A hospitality ‘first’ – AC Hotels Belfast
Ireland and the UK’s first AC Hotels by Marriott, the international lifestyle brand with over 100 properties world-wide, has opened its doors in Belfast.
The all-new AC Hotel Belfast brings 80 jobs and a ‘new way to hotel’ to the city.
The hotel was constructed by main contractors Gilbert Ash and was designed by RPP.
Situated on the waterfront in the heart of Belfast Harbour’s landmark City Quays development, with excellent transport connections and close proximity to the city centre, AC Hotel Belfast embodies the famous AC Hotels’ frictionless design ethos which has made it the hotel-of-choice for leisure and business travellers around the world.
On the basis that purposeful design improves lives, every detail of the 188-room AC Hotel Belfast has been mindfully curated to provide what guests most need and value.
The result is a singularly guest-oriented environment with sleek, contemporary design features and an elegant, European-inspired ambience.
“Belfast has established itself as a leading business, hospitality and tourism destination and we are delighted that Marriott International is entering Northern Ireland with the opening of AC Belfast,” said John Licence, VP Premium & Select Brands Europe, Marriott International.
“As our portfolio expands, we continue to seek design-driven properties that offer our creative and entrepreneurial guests distinctive architecture and thoughtful design that is both affordable and accessible, and this hotel is a perfect example of that.”
Owned and developed by Belfast Harbour, the £25million AC Hotel Belfast is notably the first built-to-specification AC Hotel in the UK. Among the custom-designed features which make it one of the brand’s most prestigious hotels, and a jewel in Northern Ireland’s hospitality crown, is its almost entirely glazed façade which affords 360-degree views of Belfast Lough and the wider cityscape.
It is also the first AC Hotel to feature a signature restaurant, with the multi-Michelin-starred celebrity chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli, choosing AC Hotel Belfast for his Ireland debut – Novelli at City Quays.
Lisa Steele, AC Hotel Belfast general manager, said: “The doors are open, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome our Belfast guests in the inimitable AC Hotels’ way.
“Our mission is to provide guests with an elevated stay, keeping things simple and stylish, paying mindful attention to the detail of what they actually want, and delivering thoughtfully designed moments of elegance throughout their stay.
“It’s a winning proposition, tried and tested in over 100 AC Hotels across the world, and – combined with our stunning new property, prime location, and bespoke local extras such as our Novelli at City Quays restaurant -which adds a distinct and valuable new dimension to Northern Ireland’s fantastic tourism and hospitality offering.”
With 188 guest bedrooms, AC Hotel Belfast is among the city’s largest hotels and offers a complement of signature AC Hotels’ guest services, including fitness room, library and meeting facilities. In addition to the 112-seater ‘Novelli at City Quays’ restaurant, the iconic AC Lounge, a creative hotspot by day and social hub by night, will serve tapas-inspired small bites and the AC signature Gin & Tonic.
AC Hotels by Marriott®, a lifestyle brand complemented by a European soul and Spanish roots, boasts more than 100 design-led hotels in 14 countries and territories.
Design-driven AC Hotels by Marriott® edit away the unnecessary to remove friction, providing thoughtfully designed moments of beauty, allowing guests to focus on what’s important to them. The properties’ modern design for modern business include buzzing AC Lounges, the perfect place for locals or visitors to get work done in style or to enjoy handcrafted cocktails and tapas.
High-design guest rooms and public spaces with sleek furnishings and intuitive technology features such as the Media Salons and AC Libraries inspire and connect.
Graeme Johnston, property director of Belfast Harbour Commissioners said: “The hotel is a key element of the masterplan development known as City Quays – a mixed use waterfront scheme on a site previously used as a ferry port. The development also includes offices, a multi storey car park, housing and a retail offer with a cafe, restaurant and convenience store. There is also a pedestrian plaza immediately adjacent to the hotel, which complements it very well.”
He added that many of the City Quays office tenants are American-based companies who have colleagues and customers visiting from the United States, Europe and elsewhere who need somewhere to stay, so the hotel was seen as a positive contribution to fulfilling this need – and the office tenants have been very pleased with the scheme.
Graeme Johnston concluded: “We chose Marriott as the right hotel for City Quays – and this hotel is also the first new build bespoke AC hotel in the UK and Ireland. The opening of the hotel is a key milestone for both ourselves and Marriott.
“The project to construct the hotel went very well, with all parties working well together. Gilbert Ash are very experienced in hotel construction and have proven an excellent partner in delivering to time and budget. RPP also did an excellent job.
“Bringing the Marriott brand in to the site has proved a huge attraction and an excellent choice.”
The Deluxe Group
The Deluxe Group was awarded the Bespoke Joinery package for all public areas and bedrooms for the AC Hotel, Belfast, by Gilbert-Ash after a competitive tender process.
Colm Connolly of The Deluxe Group commented: “The company was delighted to deliver this substantial contract. This project was ideal for us as the majority of our projects are in London, so this time, having our factory only forty minutes away, was a luxury that our manufacturing and install teams don’t usually have. Thankfully all aspects of project went well, with no major issues. This was down to how well-organised the site was, and to the excellent coordination between the team and Gilbert-Ash.”
Great demand for The Deluxe Group services has seen the overall workforce increase to some 150 people over the last three years. In anticipation of this planned increase in activity, additional management and professional resources, new technology and a state of the art bespoke joinery manufacturing facility have all been put in place. With the company having outgrown its existing facilities, a major investment has been made in a large new purpose-built facility and office’s featuring leading edge equipment.
Colm Connolly commented: “Our order book has already reached close to its target for 2018. The team have done extremely well, especially in London where we have gained an enviable reputation for delivering luxury hospitality, residential and workplace bespoke joinery contracts for well-established main contractors and developers.
“Currently the company is engaged in providing high end bespoke joinery for three boutique hotels in the UK along with several other projects for blue chip clients. I am also delighted to say the company is negotiating a substantial new contract in one of London’s landmark buildings. We expect to make a formal announcement on this very soon.”