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AC Hotels by Marriott Will Open in The U.S. (And With Free WiFi Too!)

June 3, 2013 at 9:34 AM | by | ()

Marriott Hotels announced today that they would begin importing their stylish European select service brand, AC Hotels by Marriott into the U.S. and the rest of the Americas, specifically targeting the Generation X and Y travelers aka The Millennials by offering design-forward public spaces and guestrooms at affordable prices. Oh yeah, and with free WiFi too.

Marriott first acquired the Madrid-based AC Hotels from its namesake and designer, Antonio Catalan, back in 2010. Marriott then rebranded the collection as AC Hotels by Marriott and have since grown the collection to about 80 hotels across Spain, Portugal, Italy and France.

The American incarnation of AC Hotels by Marriott will stay true to Catalan's design aesthetic which Brian King, global brand officer for Marriott's endorsed brands, described as "sleek sophistication" with open metal closets and an unusual bath experience. The decor will be a tone-on-tone palette of warm greys and soft charcoal and which King likened to a "beautiful, nicely tailored, gray business suit with an interesting tie." While the design may have a European sensibility, guestrooms will include more American amenities such as full-sized beds, hard-surfaced flooring and lots of outlets and USB ports.

Yet the heart of all AC Hotels will be found in the lobby downstairs.

That's where the AC Lounge will offer guests a selection of wines, tapas and other shared plates, as well as a full breakfast buffet. ("Think chorizo and not Jimmy Dean," King said) . The AC Library will also be downstairs, offering wide communal tables for working and socializing along with locally relevant reading materials. Non-guests can even work in the AC Library by booking space through Marriott's new Workspace On Demand.

If it seems like everyone is catering to the Millennials today, it's true, they are. Just last week we saw the launch of Tommie Hotels from Commune Hotels and no doubt Virgin Hotels will be going after these young kids too. Not to mention there are lots of other design-forward yet affordable hotels that have been opening for the past few years such as Aloft Hotels and Hotel Indigo. And we can't forget about the original brands like Ace Hotels and The Standards.

Yet King believes Marriott is primed to scale this type of stylish select-service brand faster than anyone has done before. "It's been a trickle and we're looking for a tidal wave," he said. King cited extremely strong owner interest and Marriott's proven ability to make the lodging model work as a few of the reasons why Marriott will get the job done. All in all, AC Hotels by Marriott hopes to open 200 hotels in 10 years.

There's no first location set yet for AC Hotels by Marriott but King said they hope to open the first one sometime in 2014. Some possible cities? San Diego, Miami and of course, New York. We just hope we'll still be able to pass as a millennial when the first AC Hotel by Marriott opens here.

[Photos of AC Hotels in Nice and Madrid courtesy of Marriott Hotels]

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