Contemporary and comfortable: A review of the AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront in South Africa
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To The Point
The AC Cape Town is a solid option for a comfy stay in Cape Town. Pros: New, modern rooms and great views. Cons: Lounge could be nicer, the breakfast experience wasn’t exactly seamless.
I’ve been to Cape Town, South Africa, (one of my favorite cities in the world) a number of times for the PeaceJam conferences that are held in the city each year. I’ve tried to mix it up hotel-wise each year for myself and the TPG team members who come along for the trip: In the past we’ve stayed at places like the chic Silo Hotel, the Westin Cape Town and the One&Only Cape Town.
While I was in town for the 2018 conference, I noticed a new Marriott property under construction: the AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront. When it came time to plan this year’s trip, I immediately remembered the new AC, which had opened in December 2018. I figured that we’d give this new property a try, since it surely would have its new-hotel kinks worked out almost a year after opening.
The AC Cape Town Waterfront is a Category 3 property in Marriott’s Bonvoy award chart. This means that you can book rooms for as few as 15,000 points per night if there’s off-peak availability, 17,500 points for a standard night and 20,000 points for a peak night. We booked the rooms for the accompanying TPG team members before the peak/off-peak Bonvoy pricing change using 17,500 per night per room, and got to take advantage of Marriott’s fifth night free when you use points for your stay.
Although I used points to pay for the rest of the rooms, the harbor-view suite was going for $206 per night, so I booked that one for myself. I paid with my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card to earn 6 points per dollar spent at participating Marriott properties.
The hotel’s reception area was a little small, and it was hot and crowded when I arrived, but the experience overall was quick and painless. Just outside check-in was a larger lobby with a bar and sofas to hang out in. Staff members were friendly and immediately recognized my Bonvoy status and explained my benefits, and I was heading up to my suite in no time.
The suite was bright and airy, perfect for springtime in Cape Town. I particularly enjoyed the beautiful views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. The bedroom section had a comfortable bed with power outlets on either side, a large TV, a small table and two chairs where you could relax by the windows. There was also a workspace with a smaller window.
Near the desk, I found a teakettle, a Nespresso machine and a minifridge with two water bottles. I noticed the hotel had its own special AC-branded capsules for the Nespresso machine, and the coasters were an ode to the AC’s Spanish heritage, saying “¡Salud!,” which means “cheers” in Spanish.
The suite featured a whole separate living room, which also had a second large TV and table with chairs. I thought the big sofa and armchair were ideal for having guests over to hang out for a drink.
There was one power outlet and USB port to plug tech items into beside the bed, with more outlets near the desk, too.
The bathrooms were spacious and clearly new, but they were pretty standard, overall.
The shower was large and passed the TPG shower test. I’m 6 feet, 7 inches tall and I was able to fit in this shower.
My staff had similar thoughts about their rooms, which varied from the most basic guest room to an upgraded harbor-view room. The rooms weren’t anything opulent or particularly stylish but were quiet and comfortable, with nice views. They were also new and clean and had plenty of power outlets.
The hotel had a small but inviting pool that was outdoors and provided great views of famous Lion’s Head mountain. However, depending on the wind direction, a fishy smell sometimes blww over the pool deck from the nearby working harbor. It wasn’t overwhelming but definitely took away from an otherwise tranquil spot.
There was also a fitness center with machines and weight equipment on the property.
The hotel offered complimentary shuttle transfers and water taxis to and from the waterfront.
Food and beverage
I did have some time to stop by the gin happy hour in the AC Lounge Bar, which was fun. It had a distinct Mediterranean vibe, another nod to the AC brand’s Spanish roots.
I didn’t have much time to dine at the hotel, but I ate breakfast there daily.
I got breakfast free thanks to my ambassador elite status, but buffet rates started at $13 per person for the rest of my team members. A la carte options were available, too. It was the most convenient way for my group to eat breakfast at the hotel each morning, but the experience wasn’t always smooth.
The breakfast staff was extremely slow, and it took ages to get our omelet orders, so we should have just stuck to the buffet.
The coffee machine was broken some mornings of our stay. When I asked for iced coffee daily, they made it differently each day, which was … interesting.
I did, however, enjoy jelly beans alongside my waffles for breakfast — children would definitely enjoy this particular breakfast buffet spread.
The lounge was fine, but the lounge at the nearby Westin Cape Town is much larger, with fresher, more appetizing food.
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The AC Cape Town Waterfront isn’t glamorous or particularly luxurious like The Silo, but it’s a solid hotel and affordable — especially if you can get a deal on a suite, like I did. Thanks to its Category 3 rating, you can stretch your points far here, too, so you can explore all Cape Town has to offer and still have a new and comfortable place to lay your head at night.
Featured image by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
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