It’s always interesting to experience a new hotel for the first time. Even with the pre-opening promotional material, you never know exactly what to expect.
So I was excited for my first experience with Voco Guadalajara Neruda, the first foray for the Voco hotels brand in Mexico (or anywhere in Latin America, for that matter).
Launched in 2018 by IHG Hotels & Resorts as a new premium brand, Voco recently celebrated the milestone of signing and opening 100 hotels spread among 18 countries that range from Spain to India and Kenya to Japan. Voco’s framework allows hotel owners to put their own touches on each property and add elements of local culture through design, decor and cuisine.
That made me especially interested to check out Voco Guadalajara Neruda, which opened recently in Providencia, one of Guadalajara’s most upscale neighborhoods. The 104-room property — which is located on a quiet, leafy avenue — is owned by Mexican hotelier Grupo Hotelero Luna Azul and operated by Monby Hotels. I soon found that Voco Guadalajara Neruda offers a fresh alternative for stylish accommodations at attractive prices.
I witnessed the hotel’s creative approach to hospitality design as soon as I arrived: The sliding glass doors whooshed open to reveal a whimsical work of art inspired largely by a giant pair of reading glasses. The ground-floor lobby is relatively small but beautifully designed, featuring handsome furnishings and eye-catching artwork — and it’s a memorable introduction to the hotel’s unique style.
For an urban midscale hotel, the property features many memorable features, including tasteful use of art, wood accents and lounge areas on guestroom floors (and these are well-equipped with long, shared coworking desks with outlets, providing extra space to spread out and work).
I found my standard king guestroom quite chic, with a balcony that offered inspiring views of the surrounding neighborhood. I also appreciated details like the modern design of the seating area, numerous lighting options to create various moods and minibar stocked with free soft drinks and beer — something not common at most urban hotels, especially at this price point. My room also featured artsy decor elements such as a brick wall accent, abstract birds carved from wood on the coffee table and a large representation of an owl on the wall, tying in with the hotel’s fowl-inspired iconography.
Amenities and Dining
It’s impossible to talk about Voco Guadalajara Neruda without raving about its restaurant, Querida Luna, a stylish eatery with a sophisticated take on Mexican cuisine that’s headed by Sergio Chavez, Monby Hotels’ corporate chef. Chavez has worked with big-name properties including W Mexico City, The St. Regis Punta Mita and Mexico City’s The Westin Santa Fe.
I enjoyed multiple meals at this decidedly photogenic venue, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As much as I enjoyed the cuisine, I was equally enamored with the view; Querida Luna has both indoor seating and a large terrace for outdoor dining that takes advantage of Guadalajara’s warm climate. It’s definitely worth reserving a table on the terrace around sunset, when the vista becomes even more lovely.
Great views are even a selling point for the rooftop gym, which is open 24 hours per day and graced with floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s also a 24-hour business center and a large rooftop patio that would certainly work well for private events, whether a business meeting, cocktail party or wedding reception. And since the hotel is pet-friendly, travelers can bring their pooches along.
Voco Guadalajara Neruda’s location is ideal for anyone looking to be near upscale shopping, dining and tourist attractions; it’s located about a half-mile from the Midtown Jalisco shopping mall and just a few minutes by car from the nearby city of Zapopan.
Overall, I found Voco Guadalajara Neruda to be a well-designed hotel in a good location, with an attractive style and lots of admirable features, especially for a hotel in this price range. Business and leisure travelers can certainly find lots to love here. It was my first experience with Voco, and I certainly hope it’s not my last.