Big news for visitors to downtown Raleigh—the new AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown is now open (and a rooftop bar with one the city's best views is open to both hotel guests and the public)! 

The full service, 146-room hotel—which bills itself as a "unique combination of timeless European design and comfort"—sits in the center of the city, nestled between Raleigh's booming Warehouse District and bustling Glenwood South entertainment district (and just steps away from brew sanctuary Raleigh Beer Garden, jazzy cocktail favorite C. Grace, iconic eatery 42nd St. Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill and so much more).

AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown

Photos courtesy of AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown

Opened for first bookings in Sept. of this year (with the rooftop lounge and restaurant having just opened to the public this month), the AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown is the brand's second hotel to open in Raleigh, N.C.—the AC Hotel by Marriott Raleigh North Hills opened in 2017 as the Tar Heel State's first AC Hotel. The AC Hotel brand—named for founder Antonio Catalan—has operated as a subsidiary of Marriott International since 2011 and is recognized for its stylish, modern design that often appeals to younger travelers. 

Just like the sister hotel in North Hills, the new AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown boasts a rooftop bar and lounge with quality drinks and good food (plus great views). The Willard Rooftop Lounge boasts both an indoor dining space (with a 22-seat bar) plus two cozy terraces overlooking the Raleigh skyline (think couches, a double-sided fireplace, high-top tables and plenty of outdoor heaters). Tapas-style small plates and Mediterranean-inspired larger bites (crispy shrimp shakshouka, anyone?) complement a drink menu that features a nod to the City of Oaks—a selection of cocktails aged in oak barrels are available. 

The Willard is open Mon.-Thurs., 5-10pm; Fri. and Sat., 4-11pm; and Sun., 4-9pm. Reservations are available.

The hotel also has private event space available—a total of four rooms and 2,258 square feet of meeting space can be rented for weddings and other special occasions. The largest ballroom has a capacity of 126 people for a reception. 

The AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown joins a growing number of independent and boutique-style hotels that have opened in the downtown Raleigh area in the last few years. 

Guest House Raleigh, an eight-room inn located near Transfer Co. Food Hall, opened in 2018 in a circa 1880s home that the owners saved from demolition; opened in early 2020, vintage motor lodge charm meets contemporary comfort at The Longleaf Hotel, where a patio hangout space is a favorite among locals; at Origin Raleigh, a stylish and modern full-service property offers a raved-about restaurant on site—Good Day Good Night—and sits steps away from Morgan Street Food Hall and other attractions in Raleigh's Warehouse District; and Heights House Hotel, pre-Civil-War-era mansion, was revitalized by a local husband-and-wife duo and opened as a nine-room, 10,000-square-foot masterpiece in early 2021. 

Upcoming events to book a stay for in Raleigh, N.C.

  • Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau Visionary, open through Jan. 23, 2022
  • WRAL Nights of Lights at Dorothea Dix Park, Nov. 26-Dec. 24
  • North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival-Cary, Nov. 20, 2021-Jan. 9, 2022
  • Raleigh Little Theatre presents Cinderella, Dec. 3-19
  • North Carolina Master Chorale presents Joy of the Season, Dec. 7
  • Theatre In The Park presents A Christmas Carol, Dec. 9-12
  • 50th Annual Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour, Dec. 11-12
  • Trans-Siberian Orchesta: Celebrating 25 years of Christmas Eve and Other Stories, Dec. 15
  • Carolina Ballet presents The Nutcracker, Dec. 17-24
  • WRAL First Night Raleigh 2022, Dec. 31

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