AC Hotel by Marriott, Portland (ME) Downtown : Excellent in all aspects

For the second step of our American roadtrip, we stayed at the AC Hotel by Marriott in Portland. Mind you, there are many Portlands in the USA, and this is the one located in Maine, in the North-East of the United States. Not to be confused with the Portland near Seattle, in Oregon.

Booking

I booked the hotel a few weeks before our arrival. After spending some time in New Hampshire, we wanted to visit Portland in neighboring Maine, which Bertrand had already sold me.

At the time of booking, on the Marriott website and app, the ratings of the various establishments located in Portland were quite low, or else, with an insane price, like the Press Hotel (Autograph Collection). So it was to the AC Hotel, which has a decent rating and is dog-friendly, that we turned.

The bill was still high, however, with a rate of over $300 a night excluding taxes for a standard room.

I tried to apply a Suite Night Award to this booking. A few days before our arrival, I realize that the SNA cannot be applied, as the category in which I wish to be upgraded is fully booked.

Arrival

I check in via the Marriott app 48 hours before our arrival at the hotel. No upgrade is indicated for the moment, but on the morning of our arrival, I notice an upgrade to the hotel’s highest suite category, the one for which I had requested an SNA that had been declined! Strange, but I’ll take it!

We arrive at the hotel by car mid-afternoon, after a very rainy journey. On arrival, a valet takes charge of our car, which we leave in the hotel parking lot for just over $30 a night for the duration of our stay.

He was very friendly, offered to help us with our luggage and told us that we could use the hotel car free of charge within a 2 km radius, which made it easy to reach all points of this small town in the north of the United States.

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We then proceed to the hotel’s reception desk, where formalities are completed fairly quickly. They are carried out by a receptionist-in-training, assisted by the head receptionist, who instructs him on all the steps to be taken to check in an Ambassador guest.

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I appreciate the fact that my credit card is not required, and the receptionist tells me that this is now the new procedure for Ambassador members, who are very unlikely to leave without paying!

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Our upgrade to the Executive Suite is confirmed, and we’re soon on our way to our room on the sixth and top floor of the hotel.

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Room

Our suite was located on the 6th and top floor of the hotel. During our entire stay, one of the two elevators did not work, causing long waits, especially during peak periods (morning and evening).

Our suite was located in one of the hotel’s corners, ensuring a panoramic view of the port and docks.

The door opens directly onto a large entrance hall with a closet that is certainly useful in winter.

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Next comes the spacious living and dining area, featuring on the left a desk topped by a TV, a coffee table and a leather sofa convertible into a bed. The seat is a little strange. To the left is a dining table and wet bar. The living room has a door leading directly to the bathroom, also accessible from the bedroom.

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The bedroom is accessed via a double door from the living room, and features rounded windows in keeping with the architecture of the building. On the left is a closet, a refrigerator with two tiny bottles of water, an American coffee machine and a safe. Opposite are an armchair and a chaise longue, with two adjoining shelves. Finally, on the right is the comfortable king-size bed. The curtains do a good job of blocking out the morning sun. Connectivity near the bed will be modern and adapted, although USB-C sockets may be missing.

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Finally, the bathroom, accessible via a sliding (and unfortunately noisy) door, is also a nice size, and features WC, a simple washbasin with enough space for toiletries, and a walk-in shower, which also lacked pressure (again!). The toiletries now available from AC are of much better quality than before, and come in large-format containers.

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Finally, here is the video tour:

Hotel facilities

The hotel is equipped with a fitness room, located on the first floor opposite the elevators, which I won’t have the pleasure of using during my stay. I did, however, take a few shots for you.

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Catering

All the hotel’s food and beverage outlets are located near the hotel lobby, in a single area.

Breakfast – AC Kitchen

For our two mornings in the hotel, we had breakfast in the hotel restaurant, AC Kitchen. Note that unlike most Marriott Bonvoy properties, breakfast cannot be selected as a Platinum benefit in AC properties, and must be paid for extra if not included in the room rate.

However, the price was reasonable this time, $18 for the continental buffet and a hot à la carte dish.

The buffet was quite complete and with good quality items, something rare in the USA especially for a hotel of this category.

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The à la carte dishes, on the other hand, were disappointing (strange tastes, lack of seasoning), and stuck to the buffet on the second morning.

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Dinner/Snack – AC Lounge

Just after arriving at the hotel, we decided to have a light snack/dinner at the AC Lounge, the onsite bar that also serves tapas. I’ll be ordering a glass of Côtes du Rhône at happy hour, as well as some (excellent) charcuterie to nibble on. My wife will order the tortilla, which was succulent.

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Service

Service in the hotel is good but not exceptional. In particular, the mood of the receptionists is variable and saying hello is not the norm for everyone in this profession.

Departure

Departure formalities are fairly straightforward, and we’re soon on our way to Boston. There was no pet fee on my invoice.

Bottom line

A high-quality hotel, with a worthy upgrade and a restaurant that holds its own. We’ll be back.

Itinerary

As a reminder, here is the itinerary followed:

#TypePost
1DiaryPlanning summer vacation 2023 in the USA
2HotelFairfield Inn by Marriott, North Conway (New-Hampshire)
3HotelAC Hotel by Marriott, Portland (Maine)
4FlightParis-Copenhaguen – SAS – SAS plus
5LoungeSAS Gold Lounge Copenhagen
6FlightCopenhagen-Gothenburg – SAS – SAS Plus
7HotelAvalon Hotel – Gothenburg
8RestaurantCarbon, Gothenburg
9LoungeSAS Lounge – Gothenburg
10FlightGothenburg-Copenhagen – SAS – SAS plus
11LoungeAmerican Airlines Admirals Club lounge, Boston Logan
12FlightBoston – Chicago O’Hare – American Airlines – Domestic First
13LoungeEventyr lounge, Copenhagen
14FlightCopenhagen-Chicago – SAS (operated par Hifly) – Business Class
15HotelThe St. Regis, Chicago
16HotelW Chicago Lakeshore
17RestaurantSignature Room at the John Hancock Center, Chicago
18RestaurantThe Purple Pig, Chicago
19RestaurantObelix, Chicago
20RestaurantCabra, Chicago
21RestaurantMiru, Chicago
22DiaryVisiting Chicago
23LoungeAmerican Airlines Flagship Lounge, Chicago O’Hare
24FlightChicago O’Hare – Indianapolis – American Airlines Domestic First
25FlightIndianapolis – Boston – American Airlines Domestic First
26LoungeSAS Lounge – Chicago O’Hare
27FlightChicago O’Hare-Stockholm – SAS – Business Class
28LoungeSAS Gold Lounge, Stockholm
29FlightStockholm-Gothenburg – SAS – SAS Plus
30HotelScandic Rubinen – Gothenburg
31RestaurantProject, Gothenburg
32FlightGothenburg-Copenhagen – SAS – SAS Plus
33FlightCopenhagen-Paris – SAS (Operated by Jet Time) – SAS Plus
34DiaryDebriefing summer vacations in the USA
Today’s itinerary
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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