A few weeks ago we were decided where to stay in Portland. We wanted something centrally located and MAX accessible. We also wanted to be near late night options for food to soothe our jet-lagged body. Where to choose? Hmm…
Location, Location, Location
Located two blocks east of the Pioneer Courthouse Square, the AC Hotel is in the heart of downtown Portland. The AC Hotel is Marriott’s response to Starwood’s Aloft business traveler hotels. Minimalist European in aesthetic, it is a welcome alternative to the Courtyard brand. Like Aloft, the hotel does not have a full-service kitchen, so no room service. Instead, it has a bar, a breakfast spot with a limited menu, and Slab, an overpriced coffeehouse.
PRO TIP: When flying into Portland, make sure you are going to the AC Hotel not the ACE Hotel in the Pearl District. It is an easy mistake to make even when using the Lyft app.
Fancy a jog along the Willamette River? It is two blocks east of the hotel. Peckish? It’s a ten-minute walk to Courthouse Square and the SW Washington Street food truck depot. Need to do a little shopping? Pioneer Square, the Nike Store, Apple and other shops are across the street.
Have a look:
The breakfast buffet, while all you can eat is Nespresso (ugh) mixed fruit, largely cold cuts, cereal, and toast and they charge you 18 buckaroos. At those prices, you might as well enjoy Portland’s myriad of brunch venues or food trucks.
Need a late night option? The AC Portland happens to be next door to Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen. Open until 4am, Luc Lac will serve you a soothing bowl of Pho or banh-mi sandwich.
The rooms are comfortable and well appointed. I like the fact that they provide water in paper cartons to minimize the use of plastic. Plenty of natural light in the rooms and there are blackout curtains.
When you turn on the 60-inch TV, the brightness setting is so high, it is like having the sun in the room. I literally wore sunglasses until I could figure out how to reset the TV brightness. But really my only, complaint about the room is that the bed could be firmer, but that’s just me.
Service at the hotel is solid. A shout out to Jessica de Olivia, a recent graduate and the newest addition to the front-of-house team. She single-handedly managed the slew of check-in/checkouts late Sunday morning with aplomb. She like the rest of the team are conscientious and extremely helpful.
If you are an elite member of the new Starwood/Marriott combo, there isn’t much benefit to you. For elite members, there should be additional comfort provided.
That being said, the AC hotel is a well-managed, comfortable and centrally located hotel. At 200+ dollars a night, you are not paying for the food, you are paying for the convenience to Downtown Portland.
Kent is a management consultant who has spent years traveling for work. His refuge is looking for the perfect meal so that he can reproduce it at home with his wife and friends.