Sunday, June 16, 2024

The best boutique hotels in Mexico City and where to find them

I am of the unwavering opinion that Mexico City is one of the best urban sprawls in the world. There is something for everyone to do at any time of day – the capital’s museum count sits somewhere around 150, the culinary scene is bursting with flavor thanks to a slew of chic restaurants that regularly make the “World’s Best” list; there is great shopping, quaint cafes, vibrant squares, lively markets. 

The vibe here is colorful, smiles and laughter abound, street corners are a crossroads of aromatic taco stands and flower stalls. Above all, Mexico City’s vast square footage indicates a lifetime of exploration here still wouldn’t be enough.

The buzz of Mexico City is hard to beat anywhere else in the world. (toursenbici/Instagram)

But you’ve got to start somewhere.

A weekend away in Mexico City is, as they say, always a good idea. It’s true that costs are rising, compounded by an ever-strengthening peso. Despite all that, Mexico offers a benefit that most places do not. 

Value.

It’s hard to complain about prices when the value is there. The service here is so attentive that your plate is often removed before you’ve swallowed your final bite. Every hotel staff member seems to remember your name. Baristas know how you take your coffee, even if it’s only your second visit.

Nowhere is this more evident than hotel stays. For some, a hotel is a place to sleep and nothing more. For others, like yours truly, your lodging experience is the key to an unforgettable getaway. A little investment in a high quality hotel can go a long way.

Casa Emilia
The (almost) perfect city demands equally outstanding accommodation, so choose your accomodation wisely. (Casa Emilia)

Don’t let your perfectly crafted itinerary be tainted by a poor lodging choice. Browse this list of hotels that will take your weekend getaway in Mexico City from good to hands-down magical. These spots all have something unique to offer – historical significance, top-notch staff, seductive design, or optimal location – and run the gamut of pricing, from budget to luxury.

Cuauhtémoc

Am I biased in introducing this list with Colonia Cuauhtemoc? 100%. This is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Mexico City. Sitting adjacent to the graceful Torre del Angel, one would think it has already been washed out by visitors. Yet, it remains quite undiscovered. With Avenida Reforma serving as a protective barrier, Cuauhtémoc has maintained a local lifestyle while still warmly welcoming the daring tourists who cross the impressive multi-laned boulevard.

Its location is ideal – walk to Chapultepec Park in 15 minutes, Roma or Condesa in 30 minutes, Polanco in 50, and Centro in 60. It might not have the jaw-dropping facades of Roma and Condesa, but it’s a lively place where you will get the feeling that you’re actually in Mexico.

Casa Emilia Río Ebro 51 – standard room rate: US$145

Casa Pani Río Po 14 – standard room rate: US$200

Hotel Carlota Río Amazonas 73 –  standard room rate: US$150

Hotel in Mexico City
The central Cuauhtémoc district is home to some fantastic boutiques – if you dare to cross Reforma Avenue. (Hotel Carlota)

Don’t miss: Somma Wine Bar on Calle Lerma for its diverse wine list and excellent people-watching opportunities.

Roma Norte

It’s one of the most frequented sections of Mexico City and that’s because it’s simply beautiful. Roma Norte is separated from Roma Sur by Calle Coahuila and was built in the early 20th Century during the Porfiriato, resulting in its French-style facades and bountiful green parks. The area saw major damage during the 1985 earthquake but quickly regained its footing, flourishing as an aesthetic enclave of trendy restaurants, art galleries, boutique shops, and the much-appreciated recreation of a rather shapely David in Parque Rio de Janeiro.

Casa Goliana Guanajuato 199 – standard room rate: US$230

Nima Local House Colima 236 – standard room rate: US$500 

Ignacia Guest House Jalapa 208 – standard room rate: US$350

Roso Guest House Tabasco 79 – standard room rate: US$400

Colima 71 Colima 71 – standard room rate: US$375

Don’t miss: Casa Guillermo Tovar de Teresa, a gem of a museum with a romantic garden courtyard and the standard free entry expected from a Carlos Slim institution.

Hotel in CDMX
Location and chic combine to produce Colima 71, in the heart of the city. (Colima 71)

Centro Histórico

I once described Mexico City as “a chaotic mess of human existence but everyone seems to be having fun” and nowhere is this more apparent than in Centro. No matter the hour, you’ll find within its populous streets a frenzy of activity. It’s the seat of modern-day CDMX as we know it, with life spiraling outwards from two significant sites: the ruins of Templo Mayor, and the Metropolitan Cathedral which was constructed from the bricks of Templo Mayor. 

Flooding the area are sage-burning “shamans”, vendors selling colorful trinkets you’ll buy and never use, dimly-lit cantinas, museums, and optimal backdrops for a hashtag-just-another-Saturday-in-Mexico-City selfie, like La Casa de los Azulejos.

Hotel Casa de la Luz
They don’t call it the Historic Center for nothing. Soak up centuries of heritage in comfort when you choose to stay downtown. (Hotel Casa de la Luz)

Don’t miss: A pop into the Museo Archivo de la Fotografía for a dreamy photography exhibit of life in Mexico.

Polanco

It’s fancy. It’s wealthy. And while many people want to knock it, it cannot be denied that Polanco is really, really lovely. Ornate Spanish-style family homes encase a hub of award-winning restaurants, art galleries, trendy bars, and luxury shops. It’s the perfect place to casually sip on an almond milk cappuccino with a foam flower under a willowing jacaranda while wearing your Sunday’s best…on a Tuesday. 

The modest number of historical attractions in this part of town gives you the chance to see real-life locals in action. Staying here is a splurge, but if the thought of spending a weekend in the Mexican mansion of your dreams makes your heart flutter, it’s a splurge to consider.

Orchid House
As you would expect from a hotel in one of the capital’s most exclusive neighborhoods, Orchid House has a lot to offer the luxury traveler. (Orchid House Mexico City)

La Condesa

Named after Countess (La Condesa) María Magdalena Dávalos y Orosco, born in 1701, what was once an ever-expanding hacienda became the bohemian, tree-lined neighborhood we hear about so often today. Condesa is known for its leafy boulevards, abundant parks, charming cafes, boutique shops, and the famous Avenida Amsterdam that loops along Parque México and was once a horse track. 

Expect a high concentration of expats and an almost shocking abundance of English, ideal for travelers who haven’t yet mastered the Spanish language.

Stayed in all of the above and want something different? Here are a few more options to consider.

San Rafael

Hotel El patio 77
Grab yourself a bargain stay at El Patio 77, in one of Mexico’s best preserved late Victorian neighborhoods. (El Patio 77)

It was considered one of the first “modern” neighborhoods in Mexico City when its gridlike layout was brought to life in 1891. The architecture here is eclectic, with Arabic features intertwined with Mexican colors and a strong Porfiriato influence. It’s truly a step into the past and a practical base for exploring colonias like Santa Maria la Ribera and Juarez.

  • El Patio 77 Joaquin Garcia Icazbalceta 77 – standard room rate: US$90

Don’t miss: The dreamy arched alleyway inside La Privada Roja, a historical building made of red brick that houses galleries, restaurants, and apartments.

Coyoacán

Obviously, Coyoacán is famous for Frida, but it is so much more. The neighborhood is a captivating world of its own. Visit the central market, sit in the bustling squares, check out the fascinating museums, and allow yourself to get lost within its quiet, winding streets.

Don’t miss: Diego Rivera’s collection of pre-hispanic works at the Anahuacalli Museum, a collection which comes second to the design of the space itself.

Finally, Hoteles MX has various locations in CDMX which hover around US$70 per night.

Bethany Platanella is a travel planner and lifestyle writer based in Mexico City. She lives for the dopamine hit that comes directly after booking a plane ticket, exploring local markets, practicing yoga and munching on fresh tortillas. Sign up to receive her Sunday Love Letters to your inbox, peruse her blog, or follow her on Instagram.

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