New Aloft hotel opens in iconic Bassett Tower
It's been more than a year since we last got a look inside the iconic Bassett Tower in downtown El Paso. Back then, it was a whirlwind of construction crews. But this week, the building was reborn. The former office building, a gorgeous Art Deco edifice designed by famed architect Henry Trost. is now an 89-room Aloft branded hotel.
“Right when you walk into our lobby, you will be welcomed with music, with a very casual atmosphere," said hotel general manager Heidi Poole. “It’s just amazing how beautiful it turned out and it almost looks original, like it was done like this.”
After more than two years of construction, the hotel welcomed its first guests on Thursday. The owners spent more than $8 million transforming the 15-story building into the Aloft, which will include restaurants and retail space on the ground floor.
“It’s going to be different, different from anything else they’ve experienced," said Poole.
Bassett Tower was built in 1930, so almost everything needed to be upgraded or completely rebuilt. What were once barren basements are now conference rooms and a gym. Some of the original entrances to the offices were preserved, so was the marble around the elevators. And most importantly, the elaborate and ornate entrance to the original lobby was meticulously restored. A special team of preservationists polished the brass by hand and now the entrance has returned to its former glory.
Due to the fact that the tower was an office building, the rooms have a unique layout, which Poole said adds to the appeal.
“I’m still going into room and I’m amazed at finding a little difference in each of the rooms," Poole said.
“It’s definitely transformational," said Joe Gudernrath, the executive director for the Downtown Management District. "Not only for the property, but its contributing to downtown’s overall transformation as well.”
Gudernath said the Aloft Hotel will make a big impact on the city's efforts to revitalize downtown.
“A hotel guest is a great guest to the downtown because it is that outside money coming in to the community to be spent here locally," he said. "And it’s also people who want to get out of their rooms and travel around downtown so we’re really building a population who will want to get out and about during the evening hours.”
It's located on 303 Texas Ave.