.

When Starwood invited me to try out the SPG Suite at the O2 last week, they also offered me a free room at the Aloft London hotel at Excel.  Whilst I live in London, I had never stayed at an Aloft before so I thought I would give it a try.  I was impressed.

Aloft is, as I see it, a budget lifestyle brand.  Whilst there are over 100 Aloft hotels now, only four are in Europe – one in Belgium, one in Turkey, one in Liverpool (an excellent Category 2 redemption) and this one.

File 21-04-2015 09 56 37

What do I mean by ‘budget lifestyle’?

Well, there is no room service and no mini-bar, although there is a fridge.  Instead you get a shop just off the lobby where you can buy food, drink and coffee 24 hours a day (see below).  When the bar closed at night, we simply walked 20 feet to the shop and bought some beer there, taking it back to the bar to drink.

File 21-04-2015 09 58 44

Aloft is not short on amenities.  The ‘modern’ essentials are included – wi-fi and fixed line internet is free, you get decent quality Bliss toiletries and there was both a kettle and a coffee machine in my room.  This is a long way away from the Holiday Inn Express model.

There is a cool-looking bar which has live bands a few nights a week – not something you usually associate with a ‘no frills’ property.

Aloft London Excel even has a swimming pool – a very funky looking pool as you can see – and a large gym.  This hotel actually has plenty of ‘frills’ when you get down to it.

File 21-04-2015 09 58 27

Take a look at my suite:

File 21-04-2015 09 57 15


File 21-04-2015 09 57 40


File 21-04-2015 09 57 27

As you can see, it is well furnished.  Here is the surprising bit – last Friday, this suite was selling for just £149.  A standard room was £95.  Where else in London can you get a suite that would sleep a family in a hotel with a swimming pool for £149, the day before arrival?

(Note that pricing at Aloft is heavily influenced by what is happing at Excel, so you may find that rates are a little crazy if there is a major event taking place.)

Unlike most low-cost hotels, Aloft also has a smart-looking restaurant called Fede although I didn’t try it out.  On Friday, instead of sitting down for a restaurant breakfast, I decided to save time by grabbing a box of cereal and a cappuccino from the shop in the lobby.

In terms of transport, the hotel is roughly 60 seconds walk from Prince Regent station on the Docklands Light Railway.  Do not get off at Custom House for Excel which is at the western end of the complex – the hotel is at the eastern end.  You are just three stops from Canning Town where you can transfer to the Jubilee Line.

File 21-04-2015 09 57 59

It is worth adding that the hotel is very, very close to City Airport.  I had a plane flying past my window every five minutes or so.  Soundproofing is fantastic, however, and you will not be disturbed by the aircraft.

In terms of a Starwood Preferred Guest redemption, the hotel is 10,000 SPG points per night.  My target value for an SPG point is 1.5p so I would only use points if room rates were inflated due to an event taking place at Excel.

All in all, I found Aloft London to be a very sound hotel and excellent value for money.  It is a massive improvement on the Ramada hotel next door when I stayed a couple of years ago.  If you can make the location work for you then it is well worth considering.  I would certainly be willing to stay at another Aloft property based on my experiences here.

You can read our full series of London airport hotel reviews here.

You can find out more about the hotel, and book, on this page of their website.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (May 2023)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is doubled to 40,000 Bonvoy points – and you get a free night voucher too! Apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

40,000 bonus points and a free night voucher – only until 30th May! Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (14)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Scallder says:

    My first ever SPG stay was at the Aloft in Brooklyn and I was very impressed with it. Good location as well for Metro lines into Manhattan so a good alternative if you want to stay off the island.

    Also managed to get some Starpoints even though I booked through by ringing up the hotel in advance and attaching my SPG number to my booking.

  • Fenny says:

    Wonder if I can swing a stay here when I have to go and visit some of my cherubs at Star Lane.

  • Colin mackinnon says:

    Stayed here in a combined BA hotel plus flight Edi-Lcy which was cheaper than just the flight!

    Was well impressed – not just because we were “paid” to stay there !

  • Metatone says:

    What’s the best way to get from there to London City with holiday luggage?

    • JQ says:

      I’d walk it but you might prefer a taxi. DLR goes the long way round.

  • Tony Lucas says:

    Sshhh, this was my secret :). It’s my goto hotel in London most of the time. The closeness to the DLR makes up for the trek in to central London for me.

    As you mention, the price can vary amazingly depending on what is happening at Excel.

    The restaurant used to be externally managed, but is now run by the hotel. The food there is typically of a level you would expect, but I have never been unhappy with it.

    Regarding other comments about getting to LCY, it is walkable but not with luggage really.

    I took an UberX two weeks ago from LCY, and they took me right around the bottom of Excel and back across the top again, this is *not* the correct route. It should be about a £6 fare. Obviously the airport taxis don’t like doing it.

    You can also take the DLR and double back on yourself, but it isn’t worth the hassle.

  • Mark says:

    Damn! I was exhibiting there at the weekend and was there on Friday! Missed the chance for a beer.

    • Rob says:

      Let me tell you a story. When I put a photo on Instagram from the concert, a friend emailed me to say that two mutual friends were in the KPMG Suite. I popped round there after the show and they were there. They were ALSO at the Aloft – one had the suite next to mine!

      However, I only found out later that this guy who emailed me was ALSO at the Aloft on Thurday night! He didn’t mention it because he assumed I was heading home and not in a hotel.

      I think a lot of frequent flyers use it as a way of building up SPG nights to keep their status.

  • danksy says:

    The bed looks like a kingsize? I always seem to get double beds when I stay at Holiday Inn or HI Express; not good when we’re used to sleeping in a superkingsize!

    At the weekend we stayed at a HI and were upgraded to an exec room with Jacuzzie and huge bathroom, but the bed was still a double!


    • TJ says:

      This vey much sounds like a first world problem to me! 🙂

    • Rob says:

      Yes, it was a big bed. Although, to be fair, we have a king at home so it is always a bit of a squeeze when we end up with a double. No space to add a wandering child in the middle of a night in a double either!

  • TJ says:

    I’ll give this a go on Thursday prices permitting!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.