Av. Veracruz 102, Condesa, Mexico City, Mexico
Often described as Mexico City's own SoHo, Condesa, the neighborhood, is a gentrified magnet for the bohemian chic community, as is Condesa, the hotel.
Situated in the heart of Mexico City's Condesa neighborhood, the eponymous Condesa df Hotel shares more than just a name with its locality––it's as trendy and fashionable as the district that gave rise to it.
An architectural landmark dating from 1928, the building is one of several Frenchified mansions that have survived in the capital's formerly aristocratic enclave ("condesa" means "countess"). The hotel's owners, fast growing Grupo Habita, restored the Parisian–style facade but radically redid the inside, so that the picturesque period frontage gives way to edgy modern interiors with a retro look: the foyer/restaurant is decked with back–to–the–future cowhide settees and clustered globe lights that hang from the ceiling.
Wedge–shaped Condesa df is built around a triangular open–air atrium with a sunny patio restaurant and breezy rooftop terrace and sushi bar. The umbrella–shaded patio tables, as well as the private dining/meeting rooms off to the sides, and other inviting nooks and recesses of the ground floor, draw a very mixed crowd. It can range from ladies who lunch to girlfriends, and from ad execs in brainstorming sessions to lone road warriors chatting in English into their headsets; more than a few tote iMac notebooks. Service is friendly and accommodating if not meticulous. (Seeing that I needed a bit more tabletop space, the waiters cleared my table, but in their zeal, made off with my napkin.)
A genuinely global enterprise, the hotel recruited both local and international talent to style its smart interiors, staff uniforms, and menus, which feature world cuisine and sushi specialties. For a taste of Mexico, you can visit the bar, whose bestselling cocktails are not only delicious, but downright patriotic, showcasing two of the nation's most beloved beverages: a cinnamon sprinkled horchata martini made with a sweetened rice drink, and a crimson jamaica margarita made of hibiscus. A popular neighborhood hangout, especially on Friday nights, the bar also serves the hotel's own private label wine, tequila and mezcal.
Bar and restaurant patrons aren't the only ones streaming in and out of the hotel, a favorite venue for a variety of events, from private parties to product launchings (when Paris Hilton introduced her perfume in Mexico, Condesa df served as launch pad). Certain provisions, however, particularly a separate entrance for guests and shutters that seal off hallways from any hubbub, work to safeguard your sense of privacy.
Unless he's attending to one of the other guests, Conde, a lumbering chocolate lab, will co–greet you upon arrival. The resident pet and occasional companion of restless guests in need of a walk is usually stationed behind the front desk, a tail–wagging reminder that Condesa df is pet friendly. The hotel is currently working on a special healthy doggie menu.
Rooms reflect the building's elegant, classic exterior with wood–paneled walls and parquet floors, French windows that open unto tree–lined streets, and plush white bed linens. There are seven categories of rooms and they range in size from Patio Suites with small, somewhat claustrophobic balconies that face inwards, to the extravagantly spacious Top Suite, with its expansive wraparound terrace. Each has an iPod that's updated monthly, flat–screen TV, DVD player, and Malin+Goetz bath products. A rooftop sauna, steam room, and hot tub (rather fancifully called a "hamam") are available, but only to the most extroverted guests; their exposed location makes everyone else blush and reach for Conde's leash. Runners, on the other hand, are in for a treat. Just steps away is leafy Parque España, which makes for an idyllic running track.
Both a reflection and a product of its trendsetting environment, Condesa df draws visitors who want to tap into the capital's cultural scene or simply enjoy the unique attractions of the capital's most cutting–edge quarter.
Web Address: www.condesadf.com
Total Number of Rooms: 40
Published rates: $195 to $495
Review by Shooka Shemirani, photos by Timothy Scott.