Arrival Experience: Guests find this glass-lined building just across the street from the pebbly shore of Miami Beach. With its terrace seating and artistic interior designed by Miami artist Dina Mitrani, this is one of the trendiest, value-based hotels along Miami Beach. Plus, it’s the newest! AC by Marriott is one of the newest brands within the portfolio of Marriott’s family 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 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 its flagship property within the U.S. There are four other existing locations including Chicago and New Orleans with more than 50 hotels planned in the next three years across the U.S. and Latin America. The eager staff here is unabashedly proud of being the face of AC in the United States, and it is a contagious excitement that seems to permeate the atmosphere when they explain to guests about the hotel’s features and background.
Dining: The breakfast buffet at AC Kitchen is affordably priced at $15 and includes a menu designed by Jennifer Massolo, the founder of The Liquid Projects. 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 that is 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 in the bar consists of 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.
Rooms: Guest rooms feature linens and duvets flown in from Europe. Hardwood floors and muted color tone walls add a sense of serenity after a day wandering through active Miami Beach. A dash of color stems from the bespoke artwork on the wall. Strong Italian coffee is available via in-room coffeemakers. 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 many of the Spanish elements like small packets of tissues and the famous golf ball-sized soap that is great for massaging your hands and shoulders. An armchair with coffee table sits by the window. With only four suites in the hotel, it is best to book early. But, rooms with terraces facing the third-floor patio will be especially popular with sunbathers. There, guests will find a bar menu and table tennis among other activities.
Amenities: 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. Billowing linens wrap around day beds on one end with cushioned day beds ringing the pool. There is no pretense here; it is a place to relax, enjoy the sunshine and views, and take a refreshing dip. Work spaces in public areas also provide free wireless Internet 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 best seller Models of Influence. He was one of the top influencer’s 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 if they are not standing behind reception!) all make this a solid decision for a Miami Beach home.