8 Great Reasons to Stay at AC Hotel National Harbor

There are currently five AC Hotel properties in the United States and my wife and I stayed at the AC Hotel National Harbor, Maryland (Washington, DC area). Other AC Hotels are in Chicago, Kansas City, Miami Beach, and New Orleans.

This property was formerly an Aloft hotel and was renovated, re-branded, and re-opened as AC Hotel National Harbor a few months ago.

McCool Travel tip: join the Marriott Rewards program to earn points for your stays at AC Hotel National Harbor and other AC Hotel properties.

Besides National Harbor—which offers water shuttles to Alexandria and DC National Mall, great public art, wonderful shopping, and delectable dining—here are some reasons why I enjoyed the AC Hotel National Harbor.

8 Great Reasons to Stay at AC Hotel National Harbor

1. Concept

This was my first stay at an AC Hotel and I was WOWed. Everything seems just so, so, European. Researching the history I learned that the AC Hotel brand was founded by a Spaniard and the official tagline is, “Modern Hotels With Spanish Roots and European Design.” From the open lobby space to public art displays to hardwood floors in the room, the design was clean, inviting, and soothing.

AC Hotel National Harbor art
lobby art at AC Hotel National Harbor

2. European breakfast

Croissants, meat, cheese, yogurt, quiches, baked goods, and more greet you in the cozy breakfast area each morning. Several fruit juices are available; I liked the tropical blend. Did I mention the croissants? Oh, they are freshly made and melt-in-your-mouth warm. Our server made me a Nutella hot chocolate which was really scrumptious. Of course, by that time, I had to have another warm croissant. Simply had to!

AC Hotel National Harbor breakfast
love the European breakfast
AC Hotel National Harbor breakfast drinks
delicious breakfast juices

3. Bar

The bartenders here are artisans rather than servers. They have a menu of cocktails (which are tasty) but we were encouraged to ask about the “porthole.” The night we stayed, the porthole was a fruity brandy that was fermenting for several hours. The staff experiments every day. The lead bartender told us he is inspired by cooking shows and wants his drinks to be creations. Even the button to beckon a server is cool. The fried potatoes is a small plate snack that really hit the spot.

AC Hotel National Harbor bar
bar at AC Hotel National Harbor
AC Hotel National Harbor mojito
mojito and kale chips

4. Staff

Every staff member I encountered at AC Hotel National Harbor smiled and was friendly, interactive, and helpful (when asked). I would not hesitate to stay here again, just to be inspired by the staff’s smiling faces and pleasant demeanor.

AC Hotel National Harbor bar button
use this button to call your AC Hotel server

5. Amenities

AC Hotel National Harbor has a fitness center, an outdoor fire pit area that is fun on cool evenings, and self parking in the adjacent garage. Loved the charging station and water view in my room.

AC Hotel National Harbor room view
National Harbor view

6. Comfort

The bed was really comfortable and the wood floors made the room feel more elegant and clean. My room had bright lighting—for reading and in the bathroom—which is hard to find in most hotels. Various chairs around the interior public spaces were among the most comfortable I have sat in.

AC Hotel National Harbor bed
bed at AC National Harbor
AC Hotel National Harbor bath
bathroom at AC National Harbor
AC Hotel National Harbor lobby
lobby at AC National Harbor

7. Dining

Besides the bar, which has scrumptious small plates, there are more than 30 nearby places to eat, including The Walrus Oyster and Ale House on the ground level of AC Hotel. We had dinner at Granite City Food and Brewing, which graciously comped our dinner. We also received a behind-the-scenes tour from the manager, Jon.

8. Shopping

AC Hotel National Harbor is within walking distance of 150 stores, to keep you busy for days; my favorites are Marbles: The Brain Store and Peeps & Company. If you end up buying too much stuff at Tanger Outlets, a convenient bus can return you to the front of the AC Hotel.

Look for the best rates at AC Hotel National Harbor here.

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2 thoughts on “8 Great Reasons to Stay at AC Hotel National Harbor”

  1. Many AC hotels are scattered across Spain and Portugal. I am planning to visit the area and use my Marriott points. Unlike other Marriott hotels, AC’s do not require a lot of points.

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