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Mexico CityApril 4, 2011 By: Andrew Conway Travel Agent
|Getting around historic Mexico City is convenient and inexpensive.|
Mexico City is vast and complex, but also warmly welcoming. It’s a vibrant and colorful mosaic of ancient culture, fabulous food and passionate people. Where to start? We tapped Mexico City specialist Ben Gritzewsky, of Frosch, to guide us around the city.
This is the historical heart of Mexico City, home to the grand Plaza de la Constitution, Palacio Nacional, and Catedral Metropolitana. Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico is Gritzewsky’s top choice: “Romantic rooms, stunning Tiffany stained-glass ceiling illuminating the Art Nouveau atrium, and a beautiful top-floor restaurant overlooking the Zocalo,” he says. Tip: The third-floor Executive Junior and Master suites have balconies and the best plaza views. Agents can contact Reservations Manager Daniel Gonzales for bookings. Gritzewsky also recommends Holiday Inn Zocalo: “The rooms are small but economical and comfortable, and the rooftop terrace is great for drinks and a snack.” Tip: Dine at Casa de las Sirenas, set in a 16th-century building behind the cathedral with an outdoor terrace and extensive tequila selection.
Around Alameda Central Park, Gritzewsky’s top place to stay is Hotel de Cortes, a former monastery converted into a boutique hotel and renovated recently in modern Mexican minimalist style. Most rooms look to the inner stone courtyard. Opt for a Junior Deluxe Suite with a separate living area. Note: The rooftop terrace is great for cocktails, but it gets noisy with music late into the evening on some nights. Cecilia Valverde is the sales manager.
Gritzewsky also suggests Fiesta Inn Parque Alameda and Hilton Reforma as cheaper options. Dine at Los Girasoles on charming Plaza Tolsa, the historical Cafe de Tacuba, and Sanborns Casa de Azulejos set in another colonial palace. Note: Museums in the area include the must-see Palace of Fine Arts, National Art Museum, San Carlos Museum, Franz Mayer Museum and the new Museo de Arte Popular.
Classic statues, grand monuments, shopping, restaurants and nightlife are the cornerstones of these neighboring uptown areas. Gritzewsky recommends The St. Regis Mexico City and its Diana restaurant and bar: “Sleek, spectacular and state-of-the-art in every way, the best hotel in town,” he says. Opt for one of the 22 Grand Deluxe Rooms on the 12th and 14th floors for panoramic views of the city. Contact Director of Sales and Marketing Tiago Sarmento. Dine at El Tizoncito for excellent tacos; Fonda del Refugio is always popular.
“These two leafy neighborhoods are full of Art Deco and Art Nouveau houses and apartments,” says Gritzewsky, “as well as cutting-edge urban architecture, lots of galleries, boutiques, sidewalk cafes, and some of the city’s most pleasant parks.” His top hotel choice: Condesa DF, a stylish and contemporary reinvention of an early 20th-century mansion with 40 rooms and suites. Rooms on the third floor have the best views of neighboring Espana Park. There’s an atrium restaurant, and a sexy rooftop lounge serving cocktails and sushi. Contact Director of Sales Nacho Zuloaga.
Gritzewsky also recommends Hotel La Casona, a small and charming hotel filled with antiques, and designed on a literary/musical theme. No suites, but room #18 has a balcony and room #23 is light and spacious. Contact Sales Manager Teresa Velez.
Las Alcobas is Gritzewsky’s favorite Mexico City hotel: “Chic, posh and high-tech, but also cozy and friendly,” he says. The 35 stylish rooms and suites are custom-designed (viva Yabu Pushelberg!) and the suites have wraparound terraces with unobstructed city views. Don’t miss dining in the new Dulce Patria restaurant by celebrity chef Martha Ortiz. Contact Director of Sales and Marketing Mara Franco.
Gritzewsky also recommends the classic Hotel Habita and JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City, whose “corner rooms have floor-to-ceiling views of the polo field and park.” Dine at Pujol by star chef, Enrique Olvera, and D.O., an excellent Spanish tapas y tinto restaurant by Chef Pablo San Roman. Chapultepec Park is home to such museums as the must-see National Museum of Anthropology.
Stay at the modern 14-floor Camino Real Pedregal and visit Frida Kahlo’s iconic blue house, and the twin home-studio she shared with Diego Rivera. Don’t miss the Leon Trotsky house-museum where the Russian revolutionary was murdered in 1940, Dolores Olmedo Museum, and the astonishing Museo Anahuacalli, designed as an Aztec temple by Rivera to house his huge collection of pre-Columbian ceramics. The Bazar Sabado sells crafts from all over Mexico.
“This area reminds me of La Defense in Paris,” says Gritzewsky, “a high-tech suburb of contemporary architecture, residential towers, upscale malls and lots of hot new restaurants.”
Gritzewsky’s pick is the funky new Hotel Distrito Capital with guestrooms on the 25th to 28th floors of a tower. Opt for a corner suite with a bathtub overlooking the city. Contact Sales Manager Karla Jiminez. Dine at XAAC, a Basque/Mayan fusion restaurant.
|High-tech yet cozy, Las Alcobas is Mexico City’s current hot hotel.|