How to stay at the newly reopened vintage Aloha motel in Chandler – The Arizona Republic

The Aloha motel — named after the Hawaiian word for both “hello” and “goodbye” — has reopened after extensive renovations on N. Arizona Avenue and W. Chandler Blvd in downtown Chandler. 
Owners John Hylton and Bill Simmonds call their renovated 26-room midcentury building a “vacation boutique.”
“This is a destination,” Simmonds said  “Our price point is favorable compared to other hotels. We want to continue on with the story. We are already 40 to 50 years down and here we are, continuing a new story.”
Motel rooms can be booked online or through Airbnb, but are not available on a walk-in basis. 
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Hylton and Simmonds stumbled upon The Aloha Motel after they moved to Chandler from Washington.
Pilots by trade, the pair had also worked together on several real estate investments in single family and multifamily homes in the Northwest. 
When they came to Arizona, they felt Chandler was the perfect city to start investing in, Simmonds said. 
“When we transitioned out of the Northwest, we liquidated most of our assets there and we started to invest in the Phoenix area and The Aloha was the first step,” he said. 
“Looking at the property, knowing downtown Chandler, and looking at the numbers, we thought, ‘there seems like there’s an opportunity here,'” Hylton said. “We didn’t know what to turn it into. We kept finding out more and more. It kept evolving.” 
The men originally planned to create long-term apartment rentals in the Aloha building. COVID-19 changed their plans — and the course of Aloha’s reinvention.
“It was a tough time to own apartments,” Hylton said. “People couldn’t pay rent. From the safety of our perspective, it made sense for people to stay in a short-term rental. Plus, people wanted to travel. We saw people at our properties in Sedona wanting to go to the cabin with their family and isolate.” 
The partners decided to turn the motel into an Airbnb-operated motel.
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At The Aloha, people check into their own rooms, Hylton said, adding that this creates a completely hands-off motel model where each room is handled like an Airbnb.
Once people book their stay and arrive to The Aloha, guests are sent a room code to access their rooms. 
Though guests cannot walk into a front desk lobby area to book a room, visitors can scan a QR code on the front door of the property to see available rooms for that night. 
“They can book it right there and walk up to their door in five minutes,” Hylton said.
In 2019, the motel seemed like an abandoned building, Hylton said. They started renovations that year and removed all the flooring, installed new ceilings and installed entirely new electrical and plumbing systems. 
“It was down to the studs,” Hylton said. 
All 26 rooms have been redesigned and feature vintage photos of Volkswagen vans by local artist Randy Slack and neon lights that match the color on the door, each of which is different. A ukulele hangs in each room that anyone can take off the wall to play and each room has kitchenettes that were included in the original motel design in the 1960s, according to creative consultant Tara Langston, who also installed an Instagram-friendly wooden tiki wall by the pool.
The original four colorful tikis were removed from the front of the motel and swapped for a clean white wall topped with a blue Hawaiian flower and painted with the motel’s name and the words “hello” and “goodbye” painted on either side of the building. 
“Aloha is a double meaning word,” Langston said. It means ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye,’ so I had this idea of bracketing a period of time between saying ‘hello,’ and ‘goodbye,’ and saying, ‘this is the time that you’re here and not in ordinary life.’” 
Details: The Aloha Motel, 445 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler.
Reach the reporter at Follow her on Instagram @sofia.krusmark.


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