Australia’s first ever AC Hotels by Marriott was introduced to the market this week with the opening of the AC Hotel by Marriott Melbourne Southbank on Thursday.
The 14th brand to enter Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio in Australia, AC by Marriott is a design-driven lifestyle brand hailing from Spain.
Speaking to media, industry partners and guests at the grand opening, Sean Hunt, vice president of Marriott International Area – Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, said the brand is gaining momentum. magnitude on a global scale.
“The brand was first introduced in 2011 – it was a joint venture with renowned Spanish hotelier and Antonia Catalan and based on the beauty of classic modern design with a European soul and Spanish roots,” said he declared.
“This brand is growing incredibly quickly – 180 hotels worldwide and growing.”
Hunt said Melbourne’s reputation as “Australia’s cultural and design capital” makes it the perfect location for the brand’s Australian debut.
The 205-room Southbank Hotel, located near the South Wharf precinct – an area currently undergoing a major urban renewal project – is owned by mixed-use property developer and investment firm Capital Alliance, based in Melbourne.
Capital Alliance founder and chief executive Mohan Du said he believed the hotel would spark the start of a new landscape for Southbank.
“Four years ago, we made a commitment to continue investing in our belief with the hospitality industry,” Du told guests at the opening.
“We believe that assets like hotels are really wonderful real estate. It is phenomenally beautiful and it activates the area. It’s not just about the building itself, it helps the area it’s in.
Go off the beaten track
The establishment’s dining offering is managed by Peter Rowland Group (PRG) – which is also behind retailer David Jones’ iconic Food Halls. It includes a Spanish-influenced dining experience, Sorolla, an independent bar, Triana Bar, which offers views of the city skyline, and the pool bar, Bar de Buceo, which also offers drinks and snacks. light meals outdoors.
The brand’s AC Gin and Tonic is available throughout the hotel, served in a custom glass by sculptural glass artist Adam Walmon.
“This is a pilot project as we partner with PRG, a company also owned by Capital Alliance, to provide our food and beverage solutions,” Hunt said.
“I think hotels now have to think outside the box, they have to offer something different…to differentiate themselves. I think this hotel will do just that.
Leisure facilities include an outdoor infinity pool spanning the width of the building, a 24-hour fitness center, and a variety of meeting and event spaces with floor-to-ceiling windows. Collaborative spaces, including the brand’s signature AC Lounge, a modern coworking space by day that transforms into a social hub offering European-style tapas by night.
The hotel’s design, by DKO Architecture, features open, clutter-free layouts with sleek desks and open closets, reflecting South Melbourne’s industrial warehouse style.
Modern classic finishes are used throughout, including natural stone tiling, textured wood, metallic details, drapery layers, and brass accents.
Working with DKO, the hotel’s general manager, Harry Singh, said they had brought to life the core elements of AC’s design philosophy.
“Every detail of the experience is meticulously thought out to create a seamless stay,” he said.
“The design of the AC Hotel by Marriott Melbourne Southbank truly reflects the brand experience. The design approach to each space is optimal comfort and utility through modern decor, with open layouts offering functional beauty without distraction.
Acclaimed interior designer and TV personality Daniel Palmer, who hosted the opening event, described it as modern minimalism.
“One of the biggest trends right now is the revitalization of minimalism through a 2022 lens, and if you want to know what that looks like, you stick with it,” he told those gathered.
“Minimalism is, at its essence, the distillation of design into its most perfect form. It’s really distilling the design and making it perfectly accurate.
Singh also spoke of his long-standing admiration for the brand and his pride in having introduced it to the Australian market.
“My love affair with this brand dates back a long time – before Marriott became part of its brand – in 2008, when I first traveled to Spain,” he said.
“I stayed there for a month, I traveled the cities and ended up staying in quite a few [AC] properties and I really liked them.
“Forty years later, here I am opening the first AC by Marriott in Australia. This is such an important occasion. I’m super proud. This is probably one of the proudest moments of my 20 years at Marriott International.
Growth of Marriott
The hotel is Marriott International’s ninth hotel in Melbourne and the third new hotel to open in the Victorian capital in the last 12 months.
Speaking about the broader business recovery, Hunt said there are many promising signs.
“COVID – in my opinion – it’s in the rearview mirror,” he said. “I think that’s behind us; we continue to live, it is part of the social fabric.
“Across the system, we’re seeing 60% occupancy – business just continues to take off.”