Located in an area that transitions from a busy street to a transit hub to a public park, and mere blocks from the Microsoft campus, the Esterra Park neighborhood in Redmond Washington is a growing tech hub east of Seattle—attracting a steady influx of visitors and traveling tech workers.
New to the hospitality industry, a hybrid hotel mixes two brands under one roof. Our first project of this kind, Ankrom Moisan was asked to design a dual-branded Aloft and Element hotel across a full-block site in a busy intersection of Esterra Park. While sharing the same parent, the two sibling brands are pretty different—Aloft is flashy and bold, while Element is subdued and calm.
Our design solves these contrasting elements strategically and thoughtfully. Architecturally, massing, form, and materials convey the distinct identity of the two brands, inside and out. With one managing group for both hotels, shared building systems and back-of-house functions promotes operating efficiency. Our plan also creates a harmonious landscaped central courtyard, shared pool, gym, and meeting center.
Because visitors view both hotels from the outside and, on inside, need to navigate between the two, it was important to provide a streamlined, cohesive design resulting in intuitive wayfinding. The project’s stone base and rich landscape create a unified look from the street level, and green roofs and rain gardens visually tie together the terraced upper levels of the two wings.
Inside, our consistent use of materials and wayfinding helps people know which part of the hotel they’re in. Carpet transitions and space planning for shared spaces give people an intuitive way to move through the hotel. Our visual cues seamlessly blend the two hotel brands while maintaining clearly separate identities.
It was also important to connect each hotel to its location. At the busy corner of Aloft, where 152nd and NE 28th Street meet, an outdoor plaza with public seating opens off the glass-walled, light-filled hotel bar. Element opens to the new Esterra Park, the communal heart of the neighborhood.
This project pushed the client just outside of their comfort zone, elevating both brands beyond their minimum standards to create a sophisticated, well-functioning dual-branded hotel.