AC Marriott Forum Barcelona Review via Chase Ultimate Rewards and Connexions Loyalty

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This past November, before our simply amazing transatlantic Norwegian Epic cruse (review up soon) we had a chance to spend a few days in Barcelona before the getting on the ship. After all, you never ever want to show up in town the same day the ship departs and when talking international flights you want to arrive days before just in case flights go really wrong (since the ship will not wait for you).

We chose the AC Hotel by Marriott Barcelona Forum for a number of reasons. It looked amazing and the area up the coast from downtown was trendy, vibrant and a quick walk to the metro. We booked using my Chase Sapphire Reserve card using Ultimate Rewards points via their booking partner Connexions Loyalty.

The latter really matters because, despite trying to have our loyalty number inserted into the reservation, and presenting it at check-in, no elite status perks at all were extended thus no upgrade chance etc. (nor any points after the fact either).

Someone before me had left the paper sleeve in the “keep the lights on” slot and I may just copy this smart idea for my next hotel stay that requires this. Smart! On to our room.

Our room, with a view toward the water, was small. While the bed was comfortable, many of the other features were really lacking.

Storage was ample but you had to work your way around the bed to gain access to closets. The result was we really did not use them and just lived out of our bags for the two days in town.

The real issue for me, who likes to be able to work on my laptop a few hours each day, could not. The chairs weight a TON, literally, and were somewhat comfortable for lounging but not at all for either sitting at the odd shaped table or at the built in work desk area. This room may be artistically pleasing but functionally it is bereft. On to the bathroom.

Once again we have visually an amazing space. Modern and impressive right? How about a half door so you freeze when you shower and splash water everywhere?

I really hate half shower doors but the rest of the setup was functional, neat and clean. Let’s move on to the breakfast included in my rate (nothing free as a Marriott Gold here).

This was an expensive breakfast option so I was hoping it would be impressive and it was. Nice to start with still water, sparkling water and champagne for your cold beverage choices.

My wife and I, when traveling abroad, tend to have a hearty breakfast then skip lunch. This was perfect for that as the choices were fantastic and fresh.

This part of our hotel experience did not disappoint and despite the cost I would highly recommend this option. Another stunning part of this hotel is the pool deck – many floors above street level. Take a look.

Oh my. Talk about a pool deck with a view. My oh my was this amazing (when we could use it).

My wife and I were wanting to get some sun before spending so many days in the sun on the Epic and despite the cooler temps this was a great space to get some rays.

The city views and the sea views were equally stunning from this almost roof top pool space.

Had we not wanted to spend time in the city seeing sights I could have lived up here for most of my stay. But there was one issue. Smoking!

There was a designated smoking area but depending on how many guests were smoking the smell would pour out and if you are sensitive it will impact you. Worse was the fact that many guests smoked where they wanted to anywhere on the deck and the staff did not seem to care. Total FAIL Marriott.

One night we wrapped up in the pool towels and enjoyed an amazing light show over the sea. Just stunning.

Just inside the pool is a very nice bar area and we did enjoy some quiet time here with a glass of wine before bed. The city views at night are spectacular from this bar.

Lastly on the topic of protests about the Catalan region’s independence. There was one outside our hotel one day that blocked the street as you can see. Without in any way taking sides or making any kind of political comment – it was the cutest protest ever. The protesters came out, clapped and sang for about half an hour, then went back to work. Everyone was patient around them and the police blocked the street at both ends. I never felt unsafe during my days in Barcelona is my point.

Overall I like the hotel itself but was disappointed over the booking with Chase Ultimate Rewards and Connexions Loyalty. I have had any number of issues with the subcontract provider with my Chase credit card over the years and wish they would do their booking in-house, but clearly that is not going to happen. I get why most simply choose to transfer UR points rather that use them to book travel or hotel stays via the portal.

Have you ever stayed at the AC Hotel by Marriott Barcelona? Did you enjoy your visit and the area? – René



  1. We opted for the Cotton House by Marriott last October when we were in Barcelona after reading so many good reviews on it. It was nice but the price we paid in Marriott points wasn’t worth it. It would have been much more economical to stay where you did.

  2. The room looks very similar to the other AC Hotels I have stayed at in Europe (Bologna, Firenze, and Torino). Even when I’ve been “upgraded” in AC Hotels, the room was essentially the same. It’s not my favorite hotel brand, but for a comfortable night’s sleep it does the job.
    For our recent cruise out of Barcelona, we stayed at the Renaissance Barcelona Fira. Fantastic breakfast, and in between the airport and town – so it worked out well for us.

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