Review:

  • Aloft Charlotte Uptown at the EpiCentre
  • 210 E Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202

The Aloft Charlotte Uptown at the EpiCentre is an upscale boutique hotel with helpful staff, beautiful decor, and a unique theme that will surprise and delight the most jaded traveler!

Like other Aloft properties, the hotel provides modern rooms with colorful decor. The staff is helpful and friendly. But what boutique hotel doesn’t have all that?

What makes the Aloft Charlotte so special is the theme that will surprise and delight you: a reverse escape room!

You’re probably familiar with the “escape room” concept. These are recreational facilities where the attendees must solve a series of puzzles before they can leave the room.

Aloft Charlotte’s take on this is a real innovation. Instead of solving puzzles to get out, Aloft requires you to solve a series of puzzles to get in!

Puzzle #1:

On arrival you’ll be faced with the first challenge: Find the entrance!

The artists that designed this challenge adopted a minimalistic approach. While other hotels use multiple signs and arrows to guide your way, this minimalistic design includes a single, badly placed, sign! This well-lit sign hints at the real entrance. Can you guess where it is?

The building has multiple mall entrances, but none of them are actually for the hotel.
Travelers will enjoy walking around the outdoor mall guessing incorrectly which door is correct, frustrated to discover that the answer is: none of them! If you enjoy wandering around aimlessly on cold, dark, moonless night, this will be a puzzle you’ll write home about… or maybe just scream into the empty void!

Don’t try to cheat by using Google Maps. The designers of this puzzle assured that the address listed there has nothing to do with the actual entrance.

This reviewer lucked out. My Lyft driver dropped a few hints to be before he sped away. However such hope was fleeting because that only lead me to…

Puzzle #2:

Congrats! You’ve found the elevator. But what do you do now?

As is the Escape Room tradition, half the fun is figuring out what the puzzles are in the first place!

We guessed correctly that the next puzzle was figuring out which floor to go to. Hint: it isn’t the first floor! Nor the second! Nor the third! Nor the fourth!

This smart traveler always brings a powerful microscope with him for just this occasion. I won’t spoil the surprise, but there is infinitesimally tiny lettering that tells you which floor to go to. Hint: It rhymes with “blifth gloor”.

Enter the elevator, go to the designated floor and you are ready for…

Puzzle #3:

To be honest, this reviewer found the third and final puzzle to be pretty easy. However, after so much fun and excitement from the first two puzzles, it was nice to get a break.

Leaving the elevator you realize the third and last puzzle is to find the hotel desk. Follow the hallway and you will eventually see the friendly face of an Aloft staff person at the reservation desk.

I have to hand it to the Aloft staff. They stayed in character pretending they didn’t know anything about the puzzles. However, they did give me my reward for solving all three puzzles: My room key!

Conclusion

If you are looking for a reasonably priced, upscale, hotel in Charlotte, with a sense of fun that can be at times challenging, I can’t recommend Aloft Charlotte Uptown at the EpiCentre highly enough!

It’s a hotel you’ll really enjoy… if you can find it!