This past Wednesday, November 15, I was invited to the grand opening party and ribbon cutting ceremony at a new Marriott category 4 property nested in a new neighborhood in the the 14th largest city in the United States, Columbus, Ohio.
The brand new AC Hotel Columbus Dublin, which opened on September 26, is located in the center of Bridge Park, the area’s newest, upscale residential and entertainment development.
Not to be confused with Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand, AC Hotel is the name of Marriott’s European boutique chain, famed for a simplistic and highly-functional, yet upscale vibe, created with the entrepreneurial spirit in mind. AC Hotels originated in Spain, and is really starting to make a presence in the U.S, currently with 32 properties in major cities spread throughout the States.
The 150-room hotel (including 6 suites) is just a 25-minute drive (or ~$35 Uber ride) from CMH, 20 minutes from downtown Columbus, and walking distance to charming, historic Dublin (which is also home to Wendy’s corporate headquarters). The hotel welcomes business, leisure, and family travelers. Every room is built to accommodate at least 4 people (including king rooms, which come with a pullout couch), and on-site parking is free.
For those unfamiliar, Dublin is a quintessential, charming midwestern small-town, so it’s a pretty unexpected location for a hotel with urban roots, especially with such an internationally-inspired vibe. The hotel is also home to a really cool rooftop restaurant with Spanish-inspired flavors, VASO, that’s unlike anything the area has seen before.
Marriott Rewards & Elite Benefits
The brand new AC Hotel Columbus Dublin is currently listed as a category 4 property (20,000 points per night or 15,000 points per night with PointSavers), and it’s a great place to put the annual free night certificate from the Marriott Rewards Visa to good use.
As a Platinum member, I was offered a $10 food & beverage credit to use during my stay and 400 Marriott Rewards points. There was also a welcome amenity of Apple Pie Mead from Brothers Drake Meadery and a box of local sea salt chocolates waiting for me in my room. Gold elite members will just receive 400 points as a welcome amenity.
The lobby is beautifully designed and offers floor to ceiling views of the neighboring Scioto River. There’s an abundance of modern, plush, leather lounge chairs and benches, and mirrored fire places that offer a cozy way to tuck away while tackling work or chatting with friends. The center lobby bar (AC Lounge) offers signature cocktails and a more casual way to enjoy small-plates and tapas throughout the day.
During my stay, I was given a standard king room with a river view on the 7th floor.
The room was modern and functional, designed so that everything had a purpose. The sofa easily pullouts into an extra bed with one tug, and the leather benches are made to double as a spot to place luggage.
The king bed was cozy and plush, and there were outlets and USB ports on each side of the bed, which is a must for today’s modern traveler.
The bathroom was nice and spacious, and the large shower gives you an option of a rain shower or to use the adjustable shower wand. The toiletries were individual mini bottles provided by Gilchrist and Soames Fresh Neroli.
The AC Hotel is a nice fusion of a full-service hotel and simplicity, so there is no room service or turndown service available. Instead, there are unique little touches to allow guests to experience a little something extra.
In one instance, a self-serve lavender cart is placed by the downstairs elevators each evening at 9pm to encourage guests to bring a small pouch of lavender to their rooms to facilitate unwinding and a goodnight’s sleep.
Complimentary breakfast is not included for any elite levels, which of course is a slight bummer for elites, but it’s reasonably-priced at just $15 per person if you choose to have breakfast at the hotel (you can also apply the $10 food & beverage credit towards it).
What I like most about breakfast the AC Kitchen is that it’s a European-inspired breakfast, featuring farm-to-table handcrafted egg dishes made to order, exotic yogurt parfaits, freshly baked croissants flown in from France, pastries, imported cheeses and La Quercia prosciutto sliced on demand.
Aside from the buffet offerings, guest can choose from two a la carte breakfast egg options:
- Open face toast with scrambled cage-free egg, manchego cheese, arugula and La Quercia prosciutto
- Cazuela with whole cage-free egg, manchego cheese, and La Quercia prosciutto
I had the cazuela and it was so incredibly flavorful and delicious, and the portion size was just right.
VASO Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge
Perhaps my favorite feature of the AC Hotel Columbus Dublin is its rooftop restaurant, VASO. This modern restaurant spans the entire 8th floor and has a NYC trendy vibe, offering inventive cocktails and creative tapas with a Spanish flair.
There is also a second bar outside with river views, which allow guests to take in a beautiful sunset or starry right. It was just under 40 degrees F when I visited, but I enjoyed sipping my cocktail and appreciating the fresh air near one of the many large fire pits.
I had a chance to try several of the signature cocktails, and they are beautifully designed. My two favorites were Garden Strolls (pictured below) and the VASO Signature Sangria.
If you’re into gin and tonic, VASO’s signature G&T is not to be missed. VASO takes a twist on a classic made with gin (custom-made from Columbus’ own Watershed Distillery), tonic syrup, soda, juniper berries, and baby’s breath.
The tapas are perfectly portioned for a group of friends to share and sample many flavors of the menu.
I really enjoyed my stay at the AC Hotel Columbus Dublin. Not only was it my first time visiting Ohio, I got to explore a new Marriott brand I personally wasn’t very familiar with before. I am also happy that I had a chance to experience a new family-friendly destination that’s close to home (less than 90 minutes from EWR).
During my stay, I enjoyed walking through the streets of Dublin (including finding the fairy doors around town), and visiting the fun and artistic Short North neighborhood of downtown Columbus. We took an amazing food walking tour with Columbus Food Adventures that I highly recommend.
I’m definitely pleasantly-surprised by the Columbus, Ohio area and plan to return with my kids in the warmer months. I think they will appreciate the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and enjoy some great food at the historic North Market, including a stop Jeni’s for ice cream.
Full Disclosure: I was invited by Diamond PR to be a guest at the grand opening party, and my stay at AC Hotel Columbus Dublin was covered. All opinions and stories are 100% mine.