Canada's first AC by Marriott opens in Montréal

MONTREAL — Canada's first AC by Marriott Hotel opened in Montreal late last month. Marriott's Roz Winegrad and Marc Varadi of RIMAP weigh in on the brand's urban spirit and sophistication.

By Colleen Isherwood, Editor

Canada's first AC by Marriott Hotel opened in Montréal late last month. Marriott's Roz Winegrad and Marc Varadi of RIMAP Hospitality, the hotel company managing the property, weigh in on the brand's urban spirit, contemporary design and cosmopolitan sophistication.

MONTREAL — RIMAP Hospitality Service Inc. bought a parcel of land in Montréal in 2014, and by 2015 they had decided on AC by Marriott as their brand of choice, after visiting dozens of the original AC hotels in Spain and falling in love with the concept.

So says Marc Varadi, vice president of development for RIMAP. 

“Our team went and visited a lot of the ACs that exist in Spain and the U.S., and we grasped what the spirit is all about and did the best we could with that information. In our city, we are known as being a quality developer who gives each property a competitive edge, and it all paid off in the end.” In addition to AC, RIMAP has three other hotels in Montréal Centre-Ville: Hilton Garden Inn, Courtyard by Marriott and Holiday Inn and Suites. 

Lobby of AC Montreal.

Lobby of AC Montreal.

The result is a newly constructed hotel managed by RIMAP, located on the first 12 floors of a 35-storey dual-use high-rise that also includes luxury apartments. The property offers 169 sleek guest rooms — oversized at 450 square feet — with hardwood floors, large walk-in showers, floor to ceiling windows, and 50-inch HDTV featuring HBO.

AC Montréal Centre-Ville one king guestroom.

AC Montréal Centre-Ville one king guestroom.

The hotel had a soft opening starting at the end of March, and they hope to have a grand opening in June, after the Grand Prix, possibly attended by Antonio Catalan, Spanish founder of AC Hotels.

Located in the heart of downtown Montréal on Boulevard René-Lévesque, just steps away from the Quartier des Spectacles (entertainment district), the Palais des congrès de Montréal (Montréal’s convention center) and two city blocks from Old Montréal, AC Hotel Montréal Centre-Ville is ideally situated for business and leisure travellers alike.

“Our guests will be delighted to rest, dine and work in contemporary surroundings, in a prime city center location, steps from major festivals and prestigious business addresses,” said Varadi.

Roz Winegrad, AVP, owner and franchise Services, Marriott Hotels of Canada

Roz Winegrad, AVP, owner and franchise Services, Marriott Hotels of Canada

“AC is the newest and dearest Marriott brand. It started in Europe, and that is why Montréal is the perfect city to launch in Canada. Marc and his team build such beautiful hotels. There's easy access for both leisure and business guests in this mostly urban concept,” added Roz Winegrad, AVP, owner and franchise services, Marriott Hotels of Canada.

“AC Montréal Centre-Ville is one of the best representatives of the AC brand,” said Winegrad. “There are some breathtaking parts of the hotel — the pool and fitness centre on the upper floors, with amazing views as you work out.”  There's also a beautiful sun deck, where people can chill out on the roof.

The fitness facility at AC Montréal Centre-Ville.

The fitness facility at AC Montréal Centre-Ville.

“AC has certain design components that are consistent — the rooms feel the same and the public space includes a library, media salon and kitchen. An AC can be 36 rooms or 812 — they're vastly different. But there's a sophistication, quality of construction and location that sets it apart from a lot of hotels in the market.”

In Montréal Centre-Ville, the competitive set is Renaissance, InterContinental, Westin, Embassy Suites and Springhill Suites by Marriott. “In general, ACs compete with those brands and all of the boutique hotels in their markets,” said Winegrad.

The AC Hotel Montréal Centre-Ville adds to the brand’s growing global portfolio of more than
120 hotels across Europe, South America and North America.

Hotel and apartments share some facilities

The hotel and apartments are mostly separate, with separate entrances and mostly separate services. They do share part of the 11th floor, including the gym, the 21-metre-long pool, the 20-person jacuzzi, the banquet hall and the sauna.

Additional features offered at AC Hotel Montréal
Centre-Ville include:

AC Kitchen: suspended between the ground lobby and mezzanine level, the AC Kitchen
is home to the brand’s signature European-inspired breakfast selection, including flaky croissants, savoury egg tarts and Nespresso coffee. The
Berkel slicer, an AC Hotels staple, offers visitors hand-cut meats including
artisanal La Quercia Prosciutto for a true taste of Spain.

La Palma Restaurant.

La Palma Restaurant.

La Palma: this fashionable restaurant on the lobby level invites guests and locals
to experience Mediterranean-inspired cuisine by chef David Capel.

AC Lounge: the lounge is a communal space of creativity and collaboration by day
and a hub of social activity by night. Guests can unwind and enjoy tapas-style appetizers, expertly crafted cocktails, and a variety of wines and spirits.

Meeting Space: the hotel’s 5,900 square feet of meeting space features 19-foot high ceilings and
floor-to-ceiling windows that offer an abundance natural light, and can
accommodate 10 to 150 guests.

AC Store: a contemporary version of a convenience store, guests will find savoury
European snacks, refreshments and essential amenities.

Swimming Pool: located
on the 12thfloor with a panoramic view of Old Montreal, guests
have access to Montréal’s only 21-metre swimming pool, dry sauna, exterior terrace
and exercise room.

Swimming pool at AC Montréal Centre-Ville.

Swimming pool at AC Montréal Centre-Ville.

Introduced to the U.S. in 2014, the AC Hotels by
Marriott brand originated in Europe in 2011 as a joint venture with Spanish
hotelier, Antonio Catalan, and now offers a portfolio of over 120 hotels in
countries across Europe, Latin America and North America. Inspired by classic
European design, the brand is suitable for the modern business
traveller, featuring simple, clean and crisp lines that create a feeling of
harmony and inspire creativity.

Prices for AC Hotel Montréal Centre-Ville start at $199 per night for a double room.

More ACs for Canada

Several more Canadian ACs are under discussion, Winegrad said, adding that now Marriott has a Canadian example to show potential developers. It's a concept designed for urban locations, but not necessarily just large urban centres, Winegrad added, mentioning Kingston, Ont., as a smaller urban centre that might be appropriate for an AC.

Marriott plans to open 20 hotels this year in Canada, with a strong pipeline for both its full service and limited service brands. There are some Fairfields and some TownePlace Suites — 13 different brands in total that will be represented in the Canadian pipeline in the next couple of years.