See views of the AC Hotel Cincinnati North opening Feb. 2, 2016, at Liberty Center with this news outlet's behind-the-scenes look. CHELSEY LEVINGSTON and NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Unique features at AC Hotel opening at Liberty Center

This will be the first AC Hotel to open in Ohio, and the sixth nationwide, said Barry Kuhnke, general manager of the property.

Marriott International and European hotelier Antonio Catalan partnered on a joint venture and launched the brand in 2011. The hotel targets Millennial and business travelers, according to the company.

“It’s a lifestyle, European concept that has been brought over and that has a very aggressive expansion plan for the next few years in the United States,” Kuhnke said. “When people are looking for hotels, I think the Millennials will look at us first.”

The approximately $350 million Liberty Center development first opened in October at the intersection of Ohio 129, Liberty Way and Interstate 75 in Liberty Twp. Anchor tenants include department store Dillard’s, the Tristate’s largest Dick’s Sporting Goods store and movie theaters CineBistro and Cobb Liberty Luxury 15.

During a tour Tuesday, Kuhnke showed the Journal-News unique features of the hotel opening soon, including:

ROOMS WITH A VIEW

Twelve rooms on the hotel’s sixth floor have a balcony overlooking The Square at Liberty Center, one of the green spaces where events and entertainment are held. Additional rooms have window views. There are also balconies on other floor levels, including an indoor/outdoor hot tub at the swimming pool area and AC Lounge.

In addition to AC Hotel, Cobb Theatres and restaurant Kona Grill surround The Square.

SMALL PLATES

The hotel does not have a full-service, in-house restaurant. Instead, the AC Lounge features tapas-inspired small plates and AC Kitchen will serve imported croissants, Nespresso, Starbucks and more to breakfast guests, Kuhnke said.

The lounge also has local craft beers, wines and signature cocktails on tap, he said.

However, guests won’t go hungry. Located on the western end of the Liberty Center complex, the hotel is in walking distance to the center’s already-open restaurants such as Brazilian steakhouse Rodizio Grill. When Cantina Laredo opens at Liberty Center this year, it will be located next door to the hotel. Kuhnke also pointed out spaces where more restaurants could open next to the hotel as well.

URBAN LOCATION

AC Hotels by Marriott is “aggressively” expanding. Typically opened in downtown locations, like Chicago and New Orleans, the opening of an AC Hotel in a Butler County suburb is a unique twist on the brand that substitutes the feel of the big city with the walkability of Liberty Center.

Kuhnke said Liberty Center achieves a similar urban feel.

In fact, plans are for an AC Hotel to open in downtown Cincinnati at the riverfront development The Banks.

ONLINE CHECK-IN

Beginning with the hotel’s opening next month, hotel guests will receive room keys that can be tapped near the door handle to unlock their room, Kuhnke demonstrated.

But in about six months, guests will also have the option of checking-in online, and skipping the front desk, he said. Once it’s available, guests can download the Marriott app on their mobile phone, check-in and also use their phone as the room key, he said.

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