Bigger than New York, built on a plateau and teeming with 20 million residents, Mexico City overwhelms with its size and high altitude. And there’s so much to see, too: the towering pyramid-temples of Teotihuacan and the Aztec floating gardens of Xochimilco; Frida Kahlo’s house, Diego Rivera’s murals; and museums of Mayan artefacts. After a dizzying day or two you’ll be ready to soak in a sumptuous hotel spa. Thankfully the city isn’t short of options.
Stays here are all about the view – of Mexico City’s central Reforma district, all tall buildings and bell towers, through terracotta roofed suburbs to distant mountains. The business-ready rooms have understated grey carpets, off-whites, low amber lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows. The rooftop bar hovers over the city, while the swimming pool and spa on the 39th floor are dominated by glass windows as tall as a two-story house – again all designed to frame that city view.
Rooms in light maple, creams and whites with futon beds; a public patio like a Zen garden; and a sushi and sashimi bar. As the name suggests, the Ryo Kan brings rural Japan to central Mexico’s City’s Reforma district. The spa is a destination in itself – open to non-guests too (so book well in advance) – offering facial treatments using high-end Spanish Natura Bissé products alongside Japanese Shiatsu and Gong meditation.
With sumptuous, quiet-as-a-falling-feather, carpeted rooms and Jeeves-discreet service, the Four Seasons oozes self-assured sophistication. The central café-garden, tinkling with flowers and shaded by sub-tropical trees, is the kind of place you’d expect to see Salma Hayek sipping coffee with Alejandro Iñárritu. The spa is a stunner, with a heated outdoor pool that looks like an elegant impluvium, plucked from a Palladian villa. Book in for Mexican treatments including body scrubs and facials using ingredients including mezcal, chocolate and amaranth.
The chocolate brown woods, caramel-and-beige striped sofas and quilted-patent leather headboards on the beds certainty deposit you back in the 1980s. And yet the location of this (fading) five-star is hard to beat – overlooking the swankiest section of Mexico City’s Champs-Élysées, the Paseo de la Reforma. The spa is awesome – the size of a big-city Middle Eastern hammam. In it you’ll get lost among steam rooms, saunas and jacuzzis. There’s a big pool and a menu of some 60 treatments.
At home in Polanco – Mexico City’s stylish café district – Las Alcobas looks like a contemporary hotel designed by the great Arne Jacobsen. Dark rosewoods are offset by white walls, big mirrors and marble fittings. There are elegant minimalist furnishings in soft colours, while ample light floods the place through large windows. When your city-sore feet need to beat a retreat, there’s a fine spa that uses treatments by Neal’s Yard, Naturopathica and Cinq Mondes. Taste buds, meanwhile, will appreciate hotel restaurant Dulce Patria, and the modern Mexican food by Martha Ortiz.
Right in the chaotic heart of Mexico City’s skyscraper-sparkling financial hub Santa Fe is where you’ll find the Westin. It’s a business hotel with a pinch of pizazz, which translates into rooms decked out in dark wood and furnished with simple geometric workstations and cabinets. Ambience comes from bright light through window-walls curtained with wispy drapes. Come to the spa if you’re a sucker for the unusual: among the more conventional men-only grooming on the many lists of treatments are washes using 24-karat gold as well as that frighteningly freezing procedure, cryotherapy.
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