AC Hotel Opens in San Jose

If you have tried to get a weekday room in Silicon Valley over the last couple of years, you’ll know the following rules: Book early. Cast a wide net. And be AC Hotel, from Santa Clara Streetprepared to pay up.

But now a little rain has fallen on the long drought of hotel construction in downtown San Jose.

Marriott Hotels on Jan. 31 hosted an opening celebration for its sleek new AC Hotel, an upscale select-service property that adds 210 rooms to the downtown scene.

“I’m really excited to open this hotel,” said Marriott AC Hotel Global Brand Director Benoit Racle. He called the European-influenced design a “very elegant environment” that’s “designed for entrepreneurially minded people.”

The property can’t come a minute too soon for some. San Jose’s hotel market has been on fire lately, with average daily rates hitting about $215 in October 2016. That’s up from about $190 the year prior. The market is particularly tight during the week, thanks to the region’s heavy business-travel orientation. (San Jose currently has about 1,700 hotel rooms planned, though it’s unlikely all of those will come to fruition.)

“This is an amazing product, and it’s the right time, right place and in the right city,” said Matthew Mahood, CEO of the silicon valley organization (formerly the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce), at the opening event. “We continue to hear, over and over, ‘I can’t find a hotel room.’ Guess where I can send them now?”

The prosciutto slicer, AC Hotel

The prosciutto slicer, AC Hotel

AC Hotel belongs to a burgeoning category of hotels that aim to add a little something extra to the traditional select-service experience. Social and lounge spaces have extra flair, with a modern but comfy aesthetic that looks out onto downtown’s lively street scene thanks to floor to ceiling windows on the ground floor. While there’s no room service, you can pick up tasty goodies (like Three Twins ice cream) at a self-serve in-house bodega. Food options include afternoon and evening small plates and a full bar. But the piece de resistance, when it comes to food, is a European-style continental breakfast featuring La Quercia prosciutto sliced on a $10,000 prosciutto-slicing machine.

As for the rooms? You’ll find laminate wood flooring, clean lines, all-king beds and enough USB ports to charge anAC Hotel room Apple Store’s worth of consumer electronics.  (The property comes equipped with ultra-high speed fiber Internet.)

“It really brings a new product offering to our portfolio,” said Karolyn Kirchgesler, CEO of Team San Jose, the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau. She noted that the city’s average daily rate – a key measure of hotel health — has increased substantially in each of the last five years. “This is the perfect time to be opening in San Jose.”

It’s the first AC Hotel on the West Coast and one of only 12 in the nation – though 60 are planned around the world over the next three years.

The site of the new project has long been eyed for a new hotel. In 2013, developers first submitted plans for a Hampton Inn. Jerry Harlan Jr., vice president with developer TPG Hotels and Resorts, said when the AC brand showed interest, “we immediately saw the opportunity and leapt onto the AC bandwagon before it was popular.”

The property better knits the city’s traditional central business district core to the emerging Diridon Station area, which is seeing increased investor interest. That’s partly thanks to the planned arrival in Downtown San Jose of Bay Area Rapid Transit and High Speed Rail in the years ahead. The AC’s location positions it just a few steps from SAP Center (aka the Shark Tank), the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and cultural venues such as the City National Civic and Center for the Performing Arts. It’s also in the thick of Fortune 100 offices and about 10 minutes’ drive from the Mineta San Jose International Airport.

The bar, AC Hotel

The bar, AC Hotel

Grand Opening event – AC Hotel, January, 2017