AC Hotels is one of Marriott’s newest brands. It started out in Spain in 1999, spread throughout Europe, and is now making a move on the U.S. where there are 19 hotels open.
Last week I stayed at the new AC Hotel Atlanta Buckhead, located adjacent to the city’s tony Phipps Plaza shopping center on the northern edge of Buckhead. My midweek rate was $185 per night plus tax. Parking in the underground deck was $20 per night.
Here are notes from my stay and a walk-through with Jamie Krueger, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing:
This Buckhead property opened last August. Atlanta will get two more AC Hotels this year– one downtown and another in Midtown. There are other AC hotels in Boston, Chicago, New York, Irvine, Phoenix, San Jose among other cities. (See all locations.)
Some, but not all AC Hotels are built new-from-the-ground-up like the one in Atlanta. Some are conversions from other hotels, so design and features can vary. (For example, its recently opened Atlanta downtown hotel used to be a Holiday Inn.)
The brand is aimed squarely at the millennial market and the design is super minimalist. Rooms have gray faux wood floors, white sheets, some beige wood and leather furniture. This baby-boomer would describe it as somewhat cold and austere, but I know there are travelers out there who like those clean lines and functional design.
There are 166 rooms in this six story building fronting the Phipps Plaza Parking lot. It’s located at the corner of Peachtree Road and Wieuca Road. The hotel gets 4 out of five stars based on 78 TripAdvisor reviews.
The only carpeting in the hotel is in the hallways. The lobby and rooms have faux hardwood floors. It has a gray and brown color palette throughout. Bathrooms do not have traditional doors– instead you’ll find sliding glass panels, which are not sound or light-proof, which may cause disturbance when there’s more than one guest in the room.
Cool feature: Windows are “self tinting” which means they turn bluish in direct sunlight. This helps cut the air conditioning bill and will help the hotel get its LEED certification later this year. Regrettably, none of the room windows open to the outside, which is a turn off to me.
There is a small, square indoor hotel pool, not set up for laps, and appears more like a big hot tub.
I was very impressed with the robust selections at the breakfast bar. The sliced meat, cheese, muesli, warm quiche, loaves of bread, croissants, espresso and especially the shaved jamon Iberico made me feel like I was in Europe.
Breakfast is the only meal served at the hotel. During lunch or dinner, there’s a light-bite tapas style menu. Plus there are many restaurant options in the surrounding area and adjacent mall– and a free hotel shuttle for rides within a two-mile radius.
Standard weekday rates run about $249 per night, and $189 on slower weekends. (But as we all know, rates can vary significantly based on demand.)
The hotel bar is the nerve center of the hotel– bartenders are (of course) mixologists and have created an unique menu of craft, signature and barrel aged cocktails to choose from. Guests can order tapas such (which are likely enough for a light meal) including bruschetta, mixed salads, nuts, olives, aioli potatoes, etc.
Read more about the AC Hotels chain here.
On summer nights, the hotel has a live DJ and when it’s not too hot, guest can sit indoors or outdoors. The bar and lobby space doubles as special events space, so you could find yourself in the middle of a party when you go down for a drink.
Overall, for a one-night stay, this was a nice, easy and efficient hotel at a decent price in an excellent location. I’d prefer a warmer ambience, but that might just be me.
Have you stayed at an AC Hotel? Would you? Please leave your comments below.