Marriott took over AC hotels a few years ago. It's mainly a Spanish chain but has a number of with hotels in Italy and a few scattered around some other European cities. Marriott has called it a "lifestyle" brand, but in reality it's more like a modern European version of Courtyard. Certainly as far as elite benefits go, it's very Courtyard-ish. No lounge. No free breakfast, reduced welcome points, reduced compensation if things go wrong.
So, no. You best not expect much as an elite at AC, except the extra points. Mind you, AC can be very cheap, there's more than a few sub €50/night destinations to be found in Spain. I don't know about the pricing in the U.S. however.
I thought this is one of those moments of confusions between AC Hotels and Marriott labelling Autograph Collection hotels as AC. But, it looks like it is an actual AC Hotel. I had no idea there were any outside of the Iberian Peninsula.
AC Hotels in Spain and Portugal have varied in benefits for me. From nothing at all, to free mini-bar, to free continental breakfast.
I would expect nothing so you'll be pleasantly surprised if you do get something.
More information on the AC brand in the United States can be found at these two previous posts:
We just spent a night at the AC Hotel Firenze, before our flight home from Florence. I was suprised when we were told that breakfast was not included, but I didn't question it since we were checking out early in the morning. They did let us check in about three hours early and gave us an upgraded, larger room. The hotel had a very sleek/modern feel to it, nice but lacking warmth and comfy chairs in the lobby/bar area.
Thanks for asking this question. I have a trip next week and was thinking about staying at the AC hotel in New Orleans but wasn't sure what, if any, Platinum benefits I would receive. Even after reading the Marriott Rewards Terms, I was confused if AC was the same as Autograph Collection.
So, I guess I will be canceling that AC hotel reservation and sticking to the Renaissance or JW.
My only experience with AC is the Paris Porte Maillot AC hotel in Paris. Stayed there on 4 different occasions. For Plats you get 250 points (if you choose that over the gift), 50% off the breakfast buffet. I was given the upgraded room 3 times out of 4. Staff were fabulous and very helpful, even with my struggling French.
Brightlybob's assessment is pretty much spot on...
The AC in Maryland is quite pricey and no real Platinum percs. They said they upgraded my room, but it was quite small. I was given a room facing the garage (told it had a good view) and right next to the elevator. Hate to think what the others look like. All I can say is, not what I expected.
We stayed at an AC Hotel last summer in Bologna. The place was not in the best part of town, but we did find a very nice clean room, were offered as Platinum guests a free appetizer in the lobby bar and free mini bar in the room which was a nice addition. Didn't care about breakfast as we were heading to the airport fairly early on.
They are very sleek modern properties from what I've seen, even to the point of not having drawers or a dresser in the room was had last summer.
Plat benefits in ACs are close to nothing. Free minibar in some hotels some time back, but they started changing that. Or like in Turin, Your get free minibar which is 4 bottles of water) However we in Europe as 2nd class Marriotts are happy we now have a few Fairfield/Courtyard alike properties to spent points and earn nights. Simply a good and cheap mid-class chain.
Travel tip 1: AC in Copenhagen. Great place. Cheap for Denmark.
Travel tip 2: The ACs in norther Italy (Padua/Berscia/Vicenza): normal standard but really cheap! Eg. AC Padua is about 80 Euros and is 30 mins away from Venice.
Travel tip 3: The ACs in spain. You can get as low as 50 Bucks! Perfect to fill your rewards account and get a few status nights.
Here I am replying to my own question. I did stay at the Maryland National Harbor AC.. If you are Platinum or Gold, it is not worth staying here. I was told I was up graded, but my room was not very big. It was one of the smaller ones on the floor. I did get a refrigerator which was "stocked" with a bottle of water. Upon check in, I got a snack (pack of cookies) and points, but that was then end of it (by the way the cookies in the pantry were outstanding). My room was right next to the elevator, and on my profile, I request to stay away from the elevator. I faced the garage, and was told when I checked in I had a great view. They offer no coffee or newspapers. You can buy coffee or make it yourself. I had to pay for breakfast. There is no concierge floor or lounge. The computers worked, but the printer did not. No one could fix it and I could not email what I needed to be printed because it was blocked. I found out by accident (walked into the hotel when the bus went by) that there was free transportation to the outlet mall a mile away. They did not mention this when I checked in and I didn't think to ask. The hotel does not have tissues. You get one small pack that was under the sink. I found this strange in the US. There were no closets. There was a rack in the bath area that was hard to reach to hang up a few clothes. The bed being new, was very comfortable. This hotel cost as much as Marriott hotels in the area with amenities. It was not a great deal. I chose it because I had never stayed at an AC and it had just opened this month. The staff was not very knowledgeable and gave me answers that were not correct. It was clean and new, but not a good deal for Elite members. I think I will try the Gaylord down the street next time. I really wanted to like this place, so disappointed.
not really a big surprise to me. Almost only based in southern Europe AC is difficult to jugde. Some are really good 4 star places, (Milan, Torino, Copenhagen), some are average (Pisa, Padua, Pamplona, Brescia, Genova), but sometimes You just get what You pay, and in Spain You can get AC´s as low as 50 USD. In my opinion they are messing up their own brand by opening ACs around the world (DC, a NYC coming up), because it is just unreliable. I mean all Courtyards I have been worldwide were at least comparable. I would never try the high priced ACs , while for similar price different brands are around. Just not reliable enough.
But keep in mind: If You are on a budget in Europe you can get a AC Marriott 2 kms away from Pisa tower including breakfast for 100 USD. So, if you know what you get, things work out fine
With ACs in Europe, it's always important to check the location. AC Vigo, Spain has the best location in the entire city as far as I'm concerned. Then AC Pamplona isn't useful at all unless you have a rental car and are in town doing business. I wish they gave gold/platinum free breakfasts. They have been some of the best breakfasts I've had in Spain, at least. I've always gotten great service in Spain too. I feel like they don't see many elite members.