I thought of this thread after seeing so many negative comments from insiders about the SPG Aloft properties. I've never stayed at Aloft but I well heed the warnings.
Last January I stayed at two AC Hotels in Spain and I absolutely hated it. It was the most Spartan accommodations I've experienced since the Marine Corp's boot camp. Cold, unfeeling, bland with miserable employees. Needless to say I was overjoyed when I reached Barcelona and stayed at the Hotel Arts Ritz Carlton (which I highly recommend). I'm interested in hearing about your experiences with AC Hotels. Was I just being too picky or did my experience mirror yours?
I stayed at the AC hotel near the train station in Barcelona. I would only recommend it because it was convenient. The breakfast wasn't included, but actually was very good. However, the bathrooms were so dark, you could barely see to brush your hair. Putting on makeup was a joke! I don't even want to know how I looked.
I also stayed at the AC hotel near Retiro park in Madrid. It is part of the Autograph Collection and was extremely nice. We did receive a complimentary continental breakfast at that location.
Well, first, great question and before I forget, thanks for weighing in on the Hotel Arts RC Barcelona, as I am seriously considering it for Fall 2017. It looks fantastic and continued praises serve to retain my focus. As to AC hotels, I do appreciate everyone's feedback regarding the Spanish properties, as I will likely be relying on them heavily next fall. As far as my own experience with AC properties, I have had - exactly one. It was at the AC Firenze last month, and I found my stay to be quite favorable. The front desk was friendly and service oriented. They advised me on dining and taxi/transportation, offered to make reservations and acknowledged my MR status, as well as apologized for not being able to upgrade me, due to high occupancy (I did not ask). Additionally, when I emailed them in advance regarding any breakfast bennies, their response was timely. I was able to get a really great rate which included breakfast, so the lack of complimentary breakfast benefit was easily overlooked. I will say that the breakfast buffet was average and the breakfast staff was not very service oriented, but it wasn't much of an issue. I got what I needed and was happy with my room rate, so... The room? I liked the room! The a/c worked great (the weather was hot), the decor was smart and modern, wood floors, comfortable bed, in room safe, mini fridge, Internet worked great, the bathroom and toiletries were awesome! Gorgeous tile, modern, glass sink and counter, great bathtub, toilet, bidet... No complaints at all. I also used the exercise room, which was good. They granted me a late check out, though limited (1pm) due to occupancy, but took care of me in the lobby, while I continued to utilize their internet. I recommend this hotel.
I'm disappointed to hear that the Spanish properties aren't measuring up.... The motto of AC properties is supposed to be to imbue to it's guests, "The heart of Spain, the soul of Europe, with a global mindset."
Seville, Spain.... AC Sevilla Forum was not very good. It was the darkest hotel in which we've ever stayed. I almost thought there was a power shortage. It felt spooky and almost unsafe in the hallways at night. The room was clean.
National Harbor, MD.... The room was similar, all wood. Spartan is a great way to describe the rest. The lobby and common areas were great. They gave me a $10 meal credit for breakfast. I had cereal, yogurt and coffee.
From these two stays, I'd be pressed to stay in an AC Hotel when other choices are available.
I just completed a stay at the AC Hotel North in Medford, MA. It opened earlier this year and I thought it was very nice. They describe it as modern with a European flare. The hotel was nicely appointed. The breakfast buffet ($14, but Platinums get a $10 credit) had a nice selection of pastries, fresh fruit, individual quiches, oatmeal, antipasto and other items. The staff was friendly and very efficient. The ownership group of this property just opened another AC Hotel this past weekend in Cambridge, MA which I intend to check out this fall. Overall I enjoyed my stay and would definitely visit that hotel again if I have a chance
We stayed at the AC Barcelona Forum a couple of years ago and I really liked it - no free breakfast but we were upgraded to a great suite. Decor was modern, wood floors, the bathroom was great and it had the best blackout curtains I've ever seen. Hopefully some of the others live up to this standard
I stayed at the AC Miami last month. Although there was some water damage on the ceiling in my room, the room had everything I needed including a desk which I took advantage of since it was a business trip! The rooftop pool was really nice at this hotel, and the proximity to the beach was very convenient. There was some construction going on outside, but the noise was only present during the midday hours so it did not affect early morning sleep. It was the first AC hotel I've stayed in, and the staff was very helpful and accommodating. Overall I had a pleasant experience.
I guess you could say I was a keyboard warrior too then. 4063 Cobol programmer. 4066 EDX Cobol/EDL programmer. At some point, the oc field went away. I have no idea what happened to it or how it was replaced (outsourced or merged with another military occupational field?) Anyway, I'll be in Quantico next month, and looking forward to it.
Never stayed at any AC hotel before but maybe during New Years Eve at the AC Hotel Rio de Janeiro Porto Maravilha.
Here is the list of the newly Platinum member benefits from managment mailed by email. Pretty good in my opinion. The only problem is the hotel is not in a safe area and a bit far from the major areas but Uber and taxis are cheap in brazil. I currently life in Sao Paulo and you need always to watch out in Brazil.
As a Platinum Member of our Marriott Rewards program, you will be entitled to the following while staying with us:
yes truth. You should stay in Sao Paulo at the Renaissance or any hotel near Jardins or Paulista Avenue. Quite safe during the day to go out and discover a bit the city. Also the Renaissance here is pretty good. Stayed there before and they treat Platinum members very well.
Yes there are really some nice properties here but J.W. Marriott is more like a Marriott. Don't expect the same level as J.W. in Asia or USA. It was a former office building converted for many years in a Marriott and after became J.W.! But for a few nights good. Location is amazing. Beach is in front of the hotel and very nice to walk.
It's a bit hard to compare AC hotels to the Ritz. They are on totally different levels. Personally, I love the AC hotels. Probably because I stayed there before they became Marriott properties. They have a clean, utilitarian design. Clearly, their style doesn't appeal to all and if you don't like one in Spain, chances are, you won't like any of them. But if you do, they are good, inexpensive go-to hotels (at least in Spain). My experience at the AC Carlton in Madrid has always been great, mostly because of the great service from the front desk, professional and familial--they remember me from one year to the next. I'm willing to walk a bit farther just to be there.
What would be the most amazing thing, however, is if the breakfasts were free for gold and platinum. I love their breakfasts and even if I pay out of pocket, they are worth every penny. I can spend hours reading my newspaper there, drinking coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice. total bliss.
But if the darkness isn't for you, no matter how good the OJ is, it probably won't work for you.
watch out for this AC "trick". Many ACs have good locations, but there are a lot that are outside the main downtown areas of the cities. Pamplona and A Coruña come to mind. I only AC if I can walk to all of the places I want do go in the downtown area. AC Vigo is perhaps one of the most underused hotels that is across the street from the port of Vigo. I've had an amazing view of the port every time I've gone. It is perhaps my favorite AC hotel in all of Spain.
There is only a free breakfast at the AC Autograph Collection hotels. I received that in Madrid at the Retiro location. In Barcelona at the Sants location, there is no free breakfast . I booked a room with breakfast rate that was very reasonable . The buffet is very nice there and the train station is about a 3 minute walk.
If this might help provide clarity to some rewards members, the AC brand is not the same as the Autograph Collection brand. While AC properties don't provide complimentary breakfast to gold/plat members (at least not in the T&C's, though some may break from the terms and generously offer some discount variation), Autograph Collection properties do offer complimentary breakfast to the member and one guest.
The Powerscourt property in Dublin is not an AC property. It is an Autograph Collection property, hence complimentary breakfast.
The Retiro property in Madrid is an Autograph Collection property, where as the Sants property in Barcelona is not. It is an AC property.
Autograph Collection = free breakfast for plat/gold member + one guest
AC Hotels = no free breakfast per T&C's
Here's a look at AC Hotels - US style. The first in the DC area is going out at National Harbor (where the Gaylord is). I like the line, "The guest rooms don't have dressers or closets, because apparently millennials don't want to hang up their clothes."
The second Washington DC, AC Hotel is opening on 19th St. Come one, come all
I tried the AC in Cincinnati. It was fine for a one night stay. If this is what the US versions of AC properties are like, it's not a brand I need to consider.
bejacob, your report on the AC visit in Cincinnati earlier in the year was great! I had missed it earlier, so I appreciate you sharing the link here. Makes me want to give them a try
Looks like there are 17 US properties, with 8 more on the way in the first half of next year. I will plan on trying the one in Irvine. And ah, haha! It's a cat. 5. Look at dat.
The AC in Florence had a long desk, and I want to say it had a small closet (pretty sure) and a large shelf above the space where the safe was. Again, the bathroom was as good, if not better than a Marriott and some Renaissances. In Spain and Italy, you sure can't beat the price.