Valentina is located in Mexico City’s Zona Rosa district. // © 2010 Room Mate Hotels
Ten years have passed since the sleek, upscale property called Hotel Habita introduced the boutique hotel concept to Mexico City but, in recent months, a veritable boom has brought a number of stylish small hotels to this bustling metropolis.
Granted, a couple of noteworthy properties popped up fairly soon after Hotel Habita opened its doors to the public — including the W Mexico City, which marked the brand’s foray into Latin America, and the Condesa DF, which, like the Habita, belongs to the rapidly expanding Grupo Habita company. But over the past year or so, boutique hotels have become more design-conscious, with styles ranging from midcentury modern to 21st-century sleek.
Last year saw the opening of the Distrito Capital, Grupo Habita’s third property in the city. Distrito Capital’s midcentury modern style includes beautiful vintage furnishings, and its high ceilings, large picture windows and sky-high views make the 30 guestrooms feel even more spacious. The new hotel is especially good news for business travelers, as it is located in the fast-growing Santa Fe district, near a variety of international office complexes.
In the ultra-chic Polanco district, travelers are now checking into Las Alcobas, which opened this year on a stretch of Presidente Masaryk Avenue, laden with luxury shopping and fine dining. The 35-room hotel, characterized by dramatic lighting and dark wood paneling, features contemporary guestrooms with amenities that include a handy bedside console that allows guests to control lighting, the drapes, music and more. Complimentary continental breakfast is served in a small yet luxuriously decorated dining room, and gourmands around the city are raving about Dulce Patria, the adjacent restaurant, which belongs to the hotel (even competing chef Enrique Olvera — who heads up the award-winning restaurant called Pujol — has said that Dulce Patria is one of the city’s best venues for contemporary Mexican cuisine). Before the end of the year, Las Alcobas will debut a second restaurant, La Cantina del Lado.
Arguably the most architecturally striking of Mexico City’s new boutique hotels is Brick, which opened this year in a creative repurposing of an early 20th-century mansion, fused with glass for a more contemporary look. Set on a quiet, shady block in the Roma Norte district, the hotel is a welcoming space with soft tones and comfortable furnishings. Its 17 handsome guestrooms and suites are stocked with Kiehl’s skincare products, and the four duplex penthouse suites have outdoor tubs and private terraces. The business center is a far cry from what you find in the city’s chain hotels; it’s more like a private dining room, with a high table and a wall lined with handsome books about design, fashion and architecture.
Observant guests will note a subdued sense of humor at Brick — its name refers to the bricks imported from England for the construction of the original home. One of the on-site restaurants, Olivia, is named after the madame who once ran a brothel within the walls of the original home. The hotel’s three-star Brasserie La Moderna doesn’t have quite as interesting a backstory but is equally attractive.
Clients looking to be in the heart of the vibrant Zona Rosa district should consider Valentina, a member of the Spain-based Room Mate Hotels. Following a major renovation of a rather uninspired property called the Marco Polo, Valentina opened its doors this year with colorful minimalist decor marked by whimsical shapes and colors that at times seem evocative of the movie, “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Valentina sits in the middle of the lively gay nightlife scene on Amberes Street, so it’s an especially good option for clients looking to enjoy this type of environment. About 70 percent of the hotel’s 62 guestrooms were open at press time; and all accommodations should be functional by the end of the year, when a new gym will be added as well.