Damir Lukić, General Manager AC Hotel by Marriott Split : AC by Marriott – luxury and design of the highest level

At the hotel, each moment is designed to create a flawless guest experience.

The Marriott Group is a global leader in hospitality present in 141 countries with 8,900 hotels across more than 30 different hotel brands. AC Hotel is Marriott’s new brand in the Croatian market, and we hope that our hotel will be the first of many in Croatia, says Damir Lukić, General Manager of AC Hotel by Marriott Split, for Diplomacy&Commerce, Focus on Travel. In today’s hospitality industry, everything is in the details, so AC Hotels as a brand places a strong emphasis on interior design, as we discussed earlier, Mr. Lukić adds.

  1. Since the beginning of May, you have been in the position of GM at AC Hotel by Marriott Split. You have extensive business experience, but what guided you and what was crucial in making the decision when you took on this new role, considering all the challenges already anticipated with AC Hotel by Marriott Split?

The fact that AC Hotel by Marriott Split is part of the renowned Marriott hotel chain and also the first AC Hotel by Marriott in Croatia carried weight in making the decision. Additionally, the hotel is an integral part of Dalmatia Tower, one of the most significant architectural projects in recent Croatian history, winner of international awards like the European Property Award for best commercial high-rise architecture and the International Property Award for best development project. It is also officially the tallest building in Croatia at a total height of 135 meters. Looking at the market position, I believe Split, as one of the few destinations in Croatia, still has significant room for development and capacity growth in the high-quality hotel accommodation segment, and in that sense, further positioning as a high-quality year-round destination.

  1. Many agree that the opening of the hotel was a true spectacle that Croatia has not seen before. Now that the impressions have settled, how would you describe the whole event, and what are you most proud of?

The grand opening was indeed spectacular. At the same time, it was an extremely demanding project in terms of organization and logistics, as the entire program took place on four different floors with strict time frames and involved more than 700 guests. The guest list included the Deputy Prime Minister, the American Ambassador, ministers, state secretaries, and numerous other guests from public and business life. It required exceptional coordination of the entire team to ensure everything was carried out at the highest level. I am most proud of how our team responded to all the challenges. Essentially, I took over the hotel just six days before the grand opening and didn’t even have time to properly get to know my team, but everything was done in an extremely professional manner, which I never doubted given the amount of experience and mutual synergy we have within the team.

  1. The AC Hotel by Marriott Split is located in the tallest building in Croatia, which is a unique feature in itself as it offers users The Perfectly Precise Hotel experience. What exactly does that mean and what else makes the hotel special and different from the competition?

This is a hotel brand that emphasizes elegant, purposeful design. At the AC by Marriott Hotel, every moment is designed to create an impeccable guest experience. The hotel has custom-designed signature spaces that achieve a perfect balance of form and function. Each hotel room and public space exudes a special sophistication with elegant furniture, selected artworks, and intuitive technology. The AC Kitchen offers a European-inspired breakfast every morning, and the AC Lounge provides guests with specially crafted signature cocktails and curated snacks. The brand is dedicated to the details that are most important to guests during their travels, all with the mission of providing The Perfectly Precise Hotel experience.

  1. You are part of the Marriott chain. How does this entail certain standards and rules that make you unique, from appearance to service?

The entire operational business is governed by standards that define everything from the design of the entire hotel, the appearance of uniforms, presentation, communication methods, and guest services, among other aspects. Adherence to these standards is continuously monitored, including visits from mystery guests who reveal themselves only at the end of their stay and then review their observations and the scores achieved with us. Hotels that do not comply with the standards and do not achieve the required number of points may lose the right to use the brand. Marriott is very strict in this regard and does not want to jeopardize the quality guarantee they communicate to guests.


  1. In your opinion, how has the AC Hotel raised standards in the hotel industry in Croatia and how significant is it for the improvement of tourism in Dalmatia or even more broadly?

The presence of international hotel brands is always good and positive news for any destination because it sends a clear signal to the local community, guests, and potential investors. International brands conduct thorough market and potential destination analyses, as well as assessments of the legal and regulatory frameworks and the general business climate before entering a market or a specific destination. These are globally recognizable hotels, and every guest knows exactly what to expect from such a hotel in advance. Specifically, Marriott has the largest hotel loyalty program in the world with over 200 million members who intentionally stay at Marriott hotels worldwide, thus earning additional benefits. This represents a huge market potential for any destination.


  1. Details make a difference – how important do you consider them to be, and how much do they contribute to the uniqueness of the offer, from interior design to other details such as pictures, artworks, serving style, and staff? How important do you think it is to pay attention to these aspects?

Today, it is no longer enough to just meet the expectations of guests; it is necessary to exceed them and create special and unforgettable moments that will remain in their lasting memory. In this business, we do not only represent our hotel, but also our city and our country. It is through the interactions that the guests have in the hotel with our staff that they form an impression of our people, our city, and our country in general. This is a great responsibility that we carry and something I often emphasize, especially to new and less experienced colleagues. Therefore, we are immensely proud of the fact that the vast majority of our employees are locals, residents of Split and the Split-Dalmatia County, because who can better convey local experiences and tell stories about our culture and history than local people.

  1. How would you rate the hotel’s performance and occupancy so far, and what are the forecasts for the current season? Besides the summer season, you are also there for various activities throughout the year, from business tourism to event organization…

The hotel is in its first full year of operation, and every hotel must go through this process of market positioning. Being part of an international brand makes this somewhat easier and faster. We have recorded excellent results in the first half of the year and look with great optimism towards the rest of the season as well as the winter months. We are practically sold out for New Year’s Eve, and an intense conference season awaits us starting in September and continuing throughout the winter.

As a hotel, we are fully aware of our position and role in this city, and we want to actively collaborate with all stakeholders, both from the private and public sectors, to further position Split as a high-quality, but above all, sustainable year-round destination.

We actively support numerous projects such as the Youth Sports Games, SOS Children’s Village Croatia, and similar initiatives. We also have many other initiatives and programs in preparation or nearing realization through which we aim to contribute through socially responsible business practices.