From the soft lobby chairs to the “white leather musk” scent that is pumped in the hallways, the new AC Hotel Minneapolis Downtown tries to appeal to all senses.

The 245-room AC Hotel, an upscale brand by Marriott, opened Friday on Hennepin Avenue across S. 4th Street from the Minneapolis Central Library.

“Everything we do, there is not only a ‘why?’ behind it but we also want to do it beautifully,” said Tiffany Zimmer, the AC’s general manager.

While many of the newest hotels that have sprung up in the Twin Cities have flaunted a Minnesota feel, the AC Hotel has a distinctive European style.

The breakfast options include cheeses, croissants and freshly cut meat. At night, staff offer tapas, or Spanish small plates, and for a limited time a German alcoholic punch called Feuerzangenbowle, which involves lighting a cone of rum-soaked sugar on fire over the drink.

The European design comes from the influence of founder Antonio Catalán, a Spanish hotelier. In 2011, Marriott formed a venture to take Catalán’s brand beyond Spain. It seeks development partners in various markets.

The Minneapolis hotel is the 10th AC in the U.S. and was developed by M.A. Mortenson Co. of Golden Valley, which will retain an ownership stake. “We believe in the site. We believe in the brand,” said Nate Gundrum, director of real estate development for Mortenson, which also built the nearby library.

It took about 15 months to build the 140,000 square-foot, nine-story Minneapolis hotel in an area that was previously surface parking. The hotel is operated by Sage Hospitality.

Stahl Construction is developing another AC Hotel in Bloomington near the Mall of America, with plans to open in January. There are plans to build an AC in St. Louis Park.

The downtown AC is connected to the skyway system and the Midtown Parking Garage. Even though it is select-service, the hotel has a fitness center and several meeting rooms. The guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and walk-in showers.


Twitter: @nicolenorfleet