INFLUENCER: Damaris Messina of Aloft Providence Downtown

With a “never boring” MO, this JWU grad is making a city hotel the place to be 


As director of sales at Aloft Providence Downtown, you seem to be making your signature “never boring” imprint on the place. Tell us about your efforts to make the hotel a nightlife destination.  

My goal is to create a destination with a vibrant hotel social scene and an innovative music scene through our LIVE@Aloft performances. I want to create a community of followers that’s always on the lookout of what’s next at Aloft because the unexpected happens here!


Tell us about the naming of Blu Violet and what vibe you are setting out to create there. 

Blu Violet is our rooftop restaurant on the seventh floor. It offers the most magnificent views of downtown, College Hill, and Innovation Park. The name comes from a collaboration between the state flower (blue violet) and the color when the sunlight hits the Providence River. It’s a great spot for after-work drinks and shareable bites, but what really sets us apart is our RUM&B LIVE DJ Brunch on Sundays!


You earned an MBA from JWU. Was it the university that brought you to Providence? 

It did – Johnson & Wales paved the path to my hospitality career. Being from the Dominican Republic, I discovered at a very young age my passion for hospitality, so when I was in search of a school, Johnson & Wales checked all the boxes. I loved their reverse curriculum and internship program. Who gets to travel to Italy in their sophomore year or study abroad in Switzerland for three months? I loved my time at Johnson & Wales and met many of my closest friends and my husband through the university.  


A peek at your Instagram @fabulouslydamaris shows that not only are you a fashionista, but also a down-to-earth mom and wife ready to go camping or hop on a plane at a moment’s notice. How do you balance it all? 

I have an amazing support system and an incredible husband who cheers me on every step of the way. We are avid road trippers and together have traveled by road to 48 states, as well as Hawaii. We have developed a passion for National Parks through our road travels and have been to 38 out of the 63 total available in the USA. 


When you’re not working, where are your favorite independently owned places to shop, dine, hang out in Providence? 

Providence is so quaint; I love finding trendy pieces at NAVA on Wickenden Street and local home accessories, and gifting ideas at Homestyle on Westminster. I enjoy discovering new bars and restaurants with friends or learning a new skill with my husband like taking a class with New Harvest Coffee Roasters on the art of espresso. My favorite restaurant without a doubt is Red Stripe – their Portuguese Mussels & Frites are obnoxiously delicious and always consistent. I love the lively atmosphere, service, and sourdough bread – simply delish!



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