AC Hotel brings 220 new rooms
The hotel room count in Jamaica's capital city will jump by 220 when the the first AC Hotel by Marriott in the Caribbean opens for business on June 17.
Anticipation is running high, not only in Kingston, but throughout the overseas travel trade for the new property which is an initiative of the Gordon “Butch” Stewart family enterprise and represents the family's first major tourism venture outside of its Sandals/Beaches resorts trademark.
The hotel is being spearheaded by Sandals/ATL Group's Deputy Chairman Adam Stewart, who has assured Jamaicans and the travel trade that the AC Hotel Kingston raises the bar on service, guest comfort, and modern state-of-the-art facilities.
“My family and I are excited to bring one of the most sought-after lifestyle business hotel brands to our hometown, Kingston. The classic European design coupled with features of our Jamaican culture have made for a truly one-of-a-kind combination that the team and I look forward to sharing with our guests,” Adam Stewart said in an earlier interview.
“Through this venture, I also look forward to building new partnerships and expanding existing ones within our Tourism Linkages Network that is geared towards improving the country's economic standing,” he added.
Last Friday, Stewart led Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett on a tour of the hotel which offers 8,600 square feet of cutting-edge meeting space in three separate rooms, the largest being the main ballroom with the capacity to seat 600 people and which can be broken into three separate rooms.
In fact, the operators point out that the hotel will be able to accommodate six separate meetings simultaneously, and parking will not be an issue as a multi-storey parking facility with the capacity for 300 vehicles, including three stations for electronic cars will be available to guests.
Approximately 150 new jobs are being created by the investment which will bring more visitors to Kingston.
In an interview with the Jamaica Observer earlier this year, General Manager Koen Hietbrink, who has trained for the last two years with Sandals Resorts across several Caribbean islands, explained that the AC brand is all about lifestyle.
“It's about creating a platform or zone where people can come together and socialise and make plans for exploring the city, facilitating access to the Blue Mountains, Ocho Rios, the north/south highway, as well as enriching cultures and history for the city of Kingston,” he said.
To facilitate that, car rental service Enterprise Rent-A-Car, as well as award-winning attractions company Island Routes Caribbean Adventures will operate from the new hotel. “So, people will be able to make arrangements for tours and get out into the country,” Hietbrink said, adding that while he accepts that the majority of visitors to Kingston are business travellers, the hotel's operators want to explore the leisure side of the business as well. “It will add quality to the guests' experience,” he said.
The operators are also excited about the fact that the hotel will be fitted with more than 200 solar panels, energy-efficient glass, a check-in desk that caters to guests with accessible needs, 10 rooms designed to accommodate wheelchair-bound guests, and 17 rooms for guests who are hearing-impaired.