AC Hotel gets early checkout in OKC

Published Friday, December 15, 2017
by Molly M. Fleming

AC Hotel General Manager Jim Mullins’ eyes are bright as he walks around the property’s first floor.

He’s spent most of his hotelier career with the Marriott brand, the company behind AC. The Tulsa native started at Residence Inn and worked his way through the Marriott properties nationwide.

But the AC stands out from its Marriott siblings, he said.

“It’s very different,” he said. “It’s very unconventional.”

The 142-room hotel sits at the corner of E. Sheridan and Joe Carter avenues. It is managed by NewcrestImage.

The lobby is open, with a bar to the left. The front desk is a large piece of marble, where the computers roll out from drawers. The floor, from the bathrooms to the bar, is Italian marble.

Artwork made by Oklahoma City artists dots the lobby. Two pieces are Bricktown natives: Railroad track that once ran near the site has been turned into a sculpture and bricks from the district are displayed in an arch.

Besides the artwork, one of the features that makes the hotel stand apart from its neighbors is the focus on the bar. Nearly half of the lobby is the open-air bar, where a mixologist will be serving drinks.

“We know that our guests will come here, have a drink, and then they’ll go explore Bricktown,” he said.

The select-service hotel’s food and beverage options will make it stand out from other properties in the same category, said Mike Carrier, president of the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Their food and beverage is a different model than what the majority of hotels in America offer, particularly with select-service hotels,” he said.

The hotel offers a tapas menu, which traces back to its Spanish-inspired roots. Items include Spanish meatballs topped with San Marzano tomato sauce, arugula, and ricotta cheese. There’s also a brunch with European meats and breads.

Oklahoma City’s AC opens Dec. 22, making it one of the first to open in the country. The first property opened in New Orleans. The Dallas AC opened on Thursday, and the Houston AC is under construction.

HotelBrokerOne Chief Operating Officer Peter Holmes said the AC is a continuation of hoteliers looking to the city as a good testing ground for a new product. The first Residence Inn, Value Place, and Tru by Hilton were built here. In August 2018, IHG’s Avid will open, making it the first of its kind. The city will also get one of the first Canopy by Hilton hotels.

Holmes said AC will stand out from other properties in Bricktown.

“There is a danger that the east side is becoming overbuilt,” he said. “But the AC will do well. It’s an excellent location.”

He said it’s a millennial-driven brand, with a focus on amenities that are important to that age group. He said it speaks well to Oklahoma City that it made the “first” list.

Mullins said the hotel’s two media salons will be attractive to the business traveler. They are small, glass-surrounded rooms, with different media connections to watch a slideshow or have a conference call. The fitness area has five cardio machines with a television on each.

“(AC) is focused on experience,” Holmes said. “There are individual amenities that are important to the youthful traveler.”

Mullins said the hotel already has reservations and is 25 percent booked for New Year’s Eve. Carrier said the CVB is working with groups who are coming to the city and interested in the property.

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