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I never thought that sleeping in an office building would be interesting. But I learned otherwise when I checked into Umbral, Curio Collection by Hilton, a new hotel in Mexico City’s historic center.
Opened in 2019 as the first Curio Collection property in Mexico City, Umbral features an imaginative architectural revamp, as well as an example of the decidedly non-cookie-cutter approach of one of Hilton’s newest brands. Set in a beautifully updated 1924 office building in the heart of downtown, the 59-room property enhances the structure’s original beauty with stylish contemporary touches and modern amenities.
I knew this would be a different experience as soon as I stepped through the front door. A dramatically long hallway drew my eye to the far end of the building, where a grand staircase swirled up toward the second floor. When I asked the meaning of the hotel’s name, I learned a new vocabulary word: Umbral is the Spanish translation of “umbra,” which refers to the darkest part of a shadow.
The hotel’s name isn’t an accident: It’s one aspect of a creative approach to hospitality design. Once staff members explained it to me, I immediately saw how the name reflects the concept. The reception desk, for example, is in a corner of the lobby with dark walls and tightly focused lighting, all in striking contrast to the airy, more colorful seating area.
That eye-catching interplay between light and dark is repeated in the guestrooms. Upon arriving at room 116, I was enveloped in the shadowy tones of the entryway. But the sensation changed once the bellhop drew back thick curtains that led to the sleeping area, which was bathed in soft creams and other invitingly light colors.
Original artwork — one of the hotel’s main characteristic features — graces the wall above the bed, while the wall-mounted television, well-planned lighting and multiple outlets showcase the thoughtfully modern redo of an older building. Original architectural touches are equally visible, including super-high ceilings and double doors that lead to the outside corridor and to the large bathroom, which is furnished with an expansive walk-in shower.
An enticing blend of old and new is visible throughout Umbral. Even the elevators, which have been upgraded and modernized, still have the original gates and controls (which no longer function but are fun to play with).
Considering Umbral’s size, it offers a surprising number of facilities and amenities. Off the main lobby is an impressive, industrial-style art gallery that hosts rotating exhibits. And the small “library” lounge, which doubles as a business center, has an extensive collection of art books, as well as a record player (a feature also found in larger suites). Just off the lounge is a comfortable boardroom that exudes the ambiance of a private theater, with comfortable seating and a large screen for presentations.
Whether utilized for business or leisure travel, Umbral’s rooftop is one of its biggest selling points. Expansive and beautifully designed, the roof is home to an open-air restaurant, a bar and a wellness bar specializing in smoothies and juices. Nearby, the small gym is well-equipped and was gloriously uncrowded every time I visited. The roof also features a small heated swimming pool and lots of comfy lounge-style seating, which provides myriad opportunities to sit back with a cocktail and enjoy the view.
From the rooftop, it’s especially obvious just how well-placed this new hotel is for travelers looking to stay in Mexico City’s historic downtown. A variety of the city’s most legendary attractions are within a few short blocks — including the Zocalo city square, the cathedral, Alameda Central park and the Latin American Tower. But with so many unique features and amenities on-site, staying inside the hotel for a while is an attractive proposition, too.
The DetailsUmbral, Curio Collection by Hilton curiocollection3.hilton.com