Private security with machine guns, armored cars barreling through
rush-hour traffic and impromptu riots after soccer victories - and
losses - lend unease to first-time travelers in Mexico City.
But beneath the urban grit and endless skyline lies the legends of
Montezuma and colonial invaders that built one of the most magnificent
cities of the new world that's still relatively unknown to most luxury
travelers. Skip the St. Regis and instead opt to stay with local
hoteliers. With its architectural facade by Yabu Pushelberg, Los Alcobas
is situated on a prime strip in Polanco that's walking distance to hip
boutiques like Uncommon Market and Silver Dear - that are more for
browsing than actual shopping. A bit further out in the Santa Fe
neighborhood, Distrito Capital
pairs designer Joseph Dirand and hotelier Habita Group in a stunning
high-rise with sophisticated, minimalist interiors and a powerhouse
eatery by Mexican chef Patricia Silvera.
By day, Mexico City's art scene thrives with a juxtaposition of old and new. A visit to the Museo Diego Rivera is always a must, with its incredible murals that still lend a political commentary in 2017. Newer museums like Museo Soumaya funded by Telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim and its neighbor, the David Chipperfield-designed Museo Jumex that debuts Latin America's first-ever exhibition of Andy Warhol through September do not disappoint. If given the choice, opt for long lunches over shopping in the Mexican capital. A visit to Gabriela Camara’s Contramar is a must for its delicate tuna tostadas, grilled fish and incredible ceviche. For something a bit more authentic, Fonda el Refugio is as charming as traditional Mexican cuisine can get with its epic Mole sauces, homemade chips and quesadillas that will make even summer dieters return to carbs.
As the late summer sun sets in Mexico City, we found ourselves wandering the historic center Zocalo and dreaming of those historic lakes once the backdrop of ceremonial Tenochtitlan and now home to the most incredible Spanish Colonial architecture in the world. Take it in along the rooftop of Downtown Mexico, a hip boutique hotel with incredible rooftop pool bar that’s already changed the social climate of the neighborhood. With rooftop views of Plaza de la Constitución and Casino Espanol, linger late until heading to the evening's gastronomic haunts like the awarded Pujol, home to the best chef in Mexico City, or Quintonil with its posh terrace and equally acclaimed cuisine. Afterward, risk a nighttime stroll in the city before heading to historic drinking salons like Maison Artemisia in Colona Roma or getting lost in the dance floor mayhem of Leonor in Condesa.