7 reasons to visit the newest Miami hotel: AC Hotel Miami Beach

Lobby bar at the flagship AC Hotel Miami Beach

Lobby bar at the flagship AC Hotel Miami Beach

AC by Marriott is one of the newest brands in the Marriott portfolio and boasts 75 hotels, mostly within Europe. Born in Spain, the brand is extremely well-known there as a business-focused property with contemporary design, value-focused prices and comfortable rooms. With its recent debut in the United States, Marriott is adding a fresh spin as a stylish lifestyle space packed with art, modern features and a hip vibe. So it comes as no surprise that the Miami location would become the flagship property of AC by Marriott within the US. There are four other existing US locations, including Chicago and New Orleans, and more than 50 hotels planned in the next three years across the US and Latin America.

Here are seven reasons to check out the AC Hotel Miami Beach:

Rooftop pool

The rooftop pool

1. The rooftop pool
The rooftop pool is extremely private, with an infinity edge that seemingly gives way across the horizon to the Atlantic Ocean. Miami Beach is known for its style and see-and-be-seen nature. What AC has succeeded in doing with its rooftop pool is blend a casual atmosphere with sophistication.

Rooftop pool

The rooftop pool

Billowing linens wrap around day beds on one end with cushioned day beds ringing the pool. There’s no pretense here; it’s a place to relax, enjoy the sunshine and views, and take a refreshing dip. Soon, a clever mural will cover one wall, adding to the funky vibe. Swinging chairs on a side terrace are a perfect place to kick back with a cocktail or snack from the hotel’s on-call menu.

2. It’s quiet
The hotel is located along Collins Avenue, but several blocks from the thumping clubs and cafes further south. This means that it’s easy to be in the heart of the action, but is also a great place to return to peace and quiet after partying the night away. This area features sophisticated hotels including the Edition (also part of Marriott’s portfolio) across the street. The AC is not directly on the beach, but it’s less than a 30-second stroll to the beachfront and boardwalk. The more pebbly sand of this area of beach lends a more European feel.

Essential Elements golf ball-sized soap

Essential Elements golf ball-sized soap

3. A taste of Europe
The Mediterranean infusion is strong here, which adds a unique European element to South Beach. It begins at breakfast, where a Spanish ham-slicing station and Manchego cheese bring immediate Iberian flair.

Guest rooms feature linens and duvets flown in from Europe. Strong Italian coffee is poured at breakfast and served in guest rooms. Bathrooms feature rainfall shower heads in glass-paneled showers with half-panels similar to those found in much of Europe. Even the bathroom toiletries from Essential Elements showcase Spanish elements like small packets of tissues and the famous golf ball-sized soap that is great for massaging your hands and shoulders.

The breakfast spread

The breakfast spread

4. You won’t go hungry
The breakfast buffet at AC Kitchen is affordably priced at $15. A selection of warm sweet and savory tarts, pastries, fresh fruit and berries, cold cuts, Greek yogurt, soy or almond milk, and a half-dozen juices and iced coffees are on offer. It’s a simple, health-focused spread designed for Miami Beach bathing suit season without skimping on taste. An all-hours snacking station by reception sells wine, beer, refreshments, and light snacks (in place of room service, a common trend in many hotels now).

An afternoon and evening tapas menu at the bar continues the culinary prowess of Jennifer Massolo, founder of The Liquid Projects. Guests can order small plates of baked kale chips with chili and salt, open-faced Cuban sandwiches, trout or kale and bacon dips, and a variety of craft cocktails. Among the must-try options is the hotel’s signature drink: My Bonnie Flies Over the Ocean, a fresh, light gin-and-tonic mix. The hip lounge features black leather banquette seating and a clubby vibe. Fresh ingredients line the bar for the lengthy cocktail menu.

Art on the walls

Art on the walls

5. The art and design
Miami is fast-becoming an arts and design center, and the AC is on top of the trend from the beginning.

Throughout the public areas, pop-up design displays and clever artwork from local designers and artists encourage lingering. Miami artist Dina Mitrani curated all of the art in the hotel, which includes work from her husband in the guest rooms and a variety of pieces in public areas. Nothing overbearing; it’s a simple and tasteful display of contemporary work that fits the young AC brand. In fact, the hotel partnered with numerous design and lifestyle experts from brands like United Nude and Slow Watches to develop an energetic persona that fits the needs of its clientele.

Room, striking room balance

Room, striking room balance

6. Room balance
The rooms balance both form and function well. Often, design hotels are too trendy for their own good and make it hard to navigate the room’s facilities. AC has figured out a way to be both easily.

 

Bathroom

Bathroom

Desks are free from extra clutter and feature wide spaces with free Wi-Fi access and desk lamps. Oversized flat-screen cable TVs hang on the walls facing the giant beds, which have four thick, cushy pillows. A simple phone sits to one side. Small refrigerators hold complimentary bottled water. Open closets feature coffeemakers, safes and plentiful hangers. Appreciated are the cushioned benches against the wall that are designed to keep luggage easily accessible, but that can double as seating if needed.

The perfect balance between value-oriented and chic

The perfect balance between value-oriented and chic

7. The price
The price is right at the AC. Unlike other hotels in the area that can charge an arm and a leg, the AC Hotel Miami Beach doesn’t want to be so exclusive that few can afford to enjoy the rooms or bar. Its mid-tier price point certainly surprises given the range of amenities, South Beach location and design-centric ethos.

 

Work spaces in public areas also provide free Wi-Fi for locals that pop in for a drink. Books and artwork chosen by some of the hotel’s design advisers fill the public spaces. For example, the AC Library features America’s Top Model Nigel Barker’s favorite books, including his latest bestseller “Models of Influence.” He was one of the top influencers of the hotel’s original concept in Miami. Meeting space, a fitness center, indoor parking area, and a friendly staff wearing trendy boutique uniforms (you may not even realize they work there) are also impressive hallmarks of the hotel.

Miami Beach is awash in trendsetting hotels and boutique inns with character. The flagship AC by Marriott strikes the perfect balance between value-oriented and chic—which is what’s attracting such a large European and North American audience just weeks after its opening.

Ramsey Qubein

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About the Author

Ramsey Qubein
Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist and correspondent for Northstar Travel Media covering the hotel and airline industry from every corner of the globe. He has traveled to 144 countries (many more than two dozen times) and lived in both Madrid and Paris. His work has appeared in numerous consumer and industry publications including Travel+Leisure, Premier Traveler, Islands, Business Traveller, Singapore Airlines' Silver Kris, and US Airways magazines. He is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and completed a Master’s Degree thesis researching various aspects of marketing/branding in the travel industry. Ramsey is highly recognized as an expert in travel loyalty programs, business travel and the luxury travel segment. He flies nearly 350,000 miles per year and estimates he has circumnavigated the globe more than 80 times. He is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio programs and contributor to USA Today, Fox News, BBC, Frommers, and AirfareWatchdog. Ramsey enjoys participating on travel panels or roundtables and is frequently quoted on travel-related subjects. Interested editors are welcome to contact him for any freelance writing needs related to business travel, aviation, or the hotel industry.

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