AC Hotel Clearwater Beach Review: Unbeatable Florida Location

Julie Diebolt Price Avatar

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - View from 6th Floor Guest Room of Clearwater Bay, with condos and houses lining the waterway.
View from 6th Floor Guest Room of Clearwater Bay. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The writer was hosted.

The AC Hotel Clearwater Beach, located in sunny Florida, is a haven for people who want a blend of comfort and style on the coast. This modern hotel, with its sleek European design and top-notch amenities, shows off the vibrant personality of Clearwater Beach.

Clearwater Beach, known for its powdery white sands, is a paradise for beach lovers. The AC Hotel is strategically located one block from the beach and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and Clearwater Bay.

Read More: Top Resorts on the West Coast of Florida

History of AC Hotels

Antonio Catalán founded his homeland’s first AC Hotel in Navarra, Spain. The no-frills style, modern and simple, paired with Spanish hospitality, was successful, and it grew to dozens of hotels across Spain and Italy.

After years of success and growth, AC Hotels joined Marriott International in 2011 to expand globally. The AC Hotel Marriott Clearwater Beach opened in June 2022 and subscribes to a European Modernism design.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Monument sign outside the hotel surrounded by greenery and palm trees.
AC Hotels Marriott Clearwater Beach. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Upon Arrival

At the AC Hotel, the driveway leading to the entrance goes beneath the building. There’s a glass-walled lobby on the street level for everyone to see. But remember, you’ll need your room key to enter the lower lobby area.

When you arrive, a valet welcomes you and offers to take your bags on a cart if you need a hand. They guide you to the elevator and take you up to the Front Desk on the fifth floor.

The parking garage is on the second and third floors, as they don’t have basements or underground parking on this barrier island. There is a daily valet/parking fee.

Accommodations

There are 145 guest rooms at the AC Hotel, which is on ten floors.

Hotel Amenities

  • Valet parking at ground level under the hotel
  • Bar/lounge
  • Pet friendly (with refundable and non-refundable deposits)
  • Outdoor pool – heated
  • Restaurant
  • Conference facilities
  • Meeting room (with flat-screen TV); accommodates up to ten people with a conference table and Internet access
  • Event facilities on the rooftop with stunning views
  • Couples massage
  • Massage
  • Baggage storage
  • Non-smoking hotel
  • 24-hour front desk
  • Laundry service
  • Dry cleaning
  • Free wifi
  • Fitness Center
  • Business Center with Internet access
  • Breakfast
  • Convenience store with European and local snacks
  • Rooftop bar

AC Lobby

Like being in a well-curated art gallery, the AC Lobby includes communal tables, ample plug-ins, a business center, and frictionless service.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Lobby, Business Center, and Lounge, table with monitors and chairs in the foreground, with bar and lounge area behind.
Lobby, Business Center, and Lounge. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The hub of activity is on the 5th floor, where the Front Desk and Convenience Store reside. The open design with artistic room dividers separates the bar, lounge, and communal tables. Common areas have wireless Internet access, so it’s easy to work over breakfast or have a breakfast meeting with plenty of table space.

AC Kitchen

The on-site restaurant, AC Kitchen, features a European-inspired continental breakfast with two hot choices–French Toast or Open-Faced Toast. I chose the multigrain toast, scrambled cage-free eggs, Manchego, arugula, and prosciutto.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - The European Breakfast Spread laid out with brie, manchego, cheddar, salami, proscuitto, turkey
The European Breakfast Spread – Three of Everything. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The European breakfast spread comprised three meats and three cheeses– everything in threes, which is the European way, according to General Manager Al Alsaleh. The morning I ate at the AC Kitchen, there were three cheeses–Brie, Manchego, and Cheddar, and three meats–Salami, Prosciutto, and Turkey. Each was daintily sliced, folded, or mounded, making a very appealing display. It didn’t end there, however.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Author’s Breakfast at AC Kitchen, bread, cheeses and meats on two plates  with juice and a yogurt/oatmeal parfait topped with a strawberry.
Author’s Breakfast at AC Kitchen. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Three bowls of whole fruit–oranges, apples, and bananas held their space next to the six bowls (in two groups of three, of course!) of accompaniments–seeds, brown sugar, sliced almonds, etc.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - silver spoon next to a sign reading AC Kitchen A La Carte Breakfast options, listing 2 options below.
A La Carte Breakfast Egg Options. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Let us not forget the three bowls of cold cereal selections and three types of fruit juice–apple, cranberry, and orange. Three types of bread (two loaves that you could slice yourself) were accompanied by three toppings–a red jam, an orange jam, and Nutella.

AC Lounge

The AC Lounge serves expertly-made cocktails, including the signature AC Gin Tonic, local craft beers and wines, and a menu inspired by the tapas of Spain.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Signature AC Hotels Gin Tonic Cocktail
Signature AC Hotels Gin Tonic Cocktail. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

I enjoyed the Signature Gin Tonic made with freshly stripped cucumber slices lining the snifter bowl, Hendrick’s Gin, and Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic. This sophisticated drink is served at every AC Hotel in their signature glassware.

At 5:30 p.m. daily, the bartender shares the story of Tate’s Island and a Tate Hurricane. The tart, sweet drink is made with local dark rum, pineapple rum, lime juice, orange juice, mango puree, and a little water.

The story goes like this…in 1897, Ernest Tate, a man with a very notable personality, purchased 164 acres of uninhabited wilderness known as Clearwater Beach Island. By the 1900s, the land had become known as Tate’s Island, and access was by sailboat, rowboat, or swimming. A hurricane that swept in from the Gulf of Mexico in the early 1900s frightened Mrs. Tate so severely that the Tates abandoned their homestead. Learn the full details at 5:30 p.m. in the AC Lounge.

For a light evening meal and adult beverages, the AC Lounge on the Lobby level, 5th floor, is a convenient option inside the hotel. The menu includes shareables like the Avocado Crab Boat that I ordered. Two salads, sliders, flatbreads, wraps, and sandwiches are available, along with a few sweets and some kid-approved items.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Guest Room with Workstation, bed, couch and coffee table, tv and low countertop.
Guest Room with Workstation. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

My Accommodations

My room on the 6th floor faced east and afforded me an incredible view of the Clearwater Bay and marinas. I experienced sunrises that surpassed expectations. I enjoyed working remotely in my room and at the communal table in the AC Hotel Marriott Clearwater Beach lobby.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Sunrise Over Clearwater Bay with the Moon and Venus
Sunrise Over Clearwater Bay with the Moon and Venus. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Room Amenities

  • Hairdryer
  • Sofa bed
  • Private bathroom
  • Smart TV
  • Toiletries
  • Air conditioning
  • Mini-fridge
  • Free wifi
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Balcony
  • In-room safe
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Coffee maker
  • KORRES bath amenities exclusive to AC Hotels

The European Modernism design of the bathroom was particularly pleasing. The entire bedroom, bathroom, and workstation were made up of horizontal lines. The horizontal theme carries throughout, from the white sink, white backsplash, and shower to the room’s furniture and built-ins.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Guest Room Bath, walk-in shower with glass door and long white vanity with built-in sink and towels hanging under and backlit mirror above.
Guest Room Bath. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Remote Worker Travel Trends

Nearly one out of ten workers embarked on a hush trip in the past year. In a survey of over 1,000 full-time workers, 27% said they do so to avoid using paid vacation days while away. A Hush Trip is a getaway for remote workers to refresh their minds and escape discreetly while enjoying a tropical getaway that blends leisure and work.

AC Hotel Marriott Clearwater Beach is helping employees take full advantage of remote work. I experienced the Hush Trip Haven first-hand when I was in Florida in early February.

The “Hush Trip Haven” package provides remote work guests with specific and unique amenities and services they’d require to enjoy a vacation easily, efficiently, and discreetly.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Hush Haven Welcome Package including 'I'm working "from home"" sign, eye mask, and chocolate layer cake served with strawberries and whipped cream.
Hush Haven Welcome Package. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

My package included an eye mask for rest, a custom door hanger, a webcam cover for my laptop, upgraded hydration water, a USB connector cable, and a complimentary drink voucher, which I could have used poolside. I also had access to the Media Salon for virtual meetings and technology needs, although I held an online meeting in my room. The décor didn’t give away that I was in a hotel room.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Webcam Cover shown on laptop on light wood desk, Part of the Hush Haven Package
Webcam Cover, Part of the Hush Haven Package. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Fitness Center

You might never get off the treadmill in the Fitness Center because of the stunning view overlooking Clearwater Bay. Benches, free weights, and kettlebells are just a few pieces of gear in the well-equipped center.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Fitness Center, treadmills and cycling machine in front of floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on Clearwater Bay. Free weights in a separate, adjoining space.
Fitness Center. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Pet Policy

Pets are welcome, with a maximum number of two in a room and a weight limit of 50 pounds. Refundable and non-refundable deposits are charged per day.

SheBuysTravel Tip: The number of Clearwater Beach hotels is growing. Lots of construction was going on when I was there in February. Prime beach locations are the hub of lodging, dining, and entertainment.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Clearwater Beach from Pier 60, pier with railing and tower viewer overlooking sandy beach with ocean on one side and high rises on the other.
Clearwater Beach from Pier 60. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Things To Do in Clearwater Beach

Pier 60

Pier 60 is the place to be for sunsets. Clearwater Beach is a west-facing beach, and sunset is celebrated nightly, featuring firebreathers, musicians, dancers, and street vendors hawking handicrafts.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - Pier 60 Bungee Trampoline Attraction
Pier 60 Bungee Trampoline Attraction. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

When I was in Clearwater Beach in early February, it was unseasonably cold and windy. A walk on the pier under a cloudless cerulean sky gave me a birds-eye view of the white sand beach, a bungee jumping attraction, and a sand-grooming tractor.

SheBuysTravel Tip: You must purchase a ticket in the shop next to the pedestrian gate to walk to the farthest end of the pier. It’s a nominal fee, and you get an opportunity to spend your dollars on trinkets in the souvenir store.

Clearwater Beach Marina

At the Clearwater Beach Marina, a short half-mile walk from the hotel, you can go on a dolphin experience, a pirate’s cruise, or fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium celebrated 50 years of marine life conservation and research achievements in 2022.

Daily presentations range from sea turtles, otters, sharks, and dolphins to feeding stingrays and boat tours. The self-guided audio tour, with a kid’s version and an adult version, delivers the mission of rescue, rehab, and release education and inspires the human spirit.

Sand Key Park

Open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to sunset, the Sand Key Park offers a boardwalk and nature trail, playground equipment, umbrella and cabana rentals, bathhouses and restrooms, outdoor showers, a dog park, and ocean swimming. Two beach wheelchairs are available by request to the seasonal lifeguard on duty or the park ranger during the off-season.

Less than two miles from AC Hotel, a short drive across Clearwater Pass over the Sand Key Bridge, the park has plenty of paid parking and is easily accessible. The beach is wide and deep–a long walk from the parking lot to the water.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach - two people in coats ride bikes on the beach.
Sand Key Park. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Attractions Nearby

The AC hotel is a short drive from the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg, making it a perfect base for those who want to explore further afield. Tampa has a rich cigar-making history, and St. Pete is home to the Dali Museum.

How To Get To Clearwater Beach

Drive

Interstate 75 is the primary transportation corridor from north to south Florida. Connect via Interstate 275 and go west on Highway 60 at Tampa.

Fly

Less than 20 miles east of Clearwater Beach, Tampa International Airport is the closest airport across the Gulf Coast causeway. You’re less than one hour until toes in the water.

The St. Pete/Clearwater Airport is about ten miles southeast.

Sarasota-Bradenton Airport is about 44 miles southeast.

If you are visiting Disney World in Florida, consider flying into and out of Orlando, about two hours away. Get your mouse ears before or after your visit to Clearwater.

Train

Amtrak serves the Orlando and Kissimmee stations daily. Those stations are about two hours away.

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach
395 Coronado Drive
Clearwater Beach, Florida 33767
727-441-4443

Check-in is at 4 p.m.
Check-out time is 11 a.m.

Major credit cards accepted
Currency is USD
24-hour cancellation policy

Julie Diebolt Price Avatar
Julie Diebolt Price is an award-winning professional photographer, educator, author, and travel writer. She writes about two things – photography and travel (along with a little food and beverage). Julie educates and mentors aspiring photographers. As a journalist who loves to travel, she creates memorable experiences and shares them with words and pictures.
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