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Contemporary and comfortable: A review of the AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront in South Africa

Nov. 24, 2019
12 min read
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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.

Booking

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 on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Location

The AC Cape Town is just outside the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, one of Cape Town's premier tourist destinations. On one hand, it's the ideal base for exploring the city or visiting the nearby shops and restaurants of the waterfront. But at night, the hotel advised me not to walk around outside to avoid any issues. So if you're someone who really wants to bar hop in the evening, this may not be the best spot for you, but if you want to explore Cape Town by day or check out the waterfront, it's perfect.

The hotel is an easy 20-to-30-minute drive from Cape Town Airport (CPT), depending on traffic.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

Check-in

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.

Suite

(Photo by Brian Kelly/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Brian Kelly/The Points Guy.)

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.

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(Photo by Brian Kelly/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Brian Kelly/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Brian Kelly/The Points Guy.)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Rooms

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Amenities

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.

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy.)

I didn't have much time to dine at the hotel, but I ate breakfast there daily.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

The breakfast staff was extremely slow, and it took ages to get our omelet orders, so we should have just stuck to the buffet.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy.)

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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I think Cape Town is the most beautiful city in the world. There- I said it! Now put it on your bucket list and thank me later

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Overall impression

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 (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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740-850
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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
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  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023