Review: AC Bella Sky Marriott, Copenhagen, Denmark

I stayed here for a week while on a business trip. Our office was near the airport and this hotel was just a short cab ride away.

When approaching the hotel, the first thing you notice is the unusual design of the exterior. While there’s a lot of unusual modern-design buildings in Copenhagen not everyone likes them. One night when we were returning from the city center and told our cabby the name of the hotel, he paused and said “Oh, the ugly one”! Whether you like it or not, it is certainly distinctive.

AC Bella Sky Marriott

Airport Shuttle

This hotel shares an airport shuttle with the Intercontinental, which is just on the other side of the highway. It costs 15 DKK (about 2 EUR) and the charge is billed to your room. The shuttle stop is on the first traffic island outside Terminal 2. As my flight landed in T3 I was easily able to follow the Hotel Shuttle signs to T2 but once I reached T2, the signs disappeared. Having arrived on an early morning flight I was fortunate that there was not a lot of traffic and once the shuttle arrived it was easy to spot. As a side note, when reviewing your room charges, be sure you’ve been charged for the *airport* shuttle and not the *cruise* shuttle as there is a significant price difference.

Hotel Exterior and Location

As mentioned earlier, this hotel is easy to reach from the airport though not particularly close to downtown. However there were always a number of taxis parked right outside the front door and the closest metro stop is a short walk away. From there it’s just a 5-stop ride into the city center. It’s a 24 DKK/~$3.5 USD ticket each way for the two zone trip to the city center.

When it opened in 2011, the hotel was part of the AC Hotel group. AC Hotels were brought into the Marriott portfolio in 2014. It’s the largest hotel in Scandinavia with 814 rooms over 23 floors. It sits next to the Bella Convention and Congress Center. Its two distinctive towers are each angled at 15° which gives better visibility to those with rooms facing the center since the towers “lean” away from each other.

Check-in

My flight landed around 7:30 AM and after waiting for luggage and the shuttle it was probably around 9 AM when I reached the hotel. At that time of the morning there were still people checking out. There was one person at the elite counter ahead of me but the other lines moved faster and I ended up walking up to one of the other desks. No mention was made of my Gold status nor was I offered any kind of welcome amenity or any mention of an upgrade. I did learn it was fashion week and there were some of my co-workers who ended up staying elsewhere because there were no more rooms available. (After researching the Marriott website it appears that only Platinum and Titanium members get a welcome gift. Since I achieved Gold status by spend on the old SPG card and can no longer earn status through spend, I’ll be canceling my Amex Marriott card and sticking with my Chase Marriott card.) The only indication I had that they even knew I had any elite status was the key card sleeve said “welcome back” and made mention of elite status.

The lobby was fairly spacious. The front desk was off to the left. In the center was a staircase to the first floor where the Basalt restaurant and the buffet breakfast area were. On the right side was a seating area and a small store. Toward the back was the bar and The Library restaurant. To reach the elevators head back to The Library and turn right.

AC Bella Sky Front Desk

AC Bella Sky Shop

If your room is in Tower One, just use the elevators by The Library. If your room is in Tower Two, take the elevator to the first floor, cross over the common area that straddles the road that runs between the two towers and catch the Tower Two elevator.

AC Bella Sky First Floor Walkway

AC Bella Sky First Floor Seating

Queen Room

I was assigned room 1210. Though I thought my profile indicated I preferred rooms away from the elevator, mine turned out to be the first one outside the elevator lobby. Fortunately noise was not an issue despite how full the hotel was.

AC Bella Sky Guest Floor Hallway

AC Bella Sky Room 1210

The elevator lobby lights were motion sensitive and several mornings when I stepped out into the hall I’d see them flicker on. They never truly went dark but it’s a good money-saving effort.

AC Bella Sky Guest Floor Elevator Lobby

I know hotel rooms are smaller in Europe but even considering that this one was quite small. However, it had a Danish modern feel to it that I mostly liked. The floors were light-colored wood while the bed’s pedestal and the walls around the bathroom were dark wood. The rest of the walls were white, which helped make it feel larger.

AC Bella Sky Marriott Room Entrance. The one drawer was in the low cabinet beneath the coat hangers.

The room featured a short hallway with the bath off to the left and the closets and storage area on the right.

One of my biggest complaints about the hotel is a lack of storage space. The closet also held the ironing board and that meant that 5-6 hangers (which were really nice quality) was about all I could get in there without squishing my clothes together.

AC Bella Sky Closet Interior

There was no sort of luggage rack and since the bed was pedestal-style, there was nowhere to leave an open suitcase except out in the open. I ended up utilizing the one drawer as best I could and just stood the suitcase up in the corner of the room.

Beside the closet were two cabinets. The upper one had the coffee and tea station. I think the only time I opened it was for this photo.

Below that was a cabinet with the safe and the empty mini-fridge.

The queen bed was quite comfortable and I slept very well. Often when only a duvet is provided I will get quite warm but I was able to turn the air conditioning all the way down at night and that kept me cool enough. While there was a single electrical outlet on each side of the bed, there were no USB ports anywhere in the room.

AC Bella Sky Queen Bed

The windows are an unusual shape for most of the standard rooms in that they’re either an A-shape (minus the crossbar) or a V-shape. Mine was A-shaped and offered a view of the bus parking area and the dumpsters. I tried to look across in the distance instead of looking down.

AC Bella Sky View from 1210

The room doesn’t have traditional curtains. Instead there are two switches on the wall near the window. One operates the shears and the other the “blackout” curtain. In early August the sun rises shortly after 5 AM and light easily leaked in at the top and on the side near the window (the window was off-center). It generally didn’t bother me and actually helped me to wake up early which was good since this was a business trip – but might not be so good if I had been on vacation!

Across from the bed was a wall-mounted TV and the desk. There were several outlets near the desk but they were all on the floor under it, which meant you’d have to crawl under the desk to plug/unplug things.  I did turn the TV on but there were only 2-3 English-speaking channels (this despite how well many Danes speak the language) and it was mostly news so I never turned it back on.

AC Bella Sky Desk and TV

I did appreciate the efficiency of the waste basket.  It was actually divided into three sections: one for paper, one for plastic and one for actual trash.

The bathroom was so small that there was actually no built-in storage area. There was a 2-shelf rolling cart that fit underneath the sink. The bottom shelf contained extra towels, washcloths and toilet paper while the upper shelf contained a number of packets for items like a shower cap, tissues, a sewing kit, a toothbrush/toothpaste kit, etc. and a couple of glasses. I ended up just placing my Dopp kit on top of these packets. The sink had a large curving spigot that dropped the water into the center of the basin. This is fine for washing your hands but if you’re doing anything like brushing your teeth or washing your face, you’ll be lucky not to smack your nose on it. The toilet was just beside the sink and these were opposite the shower stall.

AC Bella Sky Toilet and Sink

Extra toiletry items

Once again the European glass partition design trumps common sense. This partition was probably about 55-60% of the length of the shower stall. Bump that up to 75-80% and it would make a lot more sense, though I admit that with a stall this small it might be difficult to get in and out, much less for the housekeeping staff to clean. There was both a rainfall showerhead and a handheld nozzle. Neither were adjustable to give me the strong spray I prefer. At least with the rainfall shower I could do a better job of keeping the moisture inside the stall and not out on the bath mat.

The towels were nice and large though not super-soft. No robe or slippers was provided. There’s no outlet for the hair dryer in the bathroom so I – and many of my colleagues as it turned out – used the outlet on the window side of the bed. The hair dryer is stored in the single drawer in the room. The most annoying part is that there’s a button that must be held down the entire time the dryer is in use.

The toiletries bore the AC Hotels brand. Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and lotion were provided.

AC Bella Sky Toiletries

Housekeeping was a mixed bag. I tried to just change out my towels every other day but one day they took the (soaked) bath mat and didn’t replace it. It took two calls over two days to get that corrected.

Gym

The gym area is open 24/7 and is located on the ground floor of Tower Two. To reach it from the guest rooms, take the elevator down to the first floor and walk past the Tower Two elevators, through the business center, down the stairs and then back beside the stairs toward the back of the building. You’ll need your key card to access it. Passing through the first set of doors will put you into the spa reception area. It was closed each time I happened to be there. Passing through the second set of doors take you into the fitness center.

AC Bella Sky Business Center

The floors are quite red in this area which makes it quite distinctive. There are quite a few cardio machines of various types, some dumbbells and a cable machine that is geared toward pulling up and pulling down motions. There were no leg machines at all. There was a fitness ball available.

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Towels and water were provided as well. Locker rooms were available in the gym area as well.

AC Bella Sky Gym Towels and Water

There was a hot tub and there was a changing room specifically for that. I never saw anyone in it.

Restaurants

The hotel offers four restaurants. The BM Restaurant is the site of the breakfast buffet and is not in use the rest of the day. Next to it is the Basalt restaurant which we were not able to try. We were going to have dessert there one night but it was going to be a 45-60 minute wait. We overheard a prospective patron being told that it was a 100-seat restaurant in a hotel with 1200 guests and that they were constantly full. The guest was livid that there was nowhere for her to eat without a significant wait. It’s a shame they can’t open up the BM Restaurant for additional evening dining. The Sukiaba restaurant is up on the 23rd floor. Be careful when you get on the elevator as only three of them go all the way up. This is an Asian-fusion restaurant that serves their meals tapas style. While we enjoyed our food for the most part their desserts did not intrigue us, hence our attempted visit to Basalt. The views, however, were lovely. The Library, or AC Lounge, really only had limited bar food and was the only restaurant open on Sunday night. There were two entree choices and I’m told this is the same limited menu that was available for room service.

AC Bella Sky Bar

In the end

This was the right hotel for us based on the location we needed to be to conduct our business but it’s not necessarily somewhere I’d want to stay as a tourist. The handy metro stop made it easy to get into the city center for dinner or on the days we had to sightsee. Having the convention center next door would, I imagine, mean that the hotel is almost always busy so if this is where you want to stay, I’d reserve a room as far in advance as is practicable.

Categories: Denmark, Europe, Hotel, Lodging Review, Marriott | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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