Hotel Condesa DF
52 55 5282 2199
V. Veracruz N.102
Mexico DF, Mexico
The much hyped and reviewed Condesa DF in Mexico City (DF) easily lives up to its reputation as a top design hotel. From its prime location, adjacent to a lovely art & tree filled park, in the chic Condesa district – think NYC’s West Village – to its distinctive triangular form, everything about the Condesa DF sets it apart.
The main interior is an open triangular courtyard looking up 5 flights to the happening roof-top bar and the sky above. White shutters line the interior catwalks, creating an openness during the day and a protective barrier when closed at night. Dangling down the center is a vine of silver horns, splaying out like the bells of a foxglove, emitting a low murmuring of ticking and tocking – with a grandfather clock’s steady comfort rather then an alarm clock’s annoying reminder of time passing. The restaurant’s elegant white tables fall within this surrounding whiteness with a few protected rooms along the sides for enclosed dining. One of these contains an excellent shop filled with some of the choicest jewelry seen in all of DF – at surprisingly good prices. A second side room is a library filled with photo & design books dedicated to Mexico’s deep cultural and art scene.
We stayed in a Balcony-View Room. It was small, but well appointed with a very comfortable bed and excellent pillows (something often lacking!). The balcony turned out to be a window overlooking the tree’s that filled the street below. It was quite lovely to wake up, throw the curtains and gaze upon the flowing leaves while gathering in the fresh air and listening to DF’s ever-present songbirds.
The shower was like standing under an 80 foot water-fall – pressure that would give a Japanese Onsen competition. Fantastic! Interestingly the toilet was the only ‘industrial’ item to be found in the entire hotel. It could have come from a high-school or hospital. Once again the bathroom was on the smallish side, but nicely laid out and cleverly hidden behind folding partitions.
If there was anything to pick on at the Condesa DF, it was that the room seemed designed more for a single person then a couple. There was only a single key that combined as an electrical shut-off and the safe-box was locked via credit-card over code. This made it hard to be on separate schedules. One night I ventured out to meet a friend at a local night-club. We wound up having to take apart the key ring so the room had power and I need not wake anyone on returning home. But these were small inconveniences and easily managed.
The staff was pleasant and consistently polite and helpful. Our night’s stay included one of the more expansive and impressive continental breakfasts seen to date; containing a self serve bar of home-made granola, cereals, fruits, yogurts, along with honey, milk and cottage cheese. The was also an excellent selection of breads, alongside quality portions of smoked salmon, prosciutto, salami, white and hard cheeses, tomatoes, compotes, hard eggs, butter and creamed cheese. Decanters of fresh orange, carrot & grapefruit juice offered a vibrant start to the day. The coffee was as good as anywhere we found in Mexico – which means not great, but drinkable (There seems to be a tendency to dilute and over-boi)l. There is also an a-la-carte menu with huevos rancheros and other delightful Mexican dishes. Be sure to take a substantial breakfast to start your day, as you need the calories for the never ending activity that is sure to follow in the wonderful city of Mexico DF.
The steam room and “spa area” are the weak point of the Condesa DF. They seem an after-thought, a requirement tossed in to earn an extra star rating. Luckily, the tempest-like shower more then makes an adequate “spa experience” and is conveniently located right in your room!
A quick note on taxis:
We have never encountered a city where the rates and hustling in taxis is so widespread. This is something that should really be better regulated. So if this is the kind of thing that annoys you, please keep in mind to specify you want a ‘taxi-meter taxi’ when you order a car service AND to specify to the driver to use the meter. Otherwise the hotel (and every business in town apparently) will order what they term ‘a more elegant car’ – which is really the same car without the taaxi paint – and the rates can be up to 7 times the taximeter rate. We paid between 20 & 120 pesos for the same ride, until we got our head around the costs. Do not be put off by this, just know it.
Mexico City (DF) is a safe and amazing city, full of grand architecture, strong design and culinary artistry. The Condesa DF is a lovely home-away-from-home to base yourself. Centrally located on a quiet block in a leafy section of town; each evening we were happy to return, get cleaned up and every morning we awoke excited and energized!