Posted 06.13.16 by Lori
“No great conversation ever started over a salad” Kara DeNardo said to me within minutes of meeting her for the first time. She is the new director of sales and marketing for the new AC Hotel that just opened at 100 E. Rio Salado Parkway in Downtown Tempe. When she said this, we were standing near their huge bar, it’s literally the in the center of the lobby and would be the main focus of my vision if it were not for the stunning artwork on the walls (more on that in a minute). The bar is spectacular in looks and in its offerings: local wine on tap, local craft beers in cans, and a signature cocktail called the Gintonic (not a typo!). I encourage you to stop in for a nightcap and ask the bartender about the Mules Mistake –it’s a great story. The bar no doubt will be where people congregate before they head out to the streets of Downtown Tempe for dinner.
(notice the leather chairs, it’s important – read on)
The AC has 159 rooms and 4 suites with a European vibe – this is the first AC Hotel in the western states and the 8th in the U.S. – as well as a meeting space, a library that has more technology than NASA (well, maybe not as much…) and an area for eating (don’t call it a restaurant, you’ll find no menus here) breakfast (European spread, buffet, awesome is what you’d call it) and tapas in the afternoon/evening. Did I mention the dough for their croissants is flown in from France?
Impress your friends with this knowledge: the AC in the name stands for Antonio Catalan, the president of AC Hotels. He wanted to bring what he liked best about his favorite hotels in Europe and combine them in one hotel brand – the AC Hotel. One of his favorites is the soft, buttery leather of the chairs in the lobby (did you notice them in the photo above?). When you order something from the bar, you are given a gift in the form of a nifty gadget called a Kallpod. No wait staff will bug you while you’re lounging in the lobby. When you want another drink, push a button on the Kallpod. They magically bring you another. Want to settle up? Push a button and the bill is brought to you. Out at the rooftop pool? Use the Kallpod to order a drink from the bar in the lobby and it will come to you. A-mazing.
The Kallpod, my new best friend.
The art throughout the hotel is amazing and each piece is just asking for you to touch, feel and interact with it (go ahead, it’s OK to touch the art!). Curated by the Valley’s own Jude Smith, every art piece in the AC Hotel was created by a female and is designed to reflect the desert, the mountain, the lake and environment around the hotel. Every piece of art in each of the 159 rooms and suites is unique and different – you’ll find no duplicates here. In fact, the lobby is the new home to old stones from the Hayden Flour Mill that have been turned into a remarkable free-standing piece.
I invite you to spend a night at the AC Hotel this summer before it fills up with conference, business and tourist visitors. Get a Gintonic at the bar, ride the elevator up and stop at each floor to view the artwork at the elevator landing. Then move up to the rooftop pool, use the Kallpod to order your next cocktail. Within minutes it will be delivered to you as you sit with your feet in the pool and gaze upon our beautiful city on the desert.
Location: AC Hotel Phoenix Tempe / Downtown