We needed a hotel in New York for a quick weekend trip. We were only staying two nights and wouldn’t be in the room much. We’d also be heading out of our normal area to visit Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn. With a seemingly endless number of possibilities, my focus narrowed when I saw an AMEX Offer for $40 back when spending $200 on a Marriott branded hotel. I looked for a hotel which would cost just over $200 per night and I found one.
AC Hotel New York Downtown
151 Maiden Lane, New York City, NY 10038
The AC Hotel Downtown opened in 2018 and has 274 guest rooms spread over its 33 floors. The hotel is located on Front Street and is one block away from the South Street Seaport. For those who need hotel landmarks, it’s the same neighborhood as the Andaz Wall Street.
As is often the case with hotels in the middle of a business area, the nightly room rate was much lower to stay on Saturday-Monday than it would be to stay here on a weekday. The downside of staying in a business area on a weekend is there’s not much around that’s open when the offices are closed.
Once our Uber driver was able to find the hotel’s entrance (it’s kinda hidden from the main street and there was scaffolding partially blocking it), we headed inside.
The lobby was compact (small) but the use of bright colors and lighting made it feel more spacious than it was. There is also an open staircase to the second floor (where the library/lounge/dining area is located). The art around the lobby evoked a European vibe, a nod to AC Hotel’s Spanish roots.
The front desk was staffed and the agent was very pleasant for it being around midnight when we walked in the door. She thanked us (well, Sharon) for being a Bonvoy Platinum Member and asked which amenity we would like, points or a food & beverage credit.
At AC Hotels, Bonvoy Platinum members can pick from 500 points or a $10 F&B Credit per day for the member and 1 guest. The hotel had no lounge and for breakfast, they offered a “European style” buffet for $25 a person as the only option. The only other place to spend the $10 would be the grab and go snack station or a drink at the bar.
We already knew one of our breakfasts would be a going for a bagel, because, New York, and didn’t have plans to be around to grab a drink at the hotel bar when we have other bars in NY we like to visit so we took the 500 points.
We were handed two keys, which were very stylish in a minimalistic kinda way. It was the first time I saw the black on black Bonvoy Elite key. I guess Marriott knows people don’t want to advertise they’re a Marriott elite so they made it as subtle as possible.
Personally, it reminded me of Metallica’s Black Album:
We headed to our room on the 28th floor.
I booked a basic king room but at check-in, we were informed that they assigned us a corner room with a great view. I’m always skeptical when we’re told we’ve received an upgrade but we headed to our room located at the end of the hall.
Walking into the room, it’s impossible not to notice the square footage isn’t much. They did their best and saved room where they could. I’ve been in smaller rooms, even in New York. Unlike the Fairfield Inn where the door almost hit the bed and I could turn on the bathroom light while lying in bed, this room was designed fairly well.
We had a full king-size bed and a Sharon-size chair and table by the corner window (Note from Sharon: Was that a short joke? I think that was a short joke.) . (Note from Joe: Yes, it was. But you commented yourself that the chair was really low).
There were no nightstands beside the bed, replaced by the bedside shelves. With minimal space available, I think it was a wise choice. I wasn’t as thrilled at the lack of a closet or any place to store anything. The only place to keep a suitcase was on the table, under the TV. As we were only traveling for a weekend, we only had our small carry-on size bags. If we had larger suitcases, the room would start to feel rather cramped.
The work-nook was in the corner. While it had light, plugs and a rather uncomfortable (non-office style) chair. it was just passable to get any kind of work done.
The bathroom was tiny but functional.
The shower featured a handheld and rainshower head. Despite my best efforts, I never was able to get the Rainshower to work. I mentioned this to the agent when checking our and she said that you need to press the button (or maybe pull something, I can’t remember) to switch the showerheads. They get asked that all the time since guests think it’s broken. Once again, a hotel designed a shower system too complicated for people to figure out on their own.
I usually don’t mention the amenities but the AC Hotel featured KORRES Natural Greek Skincare branded soap and shampoo.
So what about that corner view? It was pretty neat and I realized that this was the first time ever in New York where I could get a view of the water from my room. Little did I know when I took this picture that later in the day, I’d be riding on the NYC Ferry I captured in this shot (Note from Sharon: Ha! I hadn’t even noticed this!).
The floor to ceiling windows offered a nice panoramic view of the neighboring area:
Second Floor (Library/Lounge/Buffet)
I stopped by the second floor to get some pictures and print out our boarding passes. The computer is located in the library area. It’s a pleasant space with some couches and chairs but for a library, it must be BYOB (Bring Your Own Book).
I also took a peek at the $25 European Style breakfast buffet. I’m glad we took the 500 points.
Despite some of our disagreements with the room design, we really liked our stay at the AC Hotel New York Downtown. For a short stay, it was perfect for our needs. The hotel still feels brand new and is conveniently located near several subway lines, making it easy to reach the rest of Manhattan and the other boroughs. There’s isn’t much in the surrounding area beside a Duane Reade and several banks. You have to walk several blocks to even reach a Starbucks. However, downtown Manhattan is pretty compact. We walked to Leo’s Bagels for breakfast, which took about 10 minutes. From the hotel, you’re only a short walk to Battery Park, The New York Stock Exchange, Trinity Church and Federal Hall. It’s less than a mile to walk across Manhattan to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum and World Trade Center.
We’d have no problems with staying here again if the price was right. The main downsides are the small room size and the location being outside our normal area. For a very short trip, this isn’t a problem but I would see it becoming more of a problem the longer our stay would be.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary