AC Hotel by Marriott, City Quays Belfast
Lisa Steele, general manager of AC Hotel Belfast
AC Hotels by Marriott, a global lifestyle brand with properties across Europe and the US, is set to open its first Northern Ireland hotel in Belfast this April.
Heading up the hotel, which represents a £25m investment by Belfast Harbour in the City Quays site, is General Manager Lisa Steele.
The four-star hotel is the first Marriott in Northern Ireland, first AC Hotel by Marriott on the island of Ireland and the first purpose-built AC Hotel in the UK, with the AC brand currently most popular in Spain and Portugal.
It will also be the first in the group’s portfolio of 100 design-led hotels across the world to feature a destination restaurant, in Novelli at City Quays (see p13).
Steele was born into the hospitality trade, with her parents running a small hotel in Crieff, Perthshire, where she started out as a dishwasher and, failing to heed her parents’ advice to pursue another career, graduated from Strathclyde University.
Hospitality roles in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow followed and then, 14 years ago, she joined the then-new Radisson Blu in Belfast’s Gasworks as director of sales of marketing. Going on to head up the sales team at The Merchant Hotel during its major expansion, Steele then took up her first role as general manager, at Malmaison Belfast, followed by Hotel Du Vin Edinburgh.
After 18 months of commuting to Edinburgh, Steele was ready to take up a new GM role in Belfast. “I always wanted to move back to Belfast as my husband’s from here, and my extended family, and Belfast is home,” she says, citing the Marriott as a strong brand which has also attracted the director of sales and revenue manager back to Belfast from other markets.
Bookings are already coming in for the new hotel, with Steele amazed at the response from fervent Marriott enthusiasts and rewards card holders.
HOTEL TO OPEN: April 2018
OWNERSHIP: Belfast Harbour
EMPLOYEES: c. 80
ROOM NUMBERS: 188
STAR RATING: four-star
STYLE: Contemporary-luxe; the property’s modern design for modern business includes buzzing AC Lounges for locals or visitors to get work done in style or enjoy handcrafted cocktails and tapas. High-design guest rooms and public spaces feature sleek furnishings and intuitive technology features such as Media Salons and AC Libraries.
MARKET POSITIONING: AC Hotels by Marriott is an upper-moderate tier lifestyle brand elevated by design within the Marriott International, Inc. global collection of 30 brands.
GUEST PROFILE: Target market is both leisure travellers and corporate business.
USP: AC Belfast will also offer the complete complement of signature AC Hotels’ guest services, including a fitness room, library, meeting facilities and the iconic AC Lounge.
FOOD & BEVERAGE: All-day dining, with a Marriott breakfast on offer, the Novelli at City Quays restaurant serving lunch and dinner, and casual food and drink in the AC Lounge.