European-inspired AC Hotel Brings 'A New Way to Hotel' to Spartanburg
December 15, 2017 | Development
AC Hotels by Marriott has announced the opening of AC Hotel Spartanburg -- the European-inspired brand’s first location in South Carolina.
Nestled in the heart of Spartanburg, this arts-focused AC Hotel blends old with new, emulating a long tradition of urban lodging. Classic masonry combines with custom accents to craft a façade of decorative stone and brick with a barrel tile roof. While echoing the elegance of grand historic hotels, the style emphasizes a simple European-inspired sophistication designed for today’s discerning business and leisure traveler.
AC Hotel Spartanburg is locally owned by the Johnson family and operated by OTO Development, a Johnson Management company.
“This AC Hotel reinvents the Spartanburg skyline,” says Geordy Johnson, CEO of Johnson Management, noting that the 10-story property is the first new hotel to open in Spartanburg’s central business district since 2004. “It’s a dynamic addition to a rapidly revitalizing downtown and everything — from architecture to amenities to artwork — is designed to introduce South Carolina to the AC brand’s ‘New Way to Hotel.’”
Constructed of nearly a quarter-million bricks laid the old-fashioned way, the sustainably-built hotel is on track to attain LEED Silver Certification. Architectural design was a collaboration of DC-based David M. Schwarz Architects and Spartanburg’s McMillan Pazdan Smith, with interior work by DLR Group of Minneapolis. Robins & Morton served as General Contractor.
“The level of detail is amazing,” says OTO President/CEO Corry Oakes, pointing to exterior stonework incorporating custom motifs such as the Jessamine, South Carolina’s state flower. “The hand of the craftsman is evident throughout.”
The 114-key AC Hotel Spartanburg offers suites and guestrooms with either two queen-sized beds or a king plus pullout sofa.
“Our guestrooms are designed with a subtle European sensibility — neutral colors, sleek furnishings, natural lighting and an open sense of space,” says General Manager Alyssa Stroup. “The AC brand’s philosophy is to focus on essentials — and only essentials — so that there’s nothing unnecessary in the room, but what is there is better. So these rooms are incredibly functional, with details like adjustable reading lamps, USB charging ports, free WiFi and mini-fridge.”
Interior common spaces incorporate crown moldings, raised paneling and other traditional architectural detailing juxtaposed with modern fixtures, furnishings and artwork.
“At AC Hotels by Marriott, we believe in paying attention to the details, and this is evident at the new AC Hotel Spartanburg,” says Benoit Racle, Senior Global Brand Director, AC Hotels by Marriott. “From the architectural detailing to the nods to the brand’s European heritage that intermingle with local touches, every feature of the hotel has been carefully curated to give travelers an elegant, frictionless and uncomplicated experience, whether they are traveling for business or leisure.”
The hotel’s lobby and second floor showcase a significant selection of masterworks on loan from the nationally acclaimed Johnson Collection. Guests are encouraged to interact with the 40+ objects on view — paintings, works on paper, textiles, and sculpture — created by artists associated with the progressive arts enclave of Black Mountain College.
Sequestered in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Black Mountain College was a living laboratory for creative experimentation. Open from 1933-1957, the avant-garde school attracted a coterie of groundbreaking artists who went on to shape modern art in this country and beyond.
AC Hotel Spartanburg’s three meeting rooms are named for four key figures in Black Mountain College history: Anni and Josef Albers, Ruth Asawa, and Kenneth Noland. Designed for flexibility and awash in natural light, these rooms offer 637, 847 and 1,177 square feet, with the option to combine into one large 2,662-sq.-ft. space. The rooms are easily configured for business meetings — complete with LCD projectors, large drop-down screens, and total connectivity — as well as social events such as wedding parties, class reunions, club luncheons and community gatherings.
Other amenities at AC Hotel Spartanburg include an outdoor pool with patio, a business center, and a 24/7 fitness room with 11 machines plus free weights. The AC Kitchen serves a European-inspired breakfast featuring freshly baked croissants, sliced prosciutto and cheese, savory and sweet breakfast tarts, yogurts and fresh fruit.
The AC Lounge in the lobby emphasizes the AC signature Gin & Tonic, Spanish wines, crafted cocktails created with liquor distilled by Spartanburg’s Mottes & Sons Bootlegging Co., and local micro-brews from RJ Rockers Brewing Co., which is located right across the street — so “local” truly is local. A tapas menu features small plates with a Spanish flair.
A train whistle launches Happy Hour every evening in the AC Lounge, as the bartender offers samples of “The Crescent,” the hotel’s signature cocktail, along with the backstory of the drink’s namesake. The Crescent — one of the first-ever trains designed for passengers, with elegant dining, specialty cars and upscale services — enjoyed an always-anticipated stop in Spartanburg along its crescent-shaped route from New Orleans to New York.
A mix of Motte & Sons Vodka, Palmetto Rum, Gin, Triple Sec, Peach Izzy and a splash of lime juice, The Crescent toasts the days of yore when seven rail lines fanned out from Spartanburg like spokes on a wheel, with downtown as the hub — hence the nickname “Hub City” — for trains carrying passengers, textile products and, of course, peaches to all four corners of the country.
The 10th floor is devoted to a rooftop restaurant — scheduled to begin operations in late January — with an open-air terrace that serves up incredible 360° views of the city. Operated by the Rick Erwin Dining Group and helmed by Executive Chef Mark Grasso and General Manager Mark McCalmont, Level 10 is a high-end concept centered on seasonally-driven small plates, handcrafted cocktails and a wine cellar for all tastes. Featuring tasting-style portions of pastas, seafood, lighter fare, and a few signature steaks, the restaurant’s emphasis on shared plates enhances AC Hotel Spartanburg’s community-driven Southern hospitality.
Level 10’s sleek, sophisticated design is the work of Greenville SC architects Craig Gaulden Davis. The upscale ambiance incorporates tailored materials, hand-crafted finishes, custom chandeliers and high coffered ceilings to complement the unparalleled skyline views.
“When it opens next month, Level 10 will reflect the same commitment to interior design, Southern hospitality, and quality service as AC Hotel Spartanburg,” says Rick Erwin, founder of Rick Erwin Dining Group. “This menu and the unique atmosphere we have created is designed to cater to the city's visiting guests as well as locals, whether for special occasions or simply for weeknights when they don't feel like cooking at home.”
AC Hotel Spartanburg is located at 225 W. Main St. in downtown Spartanburg. Local restaurants, art galleries, specialty shops and public green spaces are just steps away; several Upstate colleges are close by, too. The hotel is easily accessible via I-85 and I-26. To make a reservation, call 864-585-8900 or visit ACSpartanburg.com. Follow the hotel on Facebook and Instagram @ACHotelSpartanburgSC and Twitter @ACSpartanburg.