Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Kellie Jez
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I adore the AC Hotels by Marriott brand for its great overall value.
Marriott describes the brand as “Distinctively Select” with “modern designs for modern businesses” and mentions that AC Hotels by Marriott can be found in more than 175 destination cities worldwide.
I have stayed at several AC Hotels by Marriott, mostly in Spain, and have found all have been centrally located within the city with consistent good-quality and reasonably-priced food, an element of local charm, and with service that has always been friendly and efficient.
Ready to add another AC Hotel to my experience list, I selected the AC Hotel Ciutat de Palma for my November 2022 visit to Palma, Mallorca, Spain.
The hotel is indeed modern and more boutique in style and ambiance, with 5 floors, 83 guest rooms, and 1 suite. I was eager to stay at this property and particularly excited to share my experience with you.
I frequently book flights out of Chicago O’Hare (ORD) as fares can be less expensive than from Northern Michigan where I live. I normally look for fares without a predetermined destination in mind and let the best flight deals lead the way. The positioning flight to ORD from northern Michigan is about 35 minutes and easy to book, on a good day, for 7,500 to 15,000 miles with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, or United Airlines.
While not a tremendous deal when paying cash via the Chase travel portal, a Premium Economy fare on Iberia Airlines via Madrid (MAD) using Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned on my Chase Sapphire Reserve® turned out to be good value. For ~80,000 Ultimate Rewards points, I was off to Mallorca, Spain. Plus, the flights earned me 15,744 American AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points toward elite status with American Airlines.
I always check hotel availability prior to booking my flight. A good fare deal can be negated if affordable lodging isn’t available. Fortunately, there were several options.
While it’s usually a preference to book my hotel stays with points, in some cases the cash rate is a much better value. Such was the case with the AC Hotel Ciutat de Palma. For a 2-night stay, 52,000 Marriott Bonvoy points would have been required to book the room. I was able to find a flexible cash rate of €98 (~$102) per night for a total of ~€219 (~$227) with taxes and fees for the entire stay.
We value Marriott Bonvoy points at about 0.7 cents each, which means those 52,000 points are worth ~$364. Paying outright for the stay was a better deal, so I used my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, which also earned 6x points per dollar spent on the purchase. Plus, I earned the Elite Night Credits needed to push me over the threshold to qualify for Titanium Elite status, and additionally earned points for the stay.
Hot Tip: Members of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program receive the fifth night free when booking 5 consecutive award nights. For example, if an award night costs 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, a 5-night stay will cost you 80,000 points, the same as a 4-night stay. You do not have to have elite status to qualify for this benefit.
The hotel is just 11 km (~ 7 miles) from the Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI), about a 12- to 15-minute ride, so a taxi is the most efficient way to reach the hotel. I also had the option of taking the public bus, which would have cost ~$5, but would have taken nearly an hour or required changing buses. Uber, unfortunately, is illegal in Mallorca.
I opted for the taxi and paid €20 (~$21).
The hotel has a prime location in the heart of Palma, just a 3-minute walk to the water.
There is no formal driveway or covered approach for the hotel, but the area in front of it is marked for drop-off and taxi transport, making it easy to be dropped off right at the door.
While not as easy to spot during the day, at night the signage on the hotel is brightly lit.
Check-in time at the hotel is 3 p.m., with checkout time at noon. I arrived at the hotel around 2 p.m and my room was not yet ready. I was told it would be ready about 45 minutes from then, and it was.
I was offered a choice of 500 Marriott Bonvoy points or a daily €10 (~$10) food and beverage credit. I chose the €10 daily credit as the points would be worth only ~$3.50. Breakfast was not included, even with my Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status. However, my status was acknowledged and I was thanked for my loyalty. I was even greeted by the manager.
And, much to my surprise, I was upgraded to a corner suite. My surprise was due to the fact that I had requested, prior to my arrival, to use my Suite Night Awards (a benefit you can select when achieving top Marriott Bonvoy elite status) and was unsuccessful. There is just 1 suite in the hotel so I was pleased that it was mine to enjoy.
It’s also a plus to have cold water waiting at check-in.
Bikes for rent were available in the lobby area. They cost €9 (~$9) for 3 hours, €12 (~$12) for 6 hours, and €15 (~$16) for 24 hours. The rate included insurance if the bike should become damaged. And if you require a ride back to the hotel, the sponsoring company will come and pick you up.
The hotel has several private lounging spaces, including 2 major seating areas in the outdoor atrium located between the lobby and the restaurant/bar area.
The fitness center, located on the bottom floor of the hotel (-0 on the elevator), was quite compact. It was open from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
While the area was small, the fitness room was never in use during my 3 visits (to take photos and visit the adjacent restroom).
There was a healthy supply of fresh fruit, clean towels, and plenty of cold water available.
The business center was accessible 24/7, making it easy to print a required document or complete a task not easily done on a smartphone.
The hotel has 2 meeting rooms with the largest room having a capacity of 60. The hotel also has a complete supply of supporting audio/visual equipment, high-speed internet, and additional meeting support services.
Here is the largest meeting room:
On-site underground parking is located on the lower level of the hotel. There is a €22 (~$23) per day charge and parking spaces are limited. It is best to reserve in advance.
The hotel provides laundry services for a fee and can arrange babysitting services, translation services, transportation, and more.
I was modestly excited when I headed to my room — #507 — and was even more excited to find that I actually had rooms 506 and 507, which were combined to make the suite.
On the interior side of the entry door to 507, there was a full-length mirror. There was another identical entry door in the bedroom (room 506).
As I entered via 507, a bedroom and bathroom were off to the right and a separate living area and bathroom were off to the left.
Arriving in my room, I was greeted with a note from the hotel manager, his card, and a jar of chocolates.
Later in the evening, on my return from dinner, I received another welcome gift from Sofia at the front desk. I had asked her some questions earlier which evidently prompted her to follow up with a note containing additional recommendations and this offering of local specialties.
The living area was well-appointed with a sofa bed, side chair, and a dining table with 2 chairs. The space was quite large.
The coffee station, complete with a Krups coffee maker, 4 coffee pods, take-away cups, and associated condiments, was located in the living area on a side table.
There were 2 TVs in the suite, 1 located in the living area, and 1 in the bedroom. Both were in the 50-inch range and had 49 channels, of which ~5 were English-language channels.
The bedroom was spacious with plenty of open floor space to move around, and it was a totally separate room from the living area with its own entrance. There was a tiny balcony, big enough to just stand on and enjoy the view.
The king-sized bed was comfortable and each of the 4 pillows had a different firmness. Yes, I tried them all.
The right nightstand had an electrical outlet, personal lighting, and storage space.
The left nightstand was equally equipped with personal lighting, an electrical outlet, and storage space, plus a phone, notepaper and a pen, and a room service menu.
Across from the bed was a nice storage unit with drawers and a padded top for luggage. There was also a comfy sitting chair adjacent to the windows.
Additionally, there was a fully-stocked minibar.
There were 2 identical closets in the suite — 1 located in the living area and 1 in the bedroom. Each closet contained a comfy robe and slippers. The living area closet held the ironing board, iron, and a tea station, while the bedroom closet held the safe and a copy of The Book of Mormon, as is customary at Marriott properties.
My suite had 2 identical bathrooms — 1 located off the primary bedroom and 1 adjacent to the living area.
I like a full granite bathroom and this one was similar to the one I had during my last AC Hotel stay at AC Hotel Málaga Palacio.
Fully encased in granite, the shower had a shower wand that dueled as a shower head. The water pressure was excellent.
Like many hotels, this AC Hotel has transitioned to full-size amenities mounted in the shower. The Korres-branded products were nice, however, with a fresh citrus aroma.
The open vanity contained hand towels, washcloths, incidental amenities, and 2 water glasses.
A small bar of soap, lotion, tissues, and a hair dryer were provided.
Incidental amenities such as dental and vanity kits, a shower cap, and a shoe shine sponge were also provided.
Although the living area was spacious, there was no desk or formal work area. The table and chair sufficed.
The internet signal was very strong throughout the building, except not as much in the wing where my suite was located. If I stepped near or outside the door of my room, the signal was much stronger, however, so I made it work just fine. Life is, indeed, a tradeoff as I wasn’t willing to trade rooms.
With floor-to-ceiling windows, the views from the living area and from the bedroom were extraordinary.
Looking off to the left, you could see the cathedral in the distance and the harbor.
To the right, looking out of my room, I could see the port just beyond the buildings.
As nice as the view was during the day, it was even better at night. The views were the same from the living area as the bedroom.
The AC Hotel Ciutat de Palma has 1 main dining/bar area, but it’s quite expansive. In the morning, the entire area is turned into a restaurant, complete with a breakfast buffet. On weekdays, lunch was served from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and then dinner service was open from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
There was no lunch service on weekends at the time, but breakfast and dinner were served each day.
Breakfast was served in the main restaurant/bar area from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
I could enjoy my breakfast in my choice of several different spaces throughout the restaurant/bar area.
There were several choices in the cereal and yogurt section, including premixed muesli, assorted seeds/grains, dried fruits, berries, nuts, milk, and milk alternatives.
The hot dishes on offer included bacon, sausage, tomatoes, and scrambled eggs.
While there was a nice selection of meats and cheeses, the local options made it a step above. The quiches were also a tasty addition.
There was a lovely selection of bread ready to be toasted or eaten as is. It was delightfully fresh.
Individual servings of chopped fruit and fruit juices were offered.
Local cakes, pastries, cookies, and whole fresh fruits were also available at the buffet.
At lunch (1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and dinner time (7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.), the restaurant offers the same menu. I really liked the selection of mostly local specialties.
On the first night of my stay I ate at a local neighborhood restaurant versus the hotel, but the following night I couldn’t pass up the grilled octopus on the hotel restaurant menu.
The dish was served with 2 small baguettes of bread, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. It was the most expensive dish on the menu but the whole meal was just €21 (~$22), including a nice glass of Spanish Rioja wine.
The AC Lounge bar was open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and once again, whether breakfast, lunch, dinner, or bar time, the entire restaurant is open for seating. There are even electronic pagers on the tables you can use to call a server if you’re located in a remote corner of the space and can’t be seen by the server.
Since the dining and bar area was so expansive, there was always a comfortable place to sit.
Beer and wine ranged from €3.50 to €4 (~$4) and mixed drinks from €8 to €10 (~$8 to $10).
Each Friday the AC Lounge offers a special cocktail along with a local tapa (appetizer) for just €9 (~$9).
The front desk staff were incredibly knowledgeable about the area and assisted me in arranging activities and figuring out the bus routes.
Here are some highlights you also won’t want to miss in the area surrounding the hotel:
The Harborfront and Port — I could see the waterfront from the hotel and it was just a block or so away. The promenade offered lovely views, especially in the early morning and at sunset. In the evening there was a nice selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars.
Old Town Palma and the Cathedral — A visit to Palma would not be complete without exploring the Old Town and the magnificent Palma Cathedral. It took me about 20 minutes to walk there from the hotel.
Miró Museum — I am an art aficionado but you don’t have to be one to appreciate the life and talent of artist Joan Miró. The nearby museum was his residence and houses an exhibition of his art, but more impressively … his studios! Take bus #46 directly to the museum or it’s just a short taxi ride.
An Excellent Base for Excursions — Most of the tour companies have complimentary hotel pick-up at properties located in the city center, including the AC Hotel Ciutat de Palma. As an example, I had a cave exploring excursion scheduled (just $39) that was unfortunately canceled at the last minute due to not enough participants, but it included central hotel pickup for that price.
Bellver Castle — Take the hop-on/hop-off bus that stops near the hotel, the public bus (€2 or ~$2), or a quick taxi to explore this gothic-style 14th-century structure. I found the view to be one of the best in Palma.
Historic Train and Tram — I hopped on this rare 1912 narrow-gauge railway train and made a delightful escape from the city of Palma to the Mallorcan countryside. The 1-hour train journey up into the mountains from Palma to Sóller then connects to the historic tram that goes on to Port Sóller for another 20 minutes.
Dining — The AC Hotel Ciutat de Palma is located in a lively neighborhood with endless dining options, all within walking distance. I found several neighborhood eateries just steps from the hotel. The locals like to walk their dogs and stop for a beverage and/or bite, so it’s great people-watching, too.
Shopping — Don’t leave Palma without shopping for Mallorca pearls. The prices are amazing! Centre Pearls located near the cathedral was a store I really liked but there are numerous choices depending on whether you want to find unique pieces or everyday wearables.
Supermarkets — I found several mini-marts within a 5-minute walk of the hotel. A more expansive and modern supermarket is Mercadona, an 8-minute walk directly up the street when you turn right out of the hotel. Supermarkets also sell beer and wine, and some sell liquor.
Every staff member I encountered at the property was genuinely friendly, helpful, and appreciative of my business. Sergio and Sofia at the front desk were especially helpful in answering my questions, assisting me with deciding on excursions, looking up timetables/operating hours, and making suggestions for additional activities.
Although daily housekeeping is provided, I declined it during my 2-night stay. I did receive a follow-up call to ask if there was anything I needed.
I think the service I received was as good as it gets.
My stay at the AC Hotel Ciutat de Palma was uneventful (in a positive way) and very pleasant. I mean, who can complain about an apartment-sized room with an incredible view?
I would say that traveling during the shoulder season has its tradeoffs, though. On the positive side, prices were much lower, there were no crowds, and the service was great. On the negative side, attractions had limited hours, were not operating, or were canceled at the last minute due to low participation. There were things I wanted to see and do that were not available.
However, life is always a tradeoff. Finding a modern hotel under $100 a night in a central location, less than 15 minutes from the airport, with great staff and good service is a real win. It also means I may stay again at the AC Hotel Ciutat de Palma when I return to the area.
The AC Hotel Ciutat de Palma does not have a pool but has 2 nice outdoor spaces to sit and relax.
No, unfortunately, pets are not allowed in the hotel.
No, the hotel does not have an airport shuttle, but the hotel is just 11 kilometers (about 7 miles) away from the airport, so a taxi is a reasonable and efficient way to reach the hotel in less than 15 minutes. You can also use the public bus for ~€5 (~$5) which will take around an hour.
Yes. While the hotel is not waterfront, it’s just a 3-minute walk to the water.
The hotel is modern, clean, and offers good service. It’s in an excellent location with surrounding restaurants, bars, shops, and public transport.
The hotel is located close to the water and can serve as a good base for exploring Palma.
The hotel can also be affordably priced.
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