The AC Marriott Cape Town. Pic: JF Wiens

My family and I recently enjoyed a one night staycation at the new AC Marriott hotel in Cape Town. The hotel, situated on Dockrail Road, is a hidden gem - and I mean hidden as it is located next to the harbour, overlooking the newly built cruise terminal, located away from most of the other CBD and Waterfront hotels.

The AC Marriott Cape Town opened its doors on December 1, 2018, being the first AC Marriott in Africa and the Middle East. There are 188 rooms, which can accommodate 400 guests. 

AC Hotels by Marriott was born out of the entrepreneurial spirit of renowned hotelier Antonio Catalan who formed a joint venture with Marriott in 2011. The vibe is modern European-inspired design meets cosmopolitan Cape Town.

The trendy bar/lounge at the AC Marriott. Pic: JF Wiens

Spending an evening with two five-year-olds in a hotel can be quite a daunting thought for any parent, and I have to admit I had my reservations about taking them along to what I consider to be an upmarket business-travellers hotel. 

However, as soon as we entered the lobby my fears were allayed as the management and staff ensured my kids were warmly welcomed and had no qualms about them wandering behind the reception desk to greet them with a hug.

The check-in was seamless and when we arrived in our spacious mountain-facing family room with panoramic views of the city, we were delighted to find cupcakes and juice waiting for the girls and a gin & tonic for hubby and me - the perfect way to start the evening.

Our mountain-facing double family room at the AC Marriott. Pic: JF Wiens

After my daughters devoured their cupcakes and we quaffed our gin & tonics we meandered down to the restaurant for dinner and were relieved to find a few other families enjoying a casual dinner.

The restaurant offers a Mediterranean-influenced menu of shareable plates for easy relaxed dining.

I started with the slightly piquant anchovies fried in olive oil, while my husband opted for grilled calamari with aioli.

For mains I chose seared tuna served with fresh tender stem broccoli while my husband chose the succulent sticky lamb ribs with herb yoghurt and apple and fennel slaw - both prepared in an eco-friendly Bertha oven. (Bertha ovens are wood-fueled ovens, reducing cooking time by 40%). Both the fish and meat were perfectly seasoned, well prepared and succulent.

Sticky ribs done in a Bertha oven at the AC Marriott. Pic: JF Wiens

After dinner, we took the hotel’s complimentary shuttle to the V&A Waterfront and enjoyed a couple of hours wandering around the Waterfront. 

The shuttle driver was extremely accommodating and personalised the experience for us by arranging to fetch us at our convenience.

In place of room service, guests can pop down to the AC Market, located in the reception area which offers a really cool grab-and-go deli set up. 

Room service has been replaced with the AC Market - a 24-hour deli. Pic: JF Wiens.

The AC Kitchen serves a European-inspired breakfast each morning featuring assorted fresh juices, imported and local cheeses, freshly baked croissants, artisanal cured meats (cut by the big, red Berkel meat slicer that is a trademark in all of the AC Marriott’s restaurants), a selection of yoghurts and cereals, seasonal fruits and sweet and savoury tarts, finished with fresh Nespresso coffee.

Included in the stay is a round-trip in the water taxi, which stops behind the hotel, taking guests on a guided tour along the V&A canals, past some of the most exclusive private residences in the country, stopping at the Westin, AC Marriott and One and Only hotels. We loved the novelty of being a tourist in our own canals!

A water-taxi ride is included in the stay at the AC Marriott. Pic: FA Kloren

My #Staycation at the AC Marriott was a pleasant surprise for me - offering a sleek retreat filled with relaxed amenities for a truly refreshing travel experience - and I would definitely do it again.