The spirit of this eccentric city has blossomed over the last 5 years, with a new wave of local business owners, innovators and Mexican entrepreneurial attitude introducing an irresistible culinary scene, incredible art culture and impressive architectural design, putting one of Central America’s oldest city’s firmly back on the map. Nowadays, the city mixes Aztec ruins with Michelin-star finesse, dotted with many churches, a mighty cathedral, civic palaces and grand plazas. If that wasn’t enough, the thriving nightlife will keep you out from dusk to dawn, whilst the mix of museums and galleries on offer will educate you during the sunshine hours.
Where To Stay
Condesa DF, Mexico City
Concept: Tucked between historic buildings and tree-lined roads in Mexico City’s trendy Condesa neighbourhood, this stylish hotel, placed in the heart of the city, fuses the spirit of its bohemian surroundings with a playful yet simple design aesthetic. With 40 rooms and suites, all inspired to be simple yet complimented by an abundance of luxury amenities, the hotel really epitomises the ‘laid-back lux’ approach to life. Attractively designed in moss green, cream, and chocolate brown tones, accompanied by retro lamps, indigenous touches and hand woven rugs, each room features an iPods programmed with lounge music and soft lighting with dimmers. The result is calming, airy spaces, some of which open onto wooden terraces, highlighting stunning views across the cityscape. There are two restaurants onsite; El Patio offering delicious Mexican-French fusion fare and The Terrace, sharing scrumptious sushi, a health bar and stunning sights over the nearby Espana Park.
Details: Found in a gorgeous 1928 building, the Condesa DF is filled from head to toe with custom furniture (designed by Parisian designer India Mahdavi), stone tiles, and an abundance of local colour. The feel is modern yet warm, hip but not haughty. According to the design guru, the idea at Condesa DF was to reinterpret the work of revered Mexican architect Luis Barragán, creating tranquil and restful monk-like lodgings. Simultaneously donning the neo-classical and the geometric, the building exterior is eclectic yet harmonious whilst the interior offers a retro Mexican and European personality that speaks to all who visit. Donned as Mexico City’s coolest corner, check in to Condesa DF and experience the neighbourhood’s nightlife, boutique shopping scene, and creative outlets.
Hotel Habita, Mexico City
Concept: Minimalist and modern, this city-chic retreat takes a pared-down approach to luxury with all-white interiors and a pool that is sure to make all visitors swoon. Offering 36 rooms and suites ranging from the 22-square-meter Superior Queen to the 44-square-meter Deluxe King, Habita has a range of options for everyone. We love the Junior Suite, complete with a gorgeous balcony encased by glass, allowing you to use it whatever the weather. The swimming pool is one of the major draws of this fashionable complex – perched on the rooftop, the dark wooden decking and curvy white loungers offer amazing, panoramic views of the Mexico City skyline. Whilst the fifth-floor is home to the spa, the hotel’s restaurant can be found in the lobby, offering Mexican food amongst concrete minimalism and monochrome artwork.
Details: Wrapped in a sheath of glossy glass, Habita sits as a modern phenomenon amongst the surrounding 1950s-era building. Perfectly placed in one of the city’s most fashionable districts, the chic and stylish hotel is sandwiched between new and old facades. Whilst the exterior is a work of art in its own right, the interiors are airy and polished, dotted with impressive modern art and abstract objects. Known as Mexico City’s most upscale neighbourhood, stay here for high-end everything – fashion, food and more!
La Valise, Mexico City
Concept: A hidden gem situated in the middle of the stylish Roma district, La Valise oozes charm, culture and creativity. Surrounded by leafy boulevards and decadent early-20th century townhouses, the hotel has been sculpted from stone and ornate ironwork, carving out three beautifully designed suites – the perfect refuge for the Roma district. With three suites only, booking in advanced is advised! Each room offers its own personality and style – for example, El Patio is fitted with a timeless design, featuring a hammock and swing set; meanwhile, La Luna, has a giant rotating moon that acts as a dividing door. Finally, our favourite, La Terraza allows you to sleep beneath the stars with a sliding bed that takes you from the inside to out. There might not be a restaurant, but with a handful of stylish eateries and cool cafes just around the corner, you’ll never be left wanting more.
Details: The artwork and furniture follows a cosmopolitan design scheme that mixes European and Mexican styles with a hint of something more surreal – for example, the beds can be slid out under the stars, a feature that makes this pit stop utterly unique. A city-stay experience like no-other, this hotel is perfect for those looking for something out of the ordinary.
Where To Eat
A vast plate filled with all things tacos, churros, tortas and tasting menus, the city of Mexico has all culinary crafts and more. It’s densely populated and patch worked with distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own culinary identity. Whilst it would surely take a lifetime to explore the many tasty treats the city has to offer, here are three culinary experiences that we think define Mexico City’s gastronomic identity.
With iconic status that reaches around the world, Pujol, run by Chef Enrique Olvera, offers two very different dining options: a multi-course tasting menu in the formal dining room and a “taco omakase” meal at the bar, featuring various tacos and an abundance of antojitos. Pujol’s relatively new home can be found in a stunning, mid-century home within the same neighbourhood where it started. With a wood-burning oven wafting smells through the restaurant, make sure you try Chef Olvera’s infamous Mole Madre, a signature dish that always graces the seasonal menu. Reservations are essential here and trust us; it’s worth the wait!
Elegant yet affordable, Jorge Vallejo’s fine dining restaurant in Polanco is not to be missed. Having once served as chef de cuisine at Enrique Olvera’s Pujol, Jorge now runs his own establishment, Quintonil, with his wife, who manages all things front-of-house whilst he whisks up magic in the kitchen. Today, the well-known restaurant is ranked twenty-four in the World’s Best Restaurant list and ninth on the 50 Best Latin American Restaurants list. Make sure you try the 10-course tasting menu, showcasing ingredients indigenous to Mexico including corn, beans, squash, chillies, and mushrooms.
A true farm-to-table concept in the heart of the city, Maximo Bistro sits in the stunning Roma area and has become a go-to for the breakfasters, brunchers and lunchers, with rumours of its culinary wonders spreading to locals and the food-obsessed tourists alike. With bright and light interiors creating the best kind of backdrop, the French and Mexican fused menu focuses on sustainable ingredients and changes frequently to reflect the seasons. Serving simple, bistro-style dishes everything on this creative menu will have you drooling from the moment you take a seat.
Where to Explore
Perfectly placed in the centre of all the action, Mexico City’s cultural contribution is nothing short of spectacular. With a range of unique experiences, ancient architecture and religious sites both in and around the city, there is so much to see and do during any visit here.
Noted as one of the most remarkable cities of the ancient world, Teotihuacan, located a mere 48km from the city was once home to the legendary Aztec population who lived in the collection of pyramids that still stand today. The two main pyramids; the Pirámide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun) and the Pirámide de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon), still stand proud and dominate what remains of the metropolis. For a small fee you can explore the infamous avenue, climb the two great structures, visit the temple of the feathered serpent, and investigate many other myths of times-gone-by. There is also a fascinating museum plus a small shop where souvenirs can be purchased.
Palacio de Bellas Artes
Literally translating to the Palace of Fine Arts, this iconic establishment is one of the city’s most popular destinations, with over 10,000 locals and tourists visiting on a weekly basis. With impressive architecture greeting you from the exterior, the interiors offer impressive murals by world-famous Mexican artists, an arts centre and a concert hall. Pay a visit to the west end of the 3rd floor where you will find Diego Rivera’s famous El hombre en el cruce de caminos (Man at the Crossroads), originally commissioned for New York’s Rockefeller Center.
A must on the Mexico City to-do-list, Xochimilco has been offering tourist trips in trajineras through more than 184km of waters since 1930. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, visit here to explore the colour of the city as you discover either the markets that line the river, or the multi-colour boats that float you along a walled canal, lined with gardens and curtains of trees. Traditionally known as ‘trajinera’ tours, try and visit during the Day of the Dead season, when the banks are lined with plenty of theatric productions.