AC Hotels by Marriott brings thought leadership series to Africa [Infographic]

by | 18 Oct 2019 | Chains, Events

The panel at South Africa’s first-ever AC Unpacked event (from L to R) Caro Jesse De Waal, Kelly Berman and Mark Noble. (Picture: Marriott)

The AC Unpacked series from AC Hotels brings together a creative class of visionaries to share global perspectives on roots and design.

AC Hotels, Marriott International’s curated lifestyle brand, has brought its global thought leadership series, AC Unpacked, to Africa.

AC Unpacked made its debut at AC Hotel Cape Town Waterfront on September 26, featuring a lively panel discussion between local experts who are shaping art and design in that city.

This South African event fits into a wider global program which was first launched in New York City last year with the goal to bring together Essentialists from around the world.

The participants then unpack a global perspective on ideas that relate to travel, experience, vision and design — all of which are founding principles of AC Hotels’ branding.

‘Roots & Design’

The topic of the talk in Cape Town was “Roots & Design.” In addition, part of the focus was on the importance of fostering and supporting local artistic talent, while at the same time bringing the burgeoning scene there to the world stage.

Moderated by renowned local food artist and photographer, Caro Jesse De Waal, with Mark Noble, developer for the V&A Waterfront and lead on the development of the Silo District, and Kelly Berman, Head of Communication of the Southern Guild gallery on the panel, the conversation unpacked the fine details South Africa’s design and creative community obsess over, and what allows them to live their purpose without disruption.

How South African talent fits into the global creative landscape

The panel also touched on how talent from South Africa fits into the global creative landscape and where artists local to Cape Town — including Southern Guild’s Stanislaw Trzebinski and William Kentridge — sit within the larger context of the world of art, design, and creative culture.

Topics touched on during the discussion included the development of the Silo District. During this precinct’s development, numerous design elements were incorporated into the building to tell the local story. An example is seen in the atrium space, which has been modelled off the shape of a grain of corn and speaks to the building’s heritage.

The panellists encouraged local artists to live their passion, emphasizing the importance of making time to grow within their field of specialization. Artists were also encouraged to submit their work to galleries such as Southern Guild.

“The AC Unpacked series aims to connect with the AC guest who looks at travel as a way to nurture relationships with people, experiences, and ideas, allowing guests to mingle with locals and hear interesting new perspectives while enjoying one of AC’s signature beverages at the end of the day,” says Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, Vice President, Premium & Select Brands, Marriott International, Middle East and Africa.

“Home to an unrivalled selection of African contemporary art, Cape Town is an ideal destination to debut the series in Africa and highlight South Africa’s role in creating inspirational moments and drive the creative expression,” Ms Schulze-Potgieter elaborated.

As a truly global brand with more than 150 properties in 22 countries and territories, further iterations of the AC Unpacked series are planned for 2019 and beyond.

Let’s have a look at Africa’s current hotel projects pipeline and the top ten countries according to the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION online database:


AC Hotels was born from the vision of Spanish hotelier Antonio Catalan - who wanted to create a new kind of stay for a new kind of traveller that prefers to have fewer things, but expects them to be better than good.


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