Juan Salvador Agraz 97, Santa Fe, Mexico City
Possibly the top luxury hotel in Mexico City's Santa Fe neighborhood, the Presidente Intercontinental Hotel goes above and beyond — in everything from pandemic protocols to gourmet room service.
The Presidente Intercontinental Hotel is a towering presence in the heart of Mexico City's main financial district, Santa Fe. Entering from the hustle and bustle of the street below, the hotel's 3rd-floor lobby buzzes with smartly dressed bellhops and a line of front desk receptionists ready to check you in and get you settled.
The lobby is unassuming, with a handful of low, neutral-toned couches, the small International Club dining room to one side, and the hotel's large conference space on the other. The 1st-floor lobby, which you are free to come in and out of once you have your room key, is much more apropos of a luxury hotel in Mexico City, with high, vaulted ceilings and golden accordion-like walls. This first floor connects to the street, restaurants, and shops connected to the hotel (an art gallery, a coffee shop, a wine shop, and a seafood bar).
The hotel's rooms have a slick urban vibe with some stunning views of the Santa Fe Skyline replete with skyscrapers. Day and night, if you like cityscapes you will love the view from the floor to ceiling picture windows. The décor is the classic gray, black, and white of today's urban hotel palette. Fluffy white duvet-covered beds, angular yet soft gray couches, and well-made wooden furniture give the spaces a clean, modern look without much fuss. Large-format images of Mexico City at night remind you that you are in one of the continent's biggest urban landscapes — as if those views would let you forget.
Each room has a bevy of toiletries — shaving kit, sewing kit, dental kit, nail kit — as well as, during these pandemic times, a facemask and several antibacterial toilettes and gel. Terrycloth-lined bathrobes, slippers, and a hairdryer are also included in the room as well as a minibar (which at the moment is empty but can be ordered from reception), a coffee machine, ironing board and iron, a lockbox, and some limited closet space. Large flat-screen TVs tuck nicely against the wall when you are not using them so that nothing distracts from the expansive views.
Room categories differ in size and layout but not in amenities. Corner junior suites have city views on both sides, some with balconies and some without. These rooms have king-sized beds, a small dining room area, and large bathrooms. These are the rooms used for long-term stays at the hotel because several have their own washer-dryer en suite. They are also the category staged for the hotel's special romance package which includes a rose petal-covered bed, romantic music, and dinner set for two in front of the skyline below. (The dinner that comes with this package was delicious — a smoked salmon appetizer, roasted chicken with dehydrated tomato, and a coffee cream puff.)
The Master suite is 990 square feet and feels luxuriously spacious. A separate living room area with lots of couch space for lounging can be closed off from the bedroom and there's a microwave and mini bar, and a dining room table for six. This suite has one large bathroom with a soaking tub and lots of natural light. An outdoor balcony that runs the length of the room.
The Grand Suite is the largest in the hotel at almost 1,300 square feet. This suite has two bathrooms, one a smaller half bath for guests and the master bath with a soaking tub. There's a full kitchen with a refrigerator, a dining table for six, and an upstairs loft with a desk and chair for working. The shade on the loft's glass ceiling can be drawn in the evenings so you can look at the stars when the night is clear. This room also has an outdoor balcony and an additional double room can be added to this suite (connected by a separate door) making it good for families or business people traveling with a security detail or assistant.
There are three standard categories — Superior, Deluxe, and Club Continental rooms whose only difference is the floor they are on. Superior are on the lower floors, Deluxe the middle floors and the Club Continental the highest floors. These are between 450-650 square approximately, depending on whether they are singles or double. They have those great views along with large bathrooms with rainshower showerheads, a work desk, and several comfortable couches.
Of all the hotels that I have stayed in during this pandemic year, the Presidente Intercontinental was the number one most serious in terms of hygiene safeguards. So while the clear plastic cling wrap covering all my drinking glasses seemed like a dangerous game to play, I also felt completely secure that my room, the food, and all the common spaces were being shown the detail that they deserved in terms of cleanliness.
Because of their protocols, the hotel's gym is available by appointment only right now. It's spacious, with a dozen or so machines and weight lifting equipment. The his and hers locker rooms each have a sauna, showers, and changing areas. Next door is a small spa, run by a company not affiliated with the hotel that offers massages, facials, and other body treatments.
For the same reason, the hotel's restaurant is closed at the moment and they aren't sure when it will re-open. A simple continental-style breakfast is served in the Club International in the morning — eggs, waffles, coffee, fruit, yogurt — but you can also order from the room service, which I highly recommend. The menu is a step above regular hotel fare — I had a gourmet Wagyu hamburger and heavenly cream of tomato soup, as well as delicious lamb chops over mashed potatoes and grilled veggies.
As the large majority of Presidente Intercontinental's clientele are business travelers the hotel has 6 different conference rooms that can be alternatively set up for a classroom-style meeting space, an end-of-the-year cocktail party, or a rewards banquet. Most have outdoor patio spaces that can extend the size of the rooms during pleasant weather. The largest room has an occupancy of around 250 depending on the type of event, and adding to their flexibility of use, most of the spaces can be subdivided into smaller breakout rooms or meeting spaces.
While the hotel's attempt to promote the area as a well-rounded tourism destination is honorable, the truth is that Santa Fe remains firmly financial without much draw for leisure travelers. That said, if you are in the area for a business trip or otherwise, the La Mexicana park near the hotel is a great oasis in the midst of the concrete, and Santa Fe has lots of shopping available. You are also minutes away from the Desierto de los Leones nature preserve which is a worthy afternoon trip for a little nature boost.
The area has notoriously bad traffic, but a new suburban train set to be inaugurated in 2023, will finally provide rapid transit from Santa Fe to the center of the city and will make a world of difference for tourists that want to stay here and still explore the rest of the capital.
Finally, the staff of the Presidente Intercontinental went out of their way to provide great service and my every request was met with a gracious smile. The strict hygiene protocols, attentive service, and attention to detail made this a resoundingly pleasant stay in one of the area's best hotels.
Web Address: Presidente Intercontinental
Total Number of Rooms: 119
Published rates: $110 to $1350
Review and photos by Lydia Carey.