What started as a small European hotel brand with properties throughout Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, AC Hotels has joined forces with Marriott International to expand its product to the United States and beyond. AC Hotel Miami Beach (2912 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-264-4720) opened this month across the street from The Miami Beach EDITION—another new lifestyle brand in Marriott’s portfolio—on Collins Avenue and 29th Street. The Miami Beach property marks the second United States location for AC after their New Orleans debut. With it, they’re bringing a pared down European sensibility to hospitality by providing all the necessities for a comfortable stay in a stylish setting and desirable location.
“Beyond the sun, beach and Art Deco-lined streets, there is something special in the air that makes Miami a culture of its own,” says Toni Stoeckl, VP Lifestyle Brands of Marriott International. “AC Hotel Miami Beach will look to capture Miami’s essence and bring an authentic experience to guests through the voices and creativity of its people.”
One way they’re doing this is through their forward-thinking food and beverage program with attention on not only to local purveyors, but also local tradition while honoring the European spirit of the brand. Jennifer Massolo, founder of The Liquid Projects, has crafted this creative program featuring a smartly curated selection of cocktails and wines on tap, small batch spirits, craft beers by the can and delectable tapas-style small plates. The AC Lounge, just off the lobby, is the hub for this activity in a neutral cream, grey and charcoal color palate with overhead pendant lighting, tall, tufted banquette seating and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to Collins Avenue.
I joined Massolo for a preview of the lounge menu where we sipped vermouth on the rocks, the signature Flagler cocktail on tap made with Tito’s Vodka, Machu Pisco, key lime, simple syrup and Amargo Vallet Angostura bitters, and a Wild West gin & tonic made with Ransom Old Tom barrel-aged gin. The menu’s inspiration is drawn from Spain’s drinking traditions and trends of today, which happen to go hand-in-hand with South Florida’s subtropical climate and lifestyle. “People are seeking lower alcohol content in their beverages,” Massolo says. “Vermouth as a sipping wine, along the lines of sherry, is having a moment.” Gin and tonics, popular amongst young Spaniards in recent years, with their bright botanicals and fresh effervescence are particularly refreshing in Miami’s heat.
The tapas menu was just as carefully considered with small plates meant to be nibbled, but not necessarily to create a full meal—although you certainly could with the right combination. Dishes that are decidedly South Florida, like the smoked trout dip or the arugula, grapefruit and avocado with yogurt dressing, are side by side Spanish staples like tomato and olive oil grilled toast, and dishes of the moment like kale chips with sea salt and parmesan and avocado toast. With drink prices no higher than $12 (many cocktails as low as $9 to $10 with PBR for $3.50 and vermouth by the glass as low as $5) and tapas no more than $13, they’re also priced for locals and savvy travelers. The lounge also serves a continental breakfast to hotel guests for an additional cost.
The hotel boasts two other public spaces, the third floor courtyard with ping pong, bocce ball and movie screenings under the stars, as well as a rooftop plunge infinity pool with ocean views just beyond the EDITION hotel. They’ve partnered with local gallerist Dina Mitrani on their art program, currently featuring photographs of the insides of packed suitcases by the late Chuck Ramirez from his “Lost and Found” series.
With 150 rooms in seven stories, the property is a rare new build in Miami Beach, occupying the space of a former parking lot built by the ubiquitous Kobi Karp. Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, modern glass showers, comfy beds and minimalist, elegant furnishings that mimic the hotel’s public spaces. With opening rates starting at $149 per night, it’s a smart option for the traveler looking for a prime Miami Beach location in a stylish setting at a fraction of the cost.