My wife and I are planning a trip to Spain next April. Most of the Marriott branded hotels are AC hotels. Can any Marriott Insiders offer sugestions or comments on AC Hotels? Are AC hotels really "Marriott properties?" Are Platinum benefits offered?
Specifically we plan on being in Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and finally Madrid.
As far as I know Marriot group bought most part of AC hotels a few years ago. Most Low-quality hotels remained outside the operation and change their brand.
I don't have platinum benefits, Last year i enjoyed gold membership and they followed every benefit promised (I stayed last year in AC hotels for business in Seville, Malaga, Zaragoza, Tenerife and Madrid). If you have any doubt I encourage you to email the hotel to confirm it and ask for special preferences.
AC hotels was well-known in Spain for keeping a good degree of quality and standards. Most of the hotels are business oriented (I choose them because they're not expensive, the rooms and beds are comfortable and the breakfast is very good in my opinion). but there are also very special AC hotels, in selected locations, historical buildings that could be interesting for enjoying the most of a pleasure trip.
Regarding the cities:
Seville: In 2014 the "Seville Fair" is 5-10th May so if you're travelling in April you won't have problem to find accomodation within budget. Choose "AC hotel Ciudad de Sevilla". Is the best option. If you don't have budget problems try to reserve a suite or junior suite (some suites have stairs)
Badalona: My option in Barcelona (I'd prefer to overnight in Barcelona) would be "AC hotel Barcelona forum" if you need to be near Badalona. Ask for a high floor with nice views, as the hotel is in the coast maybe you can choose views to the sea or to the city. The problem, at night is a lonely location.
Other options if the distance to Badalona is not a problem (If you need to go to Badalona the difference will be 15 min in a taxi), (depending on your budget) Renaissance Barcelona Hotel. In the center of the ciy, or "Hotel Arts" is an iconic hotel also in the coast surrounded by a lot of places to eat or have a cocktail -these two option are more expensive, I haven't been there-
Valencia, well, there is only one option "AC hotel Valencia", I haven't been there cause I live in Valencia...
It's a modern hotel in a modern area of the city 300mts of the modern buildings of "Palau de les Arts", "Science Museum" and "Oceanografic Parc". If you don't mind being 10 mins from the historical city center -Valencia is not so large- (a taxi could cost 10-15$ from your hotel to the center) and you have shops, restaurants and pubs near the hotel.
If you need additional information or I could give you a piece of an advice on what to see in Valencia, let me know, and enjoy your travel!
It was a pleasure.
Let me know how many days are you going to stay in Valencia and I'll prepare you a list of the indispensable places to be. If you and your wife are "restaurant lovers" I can also give you interesting recommendations different than the typical touristic places -maybe you want to taste the original "paella", -normally the "things" called "paella" outside Valencia have nothing to do with the original recipe-
One VERY important thing i forgot to tell. "Holy Week" in 2014 is 13th to 21th April. This can be specially important in Seville. The city will be overcrowded, and so the prices, plane and railway tickets, and difficulties to make a reservation. If you are interested in beeing in Seville by these dates my advice is to think it twice or plan the trip before the end of the year. it can be the opportunity to see one of the most important religious and artistic events in Seville, or a nightmare if you are interested in enjoying the city in a more relaxed way -some investigation in the internet can give you information to make a decission-. In Valencia and Barcelona there are also celebrations in "Holy Week" but you won't possibly have problems (possibly some monuments and buildings close on 17th and 18th April).
One more thing, when writing about AC hotel in Valencia i said it was 10 min. from the center: it's 10min by car, walking could be 30-40min)
Here is my review of the AC Recoletos in Madrid...
No real benefits... No CL and the AC (not to be confused with the Autograph Collection) hotels don't give you breakfast. I didn't even get a room upgrade and was there for 5 nights (hotel did not seem to be anywhere near full).
Staying there on points again this month. Staying at the Burgos AC on a prepaid rate later this week. Also staying at the Autugraph Collection property in Santiago de Compostela later in my trip using points.
I've stayed at the AC Sants in Barcelona and the AC Hotel Ciudad de Sevilla. The AC Sants is next to the train station for the airport train, as well as close to 2 metro stops.
In both cases, I was upgraded to a suite (the one in Sevilla was brilliant). Benefits as free internet and the arrival gift were provided without any trouble.
The AC hotels in general have a more modern design but the experiences have been good. You can often find a decent rate including breakfast. The AC Sants in Barcelona has a lounge area open to everyone, with coffee and soft drinks available all day.
Overall, we enjoyed our stays at both properties.
We stayed at 2 AC hotels in Italy (Bologna & Arezzo).
Do not expect any real benefits with your elite membership.
For example this was the benefits for staying at the hotels attached to our reservation:
As a Gold Elite member, you can enjoy the following benefits during your stay (may vary by hotel):
Complimentary Room Upgrade (Based on availability, at time of check-in)
25% Bonus on your Marriott Rewards Points
Guaranteed Room Type
There was no breakfast included for elites, in both of the hotels I booked rates that included breakfast.
Free WIFI was included. For both of these hotels you had to ask the front desk for a code that lasted 24 hours.
In both of the hotels they originally assigned us a smoking room, despite requesting non smoking rooms.
As NHM has said there were no room upgrades either despite the hotels not being full.
We will be staying at the AC Sevilla Cuidad later in the year.
The hotels are fine, so long as you realise the benefits for elites are limited.
They are modern hotels, not usually in the city centre.
I was in Barcelona last month. I stayed at the Renaissance Fira for 10 nights. As a platinum member, I received access to the full breakfast buffet (breakfast was outstanding, and I am not necessarily a breakfast person) and free internet. There was not a lounge. I was not originally upgraded, but when I checked in, I asked for an upgrade, and they moved me to the 23rd floor. The view was stunning. The hotel was right next to a metro and bus stop. It took a couple of days to get the hang of how the public transportation worked, but it was a breeze after that.
We are just back from our trip to southern Spain.
We stayed in the AC hotel Cuidad in Seville and the AC Palacio in Cordoba.
The AC Hotel Cuidad in Seville is good. It is not located in the centre, but there is a bus stop just outside the hotel that takes you to the main bus station (Prado de San Sebastien) in less than 10 minutes.
Take either bus 1 or 37. The buses come frequently you will not wait long.
Our room was on the 4th floor overlooking the roof top pool which is on the 3rd floor. Unfortunately the water was a bit too cold for a swim.
The room was a good size, able to fit a rollaway bed for our daughter. The bathroom was also spacious and included a Jacuzzi bath which was nice after a day of walking.
The only benefit that you receive here is free WIFI with Telefonica 24 hour card. From our experience the connection was awful. I had more luck with the AC Wifi in the bar & breakfast area.
The breakfast was good, mainly continental spread with omelettes made to order. It is worth getting breakfast included in your room rate.
We had a great time in Seville, plenty to see and it was just a delight to wander around the streets of the Santa Cruz area.