I dropped in on Aloft Island to check out the upcoming release of this much ballyhooed "Aloft" virtual hotel being sponsored by the Starwood Hotel chain. It’s set for a September launch, although it looks still pretty raw right now.
A recent Business Week article quotes the Starwood folks on their intent behind the SL build:
"For Starwood, opening aloft in Second Life is a way to test-market the hotel’s design and rapidly prototype the evolving concept. For instance, staffers will observe how people move through the space, what areas and types of furniture they gravitate towards, and what they ignore."
If this is the case, the developers should try and make the SL users experience as close to a real world experience as possible. I.e.
- make the hotel a "no fly" zone
- Require people to "check-in" before they can enter hotel rooms
- a virtual maitre’d should have to seat people before they can enter the restaurant
- Elevators should be the preferred means of transport from floor to floor, instead of teleporting.
Lastly, if you are going for a hip, stylish atmosphere, you should be prepared for griefers. Nothing ruins a hotel stay like someone shooting your avatar or an obnoxious particle effect that won’t go away.
Here’s some pics I just took:
The entrance way.
Here are the plans for the SL build laid on the floor of the hotel for easy reference by the developers. No mention of the actual hotel rooms, but clearly that must be part of the design.
This is the stylish and minimalist bar area.
I like the use of pictures of the real world hotel side-by-side with the virtual spaces. I hope those stay up.