Boutique Chic

Grupo Habita carves a niche for itself

By: By Mark Chesnut


Boca Chica 
Hotel Basico
Hotel Habita
Hotel Habita Monterrey
La Purificadora
Parador Mexico, Tulum 

Note: The Web sites for some of the unopened properties may not be functional as of yet.

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Click here to read about Assistant Editor Skye Mayring's visit to Tulum

It’s a Friday night at Condesa DF hotel, and as soon as I leave my guestroom, I know I’ve arrived. Mexico City’s rich and beautiful crowd is gathered at the bar downstairs, sipping cocktails around strategically placed tables and sinking into custom-designed furniture. This may not be the newest boutique hotel in Mexico City, but it’s still one of the most stylish.

Condesa DF is just one example of the ever-increasing influence that Grupo Habita is having on Mexico’s boutique hotel niche. When the company opened its first property, the Hotel Habita, in Mexico City back in 2000, the boutique hotel concept had not yet taken hold in Mexico. The W brand may have been making a splash on the international front, but south of the border, hotels were still rather traditional in terms of design and service.

La Purificadora lobby // (c) Grupo Habita
La Purificadora lobby

Today, that has changed. Nearly every major destination in Mexico has some kind of hotel that calls itself boutique. But Grupo Habita has managed to maintain its finely tuned fashion sense, with plans to expand the group to eight properties by the end of next year. Even the original Hotel Habita has evolved to reflect current trends, relaunching its restaurant under the watchful eye of Enrique Olvera, one of Mexico’s best-known chefs.

Since introducing the Mexican market to the boutique concept with the Hotel Habita, the company has grown to include the Condesa DF in Mexico City’s chic Condesa district, and three leisure-oriented properties: the 12-room Hotel Basico and 15-room Deseo, both in Playa del Carmen, and Azucar, a 20-bungalow property in Veracruz.

Last year, the company made its debut in the city of Puebla with La Purificadora, a rather unique property that features 26 guestrooms, a restaurant, a gym, a bar and a rooftop terrace with pool, all housed in a former bottling factory that dates back to the 1870s.

Even as the company continues to expand, it refuses to copy the style of any of its properties, which isn’t limited solely to decor and restaurant menus. It also means that each hotel’s individual Web site, as well as collateral material, has a completely different look.

"Each of our properties is unique — a destination in its own right," said Rafael Micha, managing partner of Grupo Habita. "[The properties are] designed for business travelers, with a knack for design."

Grupo Habita’s attention to detail has been recognized with glowing reviews from consumer publications including Vogue, Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. And in 2006, the company won the Wave of the Future Hotelier Award from Hospitality Design magazine.

New Design in the Pipeline
Currently, Grupo Habita is expanding its presence to three new destinations, as well as a new neighborhood in the nation’s capital.

In August, Grupo Habita unveiled its seventh property, Hotel Habita Monterrey, located in the northern city of Monterrey. Set in a tower designed by Agustin Landa, the 39-room property features a restaurant, wireless Internet access, 24-hour room service and an interior designed by Paris-based Joseph Dirand, who has accented the building’s minimalist style with vintage touches. The rates range from $165 to $975 per night.

In November, the company is set to open Habita Santa Fe, located in one of Mexico City’s prime business districts. Set in the top eight floors of a 28-story building, the property will feature 30 suites with high ceilings, a swimming pool, restaurant, business center, terrace and bar.

Next year will bring additional openings. In March, the company plans to unveil Boca Chica, a 21st-century overhaul on a classic 43-room property set along Acapulco’s Caleta Beach. The relaunched property — which will be a member of the Design Hotels consortium — will feature a spa, shop, restaurant, bar and disco, plus a sushi bar and massage cabanas.

Also in the works is Parador Mexico, Tulum, located near the ruins of Tulum, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Set to open in August 2009, the 10-suite property will have a restaurant, bar, cabanas, swimming pools and a private beach. Clients may also opt for one of the three suites with a living room, private terrace and plunge pool.

Each of these new properties in the works will have its own unique design elements and ambiance, Micha promises. But while the look may vary, one thing seems pretty certain: The cool vibes I felt on Friday night at the Condesa DF will be in the air at these new properties, as well.