This was my first stay at an AC Hotel, a Spanish chain that Marriott entered into a managing/franchising joint venture with back in 2011. Juan les Pins is located about 20 minutes from Cannes and 35 minutes from Nice. The town is much smaller than both of those cities, the restaurants more reasonable, (no reservations required at most) and the beaches less crowded. It’s the south of France without any of the glitz and glamour. I sort of loved it and when we wanted to get to either of those cities, it was a relatively easy drive with the rental car.
This is part four of a nine part trip report from my travels to the south of France.
- British Airways Terraces Lounge JFK
- British Airways Club World (Business) JFK-LHR B777-200
- British Airways Galleries Club Lounge LHR Terminal 5A
- British Airways Club Europe (Business) LHR-NCE A319
- Marriott’s AC Hotel Ambassadeur Antibes- Juan les Pins, France
- Le Méridien Nice
- Nice (NCE) Airport Lounge, Not All that Nice…
- Iberia NCE-MAD CRJ1000 Air Nostrum (Iberia Regional) Business Class
- Iberia Velázquez VIP Lounge – Madrid Terminal 4S
- Iberia “New Business Class” MAD-JFK A330-300
During the dates of our stay rates at the Hyatt and Starwood properties in Nice / Cannes were Euro 300 or more, the Marriott AC Hotel in Juan les Pins was comparably cheap at only 139 Euro or 30,000 points per night.
Reading TripAdvisor reviews, it was clear that the hotel needed an update, luckily all rooms had completed refurbishment only a few months earlier. The pool deck and lobby had also been recently renovated.
It took about 35 minutes (with no traffic) to reach the hotel from NCE airport, though it can take an hour with traffic. At check-in there was no mention of my Marriott status. I asked about elite amenities and was told that there was no welcome gift (huh?) but that free wifi and breakfast would be provided. “The hotel does not offer upgrades for Marriott members” was the response I received when asking about my room, though they compromised and gave me a pool/country view rather than the city view I had booked.
Hotel-check in and recently renovated lobby – note that the elevator closest to reception is tiny and can fit only one large suitcase!
To the room…
They did a nice job on the renovations, though a bit small, the bed was new, there was a flat screen, the room felt modern, and the bathroom was nice. I really liked my patio overlooking the pool as well.
Free breakfast- quite nice with pastries, yogurt, fruit, scrambled eggs, deli meats, cereal, and veggies:
You can eat your breakfast inside or out by the pool…
The hotel has their own beach (about a 5 minute walk), though you have to pay to use it. The hotel discount for guests makes it no cheaper than other private beaches in town. I was fine with the public beaches and used the large towels from the pool.
A word about parking – you can either self-park or valet, both are pricey. However, I found that most of the time the gate was not working and you’d have to buzz the front desk to exit the garage. Without the ticket they were usually too lazy to add the parking charge for that day, and so I ended up paying for about 50% of our parking charges.
There is a huge supermarket located adjacent to the hotel where you can stock up on water, fruit, snacks, and other supplies.
The hotel staff are not overly friendly (especially when speaking English) but they were helpful when I asked specific questions. There’s no concierge but I asked one of the front desk agents her favorite beach within an hour of the hotel. She sent me to Mandelieu la Napoule which was absolutely stunning, free, and included a beautiful drive along the coast.
Overall don’t expect many Marriott elite benefits but the rooms are renovated and comfortable and in a great location within the city. The hotel itself is “reasonably priced” and located in a quieter and less touristy city with great food and restaurants. I really did enjoy our stay in Juan les Pins…I went in with low expectations and was very pleasantly surprised.
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