I have to admit, I didn’t realize there was an American Vancouver.
But, situated just 6 miles north of Portland, Oregon, the small but mighty city of Vancouver WA (the original Vancouver!) has been making a name for itself as a PNW destination. In fact – it was even voted by the NY Post as one of the most hipster cities in the country, beating out Portland by a landslide! You don’t need to choose between the two when visiting the area – Vancouver is actually, weirdly enough, a part of the metro Portland area and both cities are accessed by flying into PDX. But, you could easily fill a whole weekend in this compact Washington city alone.
Wondering where to stay in Vancouver WA? Up until recently, lodging in Vancouver WA was a bit limited, especially for business travelers or design-conscious hotel seekers. That is, until the AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront entered the scene.
If you’re seeking one of the best places to stay in Vancouver, Washington, read on for my full review of the brand new AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront!
Location: Vancouver Washington Waterfront
Perched on the north side of the Columbia River, Vancouver is a mid-sized city and the fourth-largest in Washington with a population just shy of 190,000. Culturally akin to Portland on a smaller scale, the two cities are connected by the Interstate 5 Bridge and sit just 6 miles (or a short 15-minute drive without traffic) apart.
But despite their proximity and similarities, there are so many things to do in Vancouver Washington that make this city a worthwhile destination in its own right. From a walkable downtown area filled with breweries and wineries, to its location as the gateway for all kinds of outdoor adventures up and down the Columbia River Gorge, I found Vancouver to be a perfect home base for a long weekend of exploring.
The AC Hotel is located on the Vancouver Waterfront, a rapidly growing community attraction filled with wineries and restaurants adjacent to a waterfront recreation trail. It is without a doubt one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Vancouver.
Within walking distance of the property, you’ll find at least 8 different wine tasting rooms on the waterfront alone, and tons of breweries, coffee shops, and restaurants in the immediate downtown area. My favorites were Valo Cellars, Loowit Brewing, Niche Wine Bar, and Kafiex Roasters.
The AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront Property
The highly anticipated AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront, part of the global AC Hotels by Marriott portfolio, opened its doors to the public in June 2022. In my experience, AC Hotels are sleek, minimal, design-focused hotels that strike a balance between creating a familiar experience no matter where you are in the world, and pulling in local influences that make you feel a distinctive sense of place. My first time staying in an AC Hotel was in Grand Rapids, MI, and I felt that familiarity immediately upon stepping into the AC Hotel in Vancouver WA.
Regarded locally as the first modern hotel to hit the Waterfront, the sophisticated AC Hotel proudly boasts its unbeatable location by making the Columbia River the star of the show. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby, patio seating at the onsite restaurant, waterfront room views, and a sweeping eco terrace on the 4th floor give guests limitless opportunities to take in the views. For those traveling to Vancouver on business, the hotel also has a stunning 11,500 sq-ft meeting space / event venue on the 7th floor, again complete with floor-to-ceiling windows throughout. I was fortunate to have beautifully clear, sunny weather my entire weekend in Vancouver, and the sunsets from the AC Hotel were unbelievable each night.
In addition to its breathtaking location, the AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront is a LEED-certified hotel, meaning it was designed with eco-conscious principles in mind. Onsite, you’ll find a bar, restaurant, fitness center, and a state-of-the-art Vancouver Wellness Studio (coming soon) complete with a spa.
The AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront Rooms
The AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront offers 150 guest rooms ranging from straightforward yet sleek King, 2 Queen, and King + Sofa Bed rooms to river view suites with balconies. For the best experience, I highly recommend booking a river view room!
All rooms are appointed with a dedicated workspace, fast Wi-Fi, a seating area, and smart TV. Their suites feature an additional dining / lounge space and a balcony which is a nice touch for people-watching on the Waterfront, admiring boats and jetskis, and watching planes pass to and from PDX from the comfort of your room.
I stayed in a King guest room as well as a Suite during my stay at the AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront, both of which you’ll see in these photos!
While all rooms are equipped with coffee makers and standard toiletries, if you need any additional supplies (towels, toothpaste, lotion, coffee creamer, etc), you can have them delivered by the hotel’s very own robot butler, Tug! All you do is scan a QR code, request your items via your phone, and wait for a text letting you know Tug’s at the door 🙂 Tug was a fun surprise and I may or may not have ordered things I didn’t need just to get him to come visit.
The AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront Room Options:
You’ll find three different room types, ranging from standard King guest rooms to King suites at the AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront:
- 1 King or 2 Queen Guest Rooms
- 1 King + Sofa Bed Guest Rooms
- 1 King Corner Room Suites
You can compare all room options, pricing, and availability based on your Vancouver WA travel dates using this link.
Food and Drink at The AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront
The AC Hotel in Vancouver, Washington is home to the AC Kitchen and AC Lounge.
The AC Kitchen is a breakfast option for guests, serving European-style breakfasts with a buffet spread of pastries, meats, cheeses, and yogurts along with the option of hot items like omelets and toasts. Breakfast is available to guests for $18 per person.
The AC Lounge is the hotel’s onsite restaurant and bar. Open to both guests and locals alike, this concept focuses on locally sourced dishes with global, Spanish-Med influences, complete with a killer cocktail menu to top it off. We met with the Executive Chef, Tanner, during our stay, and he proudly, detailedly walked us through each dish on the current seasonal menu as if they were one of his beloved pups (he has 5, and showed us pics!). If you, like me, might have had any pre-inclinations that a global brand like Marriott might have a more simple, standardized menu, you can leave those concerns at the door. I was pleasantly surprised with the creative flavors and deliciousness of the food. The Signature AC Hotel GinTonic’s didn’t hurt, either.
Tips to Know Before You Go
1. HOW TO GET AROUND IN VANCOUVER, WA
For those road tripping to Vancouver, you’ll find that the city is just a short drive from Portland, and a 3-hour drive from Seattle. On-site parking is available at the AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront for $25/night.
If you’re flying into the Portland International Airport (PDX), getting to Vancouver takes just 15 minutes by car. You can call an Uber or Lyft easily from the airport, or you can rent a car at the airport and drive it across the bridge to Washington without any issue. I would recommend renting a car at PDX versus looking for a rental car agency in Clark County, WA, as I found most rental car companies on the Washington side were either closed on the weekends or too far to walk to without public transportation.
If you don’t plan on renting a car for your trip to Vancouver, you’ll need to know that ride-share services aren’t readily available in the city. To get back to the airport once your stay is done, I recommend scheduling your ride ahead of time so you can guarantee you’ll have a car – most Uber and Lyft drivers will be coming from the Portland side of the bridge.
Fortunately, what makes the new AC Hotel one of the best places to stay in Vancouver is its central location. While Vancouver doesn’t really have many public transit options outside of the C-Tran bus, the downtown and Waterfront areas are super walkable and you’ll find tons of things to do.
Haven’t rented a car for your trip yet? Use this link to compare pricing and availability on Kayak.
2. WHAT IS THERE TO DO NEAR THE WATERFRONT IN VANCOUVER?
Some of the best things to do in Vancouver WA include:
- Stroll the Vancouver Waterfront trail, and check out the views from the cable pier
- Sample one of Vancouver WA’s downtown wineries and tasting rooms, like Valo Cellars
- Or, check out a Vancouver WA brewery, like Loowit Brewing (fun fact: Vancouver’s nickname is Brewcouver)
- Wander along the Vancouver Waterfront Renaissance Trail and visit Fort Vancouver
- Go shopping downtown (60% of storefronts are female-owned)
- In the warmer months, check out the Vancouver Farmers Market at Esther Short Park
- Explore the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, a short 45-minute drive from Vancouver that’s absolutely stunning. For hikers, check out Beacon Rock ($10 Discovery Pass fee required to hike)
4. VISITING VANCOUVER WA FOR WORK?
The AC Hotel brand is known for its high standard of business travel friendly amenities. The entire property features fast, free Wi-Fi, and all rooms are equipped with dedicated workspaces. In the lobby, you’ll find tons of cozy nooks to work from, including designated coworking desks with charging stations.
Just 0.3 miles up the road, you’ll also find the Hilton Vancouver Washington and Vancouver Convention Center as well.
Ready to pack your bags? Book your stay at the AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront here.