Amid the flashy, high-profile hotels of Mexico’s capital, a growing number of retreats—many of them independent and owner-led—reveal a more intimate side of the city. They’re located not just in much-loved neighborhoods like La Roma and Condesa but also across the city, from the historic downtown to swanky Polanco. These are the best hotels in Mexico City for a truly local stay.
What to expect: An intimate, design-forward stay minutes from cultural institutionsNeighborhood: PolancoBook now
Las Alcobas has long been a hub for high-end travelers with a keen eye for design. Set in a former private residence in Polanco with only 35 rooms, the handsome, intimate hotel was recently overhauled by Yabu Pushelberg, the team behind the original design. Interiors in earthy tones have luxury accents like fine Italian bed linens and spa-like marble bathrooms with tubs and rain showers. One of the hotel’s most striking elements is the rosewood spiral staircase at the entranceway. While the inviting interiors and service alone are worth checking into Las Alcobas, the convenient location is just as much of a draw: Located on Masaryk Avenue, Mexico City’s answer to Fifth Avenue, the hotel is wedged between Chapultepec Park Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, lined with cultural institutions including Museo Soumaya and the Colección Jumex.
What to expect: A beloved classic in a 1928 mansionNeighborhood: CondesaBook now
Over the past two decades, Mexican hotelier Grupo Habita have opened a string of properties across the country while gaining a cult following. But one of its most loved properties is still Condesa DF, which opened in 2005. Set in a 1928 French neoclassical mansion on the edge of Parque España in tree-lined Condesa, the hotel is a firm favorite among residents, who are drawn to the rooftop terrace where cocktails flow and music plays long into the night. Travelers who want to tap into Mexico City’s swank party crowd can stop by for a drink or book one of the 40 chic white and wood-paneled rooms; some have terraces facing a canopy of jacaranda trees. In the mornings, breakfast is served on the open-air palm- and ivy-filled patio.
>> Read our full review of Condesa DF.
What to expect: London meets Mexico City in a chic retreatNeighborhood: PolancoBook now
The bright red chairs and bistro tables outside the Alest’s black-framed, street-facing windows feel reminiscent of a British storefront, while the red entry door is like one you’d expect to find in London. Designed by Mexican interior designer Sophia Aspe with nods to Britannia, the 19 cozy rooms also have distinctly Mexican touches, with art by local artists like Arantxa Solis and furniture sourced from around the country, including handprinted side tables from Michoacan. One of the hotel’s biggest drawing cards is the bar, 45. Its menu—featuring experimental cocktails like the Julio Verne made from tequila, sake, and grapefruit syrup—was designed by well-known Mexico City cocktail bar Limantour.
What to expect: An architectural gem on a quiet streetNeighborhood: JuarezBook now
It’s rare you get to sleep in a house designed by a legendary architect. That’s why architecture enthusiasts flock to Casa Pani, a space designed by the late Mexican modernist Mario Pani, known for his innovative urban design. The team behind the project includes architect Miggi Hood, Yola Mezcal cofounder Yola Jimenez, and entrepreneur Marie Cazalaa, who together purchased two Pani-designed houses and overhauled them, creating a cool guesthouse in the less-touristed Juarez neighborhood. Hood breathed new life into the modernist space while still respecting its heritage. Six bedrooms all have enormous windows and en suite bathrooms. Each room has its own distinctive character, whether it’s a private terrace shaded by a jacaranda tree, a bathroom with a giant tub, or an orange wingback vintage lounge chair. There’s also a courtyard, communal kitchen, and living area where guests often meet and mingle.
What to expect: A contemporary, Shaker-inspired hotel in the city’s historic heartNeighborhood: DowntownBook now
Most foreigners flock to neighborhoods like Roma or Condesa, but a stay in the historic part of downtown is just as rewarding. Once you arrive on the doorstep of Circulo Mexicano, you’ll realize there’s plenty to explore in the surrounding area, including the majestic National Palace. Set in a restored 19th-century building, the ground floor courtyard is home to two restaurants from much-loved Mexico City chef Gabriela Camara and a collection of artisanal shops selling ceramics and textiles. Upstairs, the 25 rooms are minimalist and roomy with neutral Oaxacan textiles and wooden furniture by local design studio La Metropolitana. On the rooftop, guests can sip cocktails while soaking up history and viewing the Metropolitan Cathedral, National Palace, and Templo Mayor.
What to expect: A tranquil and tasteful mansion houseNeighborhood: PolancoBook now
When Polanco entrepreneur, real estate developer, and resident Octavio Aguilar purchased an old mansion house a decade ago, his first intention was to rent it to an embassy. But he had a change of heart when he found papers that permitted it to be used as a hotel. With the help of architect Claudio Gantuz, the original mansion was renovated into Casa Polanco. A new wing was added, and the entire property has been transformed into a hotel that feels like a private home. There are 19 individually designed rooms with high ceilings, some with terraces, others with oversize tubs. There’s ample communal space where guests can lounge: Sip a glass of wine on the front terrace, read in the library, or partake in daily high tea in the light-filled indoor courtyard. There’s also a spa cabin on the rooftop, where treatments like massages can be booked.
Ignacia Guest House
What to expect: A reimagined Beaux Arts residenceNeighborhood: RomaBook now
Mexico City has no shortage of reimagined mansions, but Ignacia Guest House is particularly stunning, thanks to the design-driven finishes of the 1913 Beaux Arts building. At the center of the hotel is a courtyard, where guests can relax in a garden of cacti. On one side of the courtyard is the restored house with one black-themed room, a pink lounge, a library, and a kitchen and dining space with French doors that lead onto the courtyard. Opposite the main house, in contrast, is a sharp and shiny new building with four guest rooms painted in shades of yellow, rose, black, or green. Wherever you choose to stay, don’t skip Ignacia’s morning meal. With a selection of artisanal conchas (sweet Mexican bread), fresh fruit, and house made sopes and tamales, the breakfast spread is worthy of a leisurely morning.
What to expect: A restorative retreat with ryokan vibesNeighborhood: La CondesaBook now
From the founder of the local women’s wear label Octavia Casa comes a sleek minimalist seven-room retreat in La Condesa. Even the outside of the building, which has a wooden lattice facade and leafy plants that add life and color to the natural corners, has a calming feel. Inside, neutral, light-filled rooms and large white beds promote a sense of tranquility; all ceramics, glass, and linens are sourced from local brands like Onora, Encrudo, and Entei. While the hotel is firmly rooted in Mexican design, from certain angles you could almost mistake it for a ryokan in Japan.
Four Seasons Mexico City
What to expect: A grand, hacienda-style property with a leafy courtyardNeighborhood: JuarezBook now
Despite its location on Paseo de la Reforma, the bustling main artery that runs through Mexico City, Four Seasons maintains an air of tranquility. Behind the grand walls that face the street, a peaceful courtyard is filled with citrus trees, banana plants, and a tinkling fountain, around which the hacienda-inspired hotel is centered. Looking out onto this space are the 240 guest rooms, with white linens, printed headboards, and burgundy footstools. Also facing the courtyard is the ground floor bar and Zanaya restaurant, which serves a seafood-inspired menu on an inviting terraced patio. On the rooftop, there’s a fitness center, spa, and pool where guests can retreat after a day exploring one of the continent’s busiest cities.
What to expect: An apartment-style stay with serious culinary connectionsNeighborhood: Casa PolancoBook now
When renowned chef Enrique Olvera had to move his multi-award winning Pujol restaurant in Mexico City into a larger space, his team turned the original spot into a mezcal bar, Ticuchi. He bought the two-bedroom apartment upstairs and turned it into Casa Teo, a place where he can host artist residences so that creative minds from a variety of fields can come together to exchange ideas. Centered around an open kitchen and a communal dining table for 10, Olvera often brings in chefs from out of town for special dinners bookable by the public and hosts regular talks, events, and workshops. Those who want some extra time to get their creative juices flowing—or just a truly unique base in Mexico City—can book the Casa Teo apartment via Airbnb. Simple and airy, with fluffy white beds and neutral hues, it’s perfect for relaxing and clearing your mind.
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Mary Holland Mary Holland is South African writer based in New York. She has written for WSJ Magazine, the Financial Times, HTSI, GQ, Condé Nast Traveler, and W Magazine. She is the New York correspondent for Monocle Magazine.