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Images: First hotel for 'Second Life'

Company behind Sheraton, Westin hotel chains is giving its new brand a test-drive in cyberspace.
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1 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Long view of virtual hotel

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is launching its new Aloft Hotel in the virtual land of Second Life in September, months before the chain of hotels opens in real life. The brick-and-mortar version of the hotel, which caters to active, urban 30- to 50-year-olds, is set to roll out the red carpet sometime in 2008. The folks at Starwood are hoping the hotel attracts a lively bunch of avatars who like to mingle in the lobby and give feedback about the hotel. In this way, Second Life will help guide the earthbound hotel's operations.

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2 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Virtual hotel under construction

Creators have been protective of the new hotel, and only certain people are permitted on the island to watch the construction unfold. Residents of Second Life can get a glimpse of Aloft Island by standing on the border of a nearby island called Argali and raising their distance meter to 256.

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3 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

The outer shell of the hotel

So far, just the outer shell of the hotel is finished. This was created by 3D-design shop The Electric Sheep Company based on a single exterior rendering provided by Starwood. The building process, which began roughly a month ago, is an ongoing collaboration among Starwood, Electric Sheep and marketing company ElectricArtists.

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