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New North Hills hotel has a minimalist, Europe-inspired approach

The AC Hotel in North Hills will open in late March.
The AC Hotel in North Hills will open in late March. miszler@newsobserver.com

North Carolina’s first AC Hotel, developed by Concord Hospitality Enterprises and Kane Realty, will open in North Hills in late March.

The 135-room hotel, which includes a rooftop lounge and terrace, a fitness center and 1,370 square feet of meeting space, is designed to appeal to the five senses, said Jason Andrews, the hotel’s general manager. Rooms and hallways are lined with textured wallpaper and tiles, scented candles are placed around the lobby and lounge, and lighting is dimmed over the course of the day. Ceiling-to-floor-length windows provide a view of outdoor shopping and dining spots in North Hills.

AC, one of Marriott’s upscale brands, is also designed to be minimalistic. Hotel rooms do not have alarm clocks or paper directories. Only one central work of art adorns each room, which is equipped with a bed, several chairs and small tables and light fixtures. The meeting space includes two small meeting rooms, a large conference room and a library.

“We wanted to edit away the unnecessary and elevate the main features,” said Michael Easton, the hotel’s assistant general manager. “It’s different from Marriott’s other brands. It’s less scripted.”

The atmosphere is casual, and guests shouldn’t feel as though they need to be dressed up when they visit, Easton said. Front desk employees will mingle with guests in the lobby, rather than remaining behind the desk, he said.

Hotel guests, as well as the general public, will be able to visit the rooftop lounge, which will serve cocktails, Spanish wine and local beer from Raleigh Brewing Company, as well as tapas.

The property, which broke ground in December 2015, is on the east side of Six Forks Road near the Captrust office tower. It is the third hotel that Concord and Kane have teamed up on at North Hills. The two companies also partnered on the Renaissance Raleigh and the Hyatt House Hotel.

The hotel is one of 30 AC Hotels opening across the United States in the next 18 months.

North Hills is experiencing a growth spurt, with more developers building hotels, offices, apartments and retail space in the area. Kane Realty expects to open The Cardinal senior-living center, the 12-story Midtown Plaza office building and Park Central, a retail center with apartments, in 2017.

Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler

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