Aloft, usually a chain of less-expensive-but-designy business hotels, has opened its first 'resort' property at South Beach's historic Ankara Motel, where they retained certain elements of the original two story structure while adding lots of new stuff, including a new tower.
Built in 1954, the Ankara was jauntily located on a peninsula where the Collins Canal, Indian Creek waterway, and Lake Pancoast join on the interior of Miami Beach, a general layout which the new Aloft respectfully retains. The original Collins Avenue entrance, a flamboyant lobby space with soaring triangular roof, has been completely converted to restaurant use. Guests are redirected to a large new lobby decorated in an industrial aesthetic and street art in an ode to Wynwood with a spacious drop-off area facing Liberty Avenue, away from the traffic of Collins Avenue. Aesthetics aside (one immediately thinks of the over-commercialization of Wynwood, and how it has nothing to do with Miami Beach) this layout change makes a lot of sense.
Built in the former parking lot (the Ankara Motel is officially no longer a true motel) the lobby is the base of the new guest room tower. Other notable features include a glass grand staircase, the lobby bar, the library, and a robot 'butler' called Botlr that the promotional photographs show pulling your wheelie luggage even though it doesn't have any actual things to grip the luggage with. According to another press release for a Botlr 'meet and greet' which we didn't actually attend, it also delivers things (which makes more sense), helps people take selfies, and serves as a wingman, or 'wingbot for shy singles' at the bar.