I know, a “Staycation Getaway” sounds like an oxymoron, but nothing could be further from the truth! Especially when your staycation is hosted at the AC Hotel Raleigh North Hills.
When you have a family of 7–and your husband has been unemployed for 11 months–you don't get to go out a whole lot, much less take a vacation. With my girls' schedules it's hard enough to plan a family dinner; a romantic getaway with the husband is nearly impossible.
But I guess the stars and planets were all aligned because my husband, Colm, and I were able to sneak away for an amazingly relaxing and fun staycation at the AC Hotel Raleigh North Hills.
While the hotel is just 30 minutes down the road, we might as well have been 1,000 miles away from home. I felt like we were on a completely separate planet from our kids.
AC Hotels by Marriott
AC Hotels, Marriott's premium hotel chain with European inspired design accoutrements, has properties in 16 countries, with locations in 45 cities in the United States, and Puerto Rico, and 75 more locations opening across the US.
“When designing AC Hotels, we focused on the essentials of a beautiful stay and have created an experience unlike any other. Our breakfast found European inspiration. We replaced room service with the flexibility of a quick snack or evening tapas plates. Our bartenders are true urban spirits who will share the unique buzz of the city and all it has to offer. It’s an experience that has been designed to give you the essentials.
By focusing on the little things, we've created something big. Something new.
Each of our spaces is built from the ground up with a visionary's spirit and a designers' eye. It's an experience that feels stylish, yet efficient. Alluring but purposeful. Every detail is considered to provide just the beautiful essentials.
AC Hotels. A New Way To Hotel”
The first North Carolina location opened in Raleigh's North Hills neighborhood in 2017. Two more properties opened later that year in Asheville and Chapel Hill. The AC Hotel Charlotte City Center will open in mid-September 2018.
AC Hotel Raleigh North Hills
The AC Hotel Raleigh North Hills has 7 floors and 135 guest rooms. This stylish hotel has a simplistic, contemporary design, and offers guest amenities that include a well-stocked AC Store in the lobby, business center, meeting room, 24/7 fitness center, and the Level7 rooftop bar.
You will find plenty of complimentary off-site parking across the street at the Bank of America building, as well as Valet parking at the hotel, for $22 a day. The AC Hotel does not accept pets and is completely smoke free.
Conveniently located just off the highway, the AC Hotel Raleigh North Hills is within walking distance of copious amounts of dining, entertainment, and shopping. You are steps away from restaurants for every budget, taste, and style, like CO, The Capital Grille, The Cowfish, Piola, Zoe's Kitchen, Vivace, just to name a few.
The Lobby Area
I love the clean lines and sophisticated style of the hotel. The lobby is fashionable and functional, but still casual enough to make you feel comfortable using the space.
Check-in was a breeze and the staff extremely welcoming and helpful.
Wi-Fi is free throughout the property, and the signal was strong no matter where we were located.
The AC Store
The AC Store, available 24 hours a day, is located just off the lobby. It is fully-stocked with both healthy and sweet snacks–including chips, nuts, yogurt, soft drinks, juice, water, beer and wine and the best ice cream. They also sell a variety of travel size amenities.
The Business Center
While we were at the hotel purely to relax, the property has an excellent business center that provides both public and private workspaces for guests.
The Meeting Room
For meetings and events, the Pamplona Room is just over 1,000 sq ft and can accommodate up to 100 people. This cutting-edge meeting room can be set-up in several different layouts to accommodate any type of meeting, and features integrated audio visual technology. If needed, catering services are also available.
The Fitness Center
While there is no pool at the hotel, the fitness Room is outfitted with something for everyone… bicycle, elliptical machine, stair stepper, treadmills, free weights and bench, weight machine, kettlebells, and stability balls.
Other amenities available include fresh towels and a conveniently located hydration station.
The Guest Room
The sleek guest rooms are both functional and comfortable. Colm, and I stayed in a King Guest room with Sofa Bed.
Oh my goodness, the bed was the most comfortable I have ever slept on. The cozy bedding, super soft sheets, and multitude of pillows (both down and foam pillows are provided, in case of allergies) in varying degrees of softness remind you this isn't your typical hotel.
The hardwood floors in the guestroom are a nice touch. IMO carpets found in most hotels are disgusting, no matter how nice the property. I learned the hard way never to go barefoot in a hotel room–I once stepped on a silver dollar-sized spill of old Chinese Food while opening a curtain at a 4 star hotel–so gross! The hardwood floors were very clean–after walking around in my socks all afternoon they were still white.
The mood lights under the bench and workstation were fun and a nice alternative to conventional lighting. Although, with all the different switches it took me a hot minute to figure out how to turn them on, lol.
The lights gave off a soft glow in the room, bright enough for me to get some late night work done at the large workspace, but not so bright that they disturbed Colm while he slept.
If you can't miss your favorite show, or just want to relax while watching a movie, then you are in luck! The large smart TV offers plenty of channels as well as Netflix, Hulu, and other services. It was a little bothersome that the TV is stationary so you can't angle it towards the desk or seating area, but not a major issue.
The comfortable leather couch pulls out to a full-sized bed, if needed.
My only true complaint about the room was the noise from the air conditioner unit, located in the bump out by the desk. It was pretty loud when running. But living in a house with six other people, five of them children, I'm used to tuning out background noise. It didn't bother me for very long.
The Room Amenities
The room amenities are plentiful and practical. You have the standard coffee maker, ice bucket, iron, mini fridge, drawers, hangers, etc., plus an in room safe, several easily accessable electrical outlets, and–my favorite–SO many USB ports to charge all of your devices. No more battling to use the lone USB port, scrambling because you forgot your charger plug, or moving furniture to find a free electrical outlet!
Complimentary bottled water is provided in the fridge. The chilled glasses were a nice touch.
The Hydration Station
Speaking of water, how cool is this hydration station? There is one on each floor. Not only can you get all the ice you want without leaving your own floor, it also provides filtered water. Save the environment by skipping the disposable plastic water bottles and grab a carafe to fill with ice cold filtered water.
The bathroom has a very masculine feel and with the spa-like upscale fixtures, marble tile, and textured wallpaper, screams luxury.
I didn't love the frosted glass door separating the bathroom and the living area. It doesn't lock and is semi-transparent. This could be a little awkward if you are sharing a room with someone who you aren't intimately familiar with, lol. Plus, when you turn the bathroom lights on at night the door lets out a lot of light into the room area.
The huge glass enclosed shower was delightful. Plenty of hot water with good pressure, and two different types of shower heads, a rainfall and a handheld adjustable height shower head. I am not normally a fan of rainfall showers, but this one was powerful enough to remove the shampoo and conditioner from my hair without rinsing several times.
The towels are large, soft and fluffy, and plentiful. I normally have to call down for extra towels because Colm likes to shower both in the evening and in the morning, and he is a towel hog, lol.
The vanity is well-lit, making it easy to apply makeup or shave. The AC signature amenities–shampoo, conditioner and body lotion–have a lovely scent, but were not overpowering. A standard hair dryer was attached to the wall and worked like any other hair dryer.
Colm was very excited to find the complimentary slippers, and he would still be wearing them if our puppy Scout hadn't decided they would make a good chew toy.
The Level7 Rooftop Bar
Colm and I had a lovely evening at the Level7 bar. Stay tuned for more on this because the space is so amazing it deserves a review of its own!
The Level7 Rooftop Bar, located on the hotel's top floor, is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 am until 11:30 PM, Friday 11:30 AM to 12 AM, Saturday 11 AM to 12 AM and Sunday 11 AM to 11 PM.
Split into an indoor space and open-air patio with plenty of seating in the form of chairs, couches, and bar stools, Level7 Rooftop Bar provides panoramic views of the North Hills neighborhood surrounding the hotel. Heaters are used during colder weather making the area usable year-round.
Level7 features live music on occasion, check out the event schedule here to find out when the next band will perform. Hotel guests, as well as the general public, have access to the rooftop area, but when crowded non-guests may have to wait to enter.
“Level7 is Raleigh's distinctive, energized space for tapas style bites and samplings from small batch distillers, rockstar brewers and single vineyard labels. With a flavor all its own, Level7 is a European inspired experience with North Carolina spirit and Raleigh soul overlooking the North Hills neighborhood. Enjoy hand crafted cocktails and European inspired small plates at our rooftop lounge and patio featuring panoramic city views. Our bartenders are local experts on the best places to visit in the Raleigh area.”
The AC Kitchen
While we didn't partake in the breakfast buffet at the AC Kitchen the next morning–Colm had to be at work early–it sounds like quite an experience!
“Open uniquely for breakfast, the AC Kitchen is grounded in the idea of a European home, inviting guests each morning to start the day with a refined taste of AC’s European origins. Enjoy flaky pastries, Iberico prosciutto and Nespresso coffee. Whether you prefer a savory or sweet start to your day, choose from our egg tarts to satisfy your palette.”
I can't rave enough about our stay! Every detail in the hotel was created in consideration of the guest's comfort and convenience. The hotel staff provides first class service to help make each guest's visit a positive one.
If you are looking for a truly exceptional place to stay, whether it's for a quick staycation getaway, business trip, or destination vacation, I highly recommend the AC Hotel Raleigh North Hills.