AC Hotels by Marriott opened the AC Hotel Chapel Hill Downtown, Marriott's first branded modular construction project on the East Coast. The four-story, 123-key hotel is located in Chapel Hill—adjacent to the town's social district and just around the corner from the University of North Carolina. Its contemporary façade complements surrounding downtown structures, both commercial and residential, mixing modern architecture and local accents to capture the character of this historic college community.
"AC Hotel Chapel Hill melds modern sophistication with the traditional warmth of Southern hospitality," Corry Oakes, president/CEO of OTO Development, the Spartanburg S.C.-based Johnson Management company that developed and operates the new property, said in a statement. "More than simply somewhere to stay, this hotel is an opportunity for guests to experience the essence of Chapel Hill, a place locals call 'the southern part of heaven.'"
Architectural details, such as expansive windows and an exterior corner den with an outdoor fireplace, encourage visitors to intermingle with local residents inside the hotel's AC Lounge, which is designed as a neighborhood hangout, and outside amidst the community's street scene.
A European sensibility defines AC Hotel Chapel Hill's 123 guestrooms, with a neutral color palette, natural lighting and open sense of space. "The AC brand's philosophy is to focus on essentials—and only essentials," Andrew Strickland, GM of the hotel, said in a statement. "So there's nothing unnecessary in the rooms, but what is there is better. There's extra focus on functionality, details like adjustable reading lamps, USB charging ports, free WiFi, individual climate controls and, of course, the best bed you'll sleep in besides your own."
Artwork in the common areas is all about community. In partnership with N.C.-headquartered Kalisher, OTO commissioned regional artist Lincoln Hancock to create a 96-by-72 mixed media work on canvas that celebrates the rich history of Chapel Hill's Northside neighborhood, which sits adjacent to the hotel. Hancock collected source materials (photos, newspaper clippings, stories) from residents and community organizations; he layered these into an abstracted timeline - a montage of images and text - that serves as the hotel's focal piece of art.
Ten other pieces of local and regional artwork commissioned by Kalisher and OTO include three sculptures by Matt McConnell (Raleigh, N.C.) and an abstract wood installation outside by sculptor Robert Winkler (Asheville, N.C.).
Hotel amenities include hydration stations on every floor; a 24/7 fitness center complete with cardio equipment, weight machines and dumbbells; an AC Library/business center; and 650 square feet of meeting space with integrated technology and ergonomic seating.
The AC Kitchen offers a European-inspired breakfast with croissants, sliced prosciutto and cheese, breakfast tarts, yogurts and fresh fruit.
"At AC Hotels by Marriott, we believe the details are what matter, and this is evident at the new AC Hotel Chapel Hill Downtown," Benoit Racle, senior global brand director, AC Hotels by Marriott, said in a statement. "From the modern architectural detailing to the carefully-curated artwork, to the nods to the brand's European heritage that intermingle with local touches; every feature of the hotel has been purposefully selected to give travelers an elegant, frictionless and uncomplicated experience, whether they are traveling for business or leisure."
AC Hotel Chapel Hill, the first Marriott-branded hotel on the Eastern Seaboard built via modular construction, was designed by Overcash Demmitt Architects, with interior work by DLR Group. Le Chase Construction Services served as general contractor and Champion Commercial Structures was the modular construction contractor. The hotel is on track to attain LEED Certification.