In a nutshell: I was impressed by the quality accommodations at the AC Hotel Santa Rosa Downtown, my first stay with the AC Hotel brand. However, the food could use a little help. At least the restaurant was open during COVID-19 at this brand new hotel!

After a week of work at the beginning of December, I decided to tack on an extra night to the trip to visit my sister who lives in Sonoma County. Hotels in the Santa Rosa area can be quite expensive, but I was able to find one for a reasonable rate. My one night cost $131 before taxes. Adding taxes and breakfast, the total charge came to $163.15. The stay earned 2,089 Marriott points, including the Gold elite bonus and 250 welcome points.

The hotel just opened earlier this year, which was another reason I chose it over other options. New hotels are usually excellent, and I have enjoyed every hotel I’ve stayed at that is less than a year old (I think the total there comes to 5?). This would also be my first stay with the AC Hotel brand.

AC Hotel Santa Rosa exterior

Arrival at the AC Hotel Santa Rosa

I had a long day of work on Friday and made it to Santa Rosa around 6:00 PM, parking in front of the hotel. My goal was to check-in, shower, and head to my sister’s house for the evening, returning simply to sleep. There is no dedicated parking at the AC Hotel Santa Rosa Downtown from what I can tell, but there is a public parking lot located under the elevated freeway. Since I would be there no more than 25 minutes, I just left the truck in front of the hotel in the drop-off zone. A little long, but there was enough space for a couple more cars.

The lobby at the AC Hotel Santa Rosa is small, but stylish. The simple Christmas tree was the only seasonal décor.

Check-in was quick and easy and the lady at the front desk was very friendly. I noticed a few other guests at the elevator and in the restaurant area, so it looks like they have some business during COVID-19. Everyone I saw was wearing a face covering, which is required at the property and in all other indoor spaces in Sonoma County by order of the health officer.

I hurried up to drop my bags and shower. When I returned later that night, the front door was locked. After 9:00 PM you will need your room key to enter the hotel.


Rooms at the AC Hotel Santa Rosa Downtown are compact, but very nice. A standard room features an entry area with the sink and closet, single king bed, armchair and table, and a compact desk area by the TV. Everything takes up minimal space. One thing I appreciate about very new hotels is the attention to our electronic world. There were plenty of plugs near the desk, sink, and bed. The room also included a coffee maker and mini-fridge.

AC Hotel Santa Rosa room

AC Hotel Santa Rosa bed

The bathroom design was excellent, even considering how compact it was. The sink is in the main part of the room across from the closet, while the toilet and shower area is the actual bathroom of about 20 square feet. I loved the rain style shower. Really, all I care about is the shower, and the AC Hotel Santa Rosa nailed it. Luxury bathrooms (like this one) are amazing, but I’m content with far less.

AC Hotel Santa Rosa shower

There isn’t much of a view from the hotel, but at least I was on the west side of the hotel. The east side faces the freeway, which is extremely close to the building. I didn’t notice any traffic noise in the hallway, so hopefully the rooms themselves are just as soundproof? I wouldn’t want to give it a try.


The restaurant was open for breakfast, which surprised me. I’ve only been to a handful of hotels during COVID-19, and the policies have ranged from no breakfast to a “bag” breakfast for guests. At the AC Hotel Santa Rosa you could order at the counter. The hotel provides the food to go. I didn’t think I would be able to eat inside in the restaurant area, given the current restrictions, but they seemed to have no issue with guests sitting down once they had their food.

The AC Kitchen offers several breakfast options. Marriott has the weirdest breakfast policy for elites that have the option of a breakfast benefit. However, I am only a Gold Elite and am not entitled to anything. For Platinum or Titanium elites, you will receive up to $10 per day food and beverage credit at AC Hotels.

AC Hotel Santa Rosa breakfast menu

Breakfast was okay. I ordered the English muffin sandwich with bacon, brie, and egg. It wasn’t quite as good as I hoped it would be, but it was still not a bad breakfast. Still beat coffee shop drive through before I hit the road.

Other Hotel Amenities

The AC Hotel Santa Rosa also has a small market area if you’re in need of a drink, snacks, or a few other items. Stuff is usually overpriced, but it is also nice to have on hand.

AC Hotel Santa Rosa market

I didn’t check out the small fitness center. There is no pool at the AC Hotel Santa Rosa, and given the room size, it’s not a place I would really consider for a stay with the kids.

The hotel is close to downtown Santa Rosa, a block from Railroad Square and two blocks from the Santa Rosa Plaza shopping mall. The Luther Burbank Home & Gardens are also an easy walk away. This is not an area I’ve spent a lot of time in, although I do pass through frequently and have stayed at several different hotels in the general area. You’re in the heart of Sonoma County, though, so the hotel would be a fine choice for exploring wine country. Another option, especially during COVID-19, is a drive out along the picturesque California Coast along Highway 1.

AC Hotel Santa Rosa Downtown: Final Thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the AC Hotel Santa Rosa Downtown. The property is very new, which is likely one of the reasons the rooms have such an excellent modern design, albeit quite compact. Still, you have everything you need, and this property was still serving food, even during COVID-19. If rates are similar in the future, I would definitely consider the AC Hotel Santa Rosa again, although likely not for a family stay. The last time I stayed in Santa Rosa I paid around $220 after taxes, which is more typical of what I expect to shell out for a similar property in the area.