Since the property offers only 35 guestrooms, agents are urged to book clients far in advance. // © 2015 Los Alcobas
Feature image (above): Anatol features memorable international cuisine made with local Mexican ingredients. // © 2015 Los Alcobas
Three activities that Las Alcobas’ Clefs d’Or Concierge has arranged for clients:
- Hot-air balloon rides at sunrise in Teotihuacan’s pyramids
- Private dinners in the property’s penthouse suites, complete witha serenade
- Day trips to colonial cities outside of Mexico City
For the best local pastry and cake shop in Mexico, head over to Pasteleria Ideal
Among the ever-finicky TripAdvisor crowd, Las Alcobas outranks 293 properties in Mexico City, including some big luxury brands. And while I read everything on TripAdvisor with one eyebrow raised, the culmination of the hotel’s 371 “excellent” and 42 “very good” experiences has helped restore my faith in humanity’s ability to comment anonymously online.
Samuel Leizorek, managing partner of Las Alcobas, calls the 35-room boutique hotel, which opened in 2010, his “entrepreneurial dream come true.”
His goal was to create a property that makes guests feel like they are staying in someone else’s home. I have to counter Las Alcobas on this: No home I’ve ever been to feels this put-together and design-forward. But the property’s warm staff creates a friendly atmosphere, a key quality that keeps the hotel from feeling at all pretentious (despite its swanky location among the high-end shops of tree-lined Polanco).
The hotel, the first for Las Alcobas Hotel Group, certainly feels one-of-a-kind and reflects the philosophy that guests are its “most valuable treasures.”
Las Alcobas joined Starwood Luxury Collection in February with hopes to grow its brand, which will double with the launch of Las Alcobas Napa Valley, scheduled to open in summer 2016 in California. Though the hotel can now be booked through Starwood’s central reservation system, the Las Alcobas team will continue to oversee its management.
Clients who are used to booking accommodations at the Luxury Collection level will appreciate the hotel’s service, food quality, sense of place and value. Las Alcobas excellently balances the expectations and trends of luxury design with its own Mexican personality, and it never nickel-and-dimes.
All rooms are sophisticated and sleek, thanks to neutral and calming colors and intuitive tech, such as a bedside console that controls lighting, draping and temperature. And don’t even get me started on the all-marble bathroom: There’s a Japanese Toto toilet and a shower complex with one rain shower, one adjustable showerhead and six spouts, which ensures that folks of all heights are covered from head-to-toe in perfect water pressure.
Another favorite room feature is contained behind a stone pillar that mimics the pattern work of the city’s famous cathedral. The pillar opens to reveal a colorful wooden chair, made by a contemporary Mexican artist, that features a treasure trove of free Mexican snacks, including some seriously memorable sweet-and-tangy homemade trail mix.
Upon arrival in the guestroom, visitors are presented with a platter of the hotel’s handmade soaps and can choose the scent they’d like to use for the remainder of their stay. After guests settle into the room, an employee checks in with a refreshing, freshly-made seasonal beverage. But the complimentary food feature that is probably responsible for the perfect five-star TripAdvisor rating is the Despertar service. Dial “00” — even in the late hours of the night — and request that the next morning’s wake-up call be followed by a platter of pastries, fruit, juice and coffee or tea.
Food is the hotel’s true standout (though the rosewood staircase that spirals from the top floor down to the lobby might be its most obvious centerpiece). In its countdown of the top 10 restaurants in the capital, TimeOut Mexico City named Dulce Patria, the hotel’s ode to Mexican flavors, as No. 9 and Anatol as No. 8.
“Our philosophy is to take all the freshest ingredients and make them into great food without the limits of fine dining,” said Justin Ermini, Anatol’s chef, who recently worked as executive chef for Relais & Chateaux Mayflower Inn.
Ermini goes to the market three times per week, incorporating his findings into entrees. And the building blocks of the menu — butter whipped with regional sea salt and homemade yeast-less bread — all result in delicious dishes. Don’t miss the organic squash blossoms stuffed with tres leches and served with roasted lemon. The squash flowers are organic and sourced from chinampas, man-made islands where farmers grow organic produce, located just south of the city in Xochimilco. Another favorite is the Chiapas black bean soup, featuring chilhuacle negro chile, pasila chile and striped chipotle toasted in duck fat. It all goes down well with a few Bloody Oaxacan mezcal cocktails topped with hibiscus foam. Worry not — there’s also a gym to help make guests feel okay about eating more the next day.
Las Alcobas is unlike any homestay you’ve ever had, but it may just restore your faith in the Internet.