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Towering above the Paseo de la Reforma as it has since it was built in the early 1960s, Sheraton Mexico City Maria Isabel Hotel is undergoing a multimillion dollar, soon-to-be-completed facelift.
Named for the deceased daughter of Bolivian tycoon Antenor Patino, it is the only Sheraton still carrying a woman’s name and has been home to a host of international glitterati since it opened the Reforma Tower with 441 rooms in 1962, followed by the 317-room Danubio Tower in 1969.
I have a long history with Mexico City, and during a recent visit, I was pleased to see that this landmark hotel’s signature sophistication has been maintained despite the renovations, which literally have been done from the inside out.
The first phase, begun in 2015 on the Reforma Tower, has been completed, while the Danubio is slated to be finished this year.
Furniture, carpeting and curtains throughout the hotel’s 755 rooms (which include 72 suites) are being revamped, and everything — including the public spaces — is sporting a lighter, more modern feel. Rooms feature Sheraton Signature Beds, coffeemakers, minibars, safes, desks, free Wi-Fi access, televisions and two phone lines.
The Sheraton Club, which is located on the 18th floor and boasts sweeping views of the Angel of Independence statue and the sleek buildings that have cropped up in recent years, offers 30 percent more space than before. It also provides an inviting venue in which clients can conduct business while savoring breakfast or indulging in drinks and "botanas" (canapes) as the sun sets on the glowing Mexican capital.
The 18th floor is also home to the business center, which offers secretarial services, desks, computers and printers, as well as the posh Marco Polo Presidential Suite and four other penthouse suites, all of which have been revamped and furnished with luxurious creature comforts along with prized art.
Clients on business can conduct conferences in the elegant grand ballroom or in 30 spacious meeting rooms with a capacity for up to 2,000 people. Smaller spaces — which include an airline crew lounge and one of the few round-table conference rooms in Mexico City — are fully equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual and video conferencing equipment.
The Sheraton Fitness center, tucked along the lobby level, beckons with exercise equipment, a sauna and a steam bath, while a heated, outdoor swimming pool on the 19th floor and two lighted tennis courts promise more recreational options.
Always a fan of Italian food, I dined at the cozy Ristorante Amici, where a view of the Angel offered the perfect backdrop for delicious pasta al dente, robust Chianti and a decadent tiramisu. Later, I ducked into Jorongo Bar and was happy to see that the familiar mariachi entertainment and frosty margaritas remain a favorite with locals and visitors alike into the wee hours.
Sushi Bar @ Link, Manhattan Deli Restaurant, Club Lounge and the classic Lobby Bar ensure more tasty choices, all served with a warm Mexican flair.
Easy access to the financial district, museums and popular tourist sites make this the perfect pied-a-terre for a Mexico City visit, whether clients are visiting for business or pleasure.