Condesa DF

Condesa, Mexico City, Mexico Book from

Reviewed by Emilie Witham
Cool contemporary hotel with a happening terrace and Gallic décor, within walking distance of buzzy galleries, bars and restaurants
Back in the 1940s, Condesa was a quiet, leafy suburb a couple of miles west of Mexico City's Centro Histórico. After being invaded by urban sprawl, it has re-emerged 60 years later as a desirable district with trendy art galleries, bars and restaurants opening left, right and centre.

Condesa DF (the tag refers to Distrito Federal) fits in perfectly. From the outside, the triangular building has kept its century-old Art Deco facade; inside is a total - and very cool - redesign. Mexican architect Javier Sanchez and French designer India Mahdavi have conspired to create 40 slick bedrooms over 3 floors, a huge decked roof terrace offering sushi and cocktails on curvaceous sofas, and a ground-floor restaurant serving an incredible fusion of Mexican and Japanese food. There's also a small gym with a hammam, a lime-green tiled therme pool, a basement cinema screening art films at weekends, and a subterranean disco which hums until well after midnight. But it's the terrace which is the centre of attention, drawing local artists, socialites and bigwigs till the small hours.

Highs

  • Condesa is not so much a hotel as a place - THE place - to hang out and party
  • By day the location is very peaceful, especially for such a busy city
  • It's just a short walk from cool boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bars and the leafy Chapultepec Park
  • There are good metro connections to the city centre (7 stops to Zocalo, with 1 change)
  • The large roof terrace has lovely views and funky pod-style seating
  • The excellent restaurant serves adventurous and immaculately presented cuisine

Lows

  • Rooms are frankly pretty small - unless you opt for a Corner Suite or the Top Suite
  • This isn't for people wanting peace and quiet - the hotel comes alive at night, its terrace buzzing until 2am and the basement disco until 4am. Earplugs are provided, though
  • Extras are pricey, and you can expect to pay double the street-rate for taxis
  • We've heard reports of plumbing and air conditioning problems, but during our stay everything worked perfectly
  • Service can be a little disorganised, though there's no shortage of staff (160 in total!)

Best time to go

Mexico City is a year-round destination, though it can get very hot in May and June and very wet from June to September. You might want to try and coincide with (or avoid) the MACO Contemporary Arts Festival (April; near the hotel), the Pride march (late June), the Cake Festival (August), Independence Day celebrations (15-16 September), Fashion Week (October), and the morbid revelry that is Day of the Dead (1-2 November; Zocalo).

Our top tips

Bring your most stylish garb for posing on the roof terrace (you might need long sleeves for cooler evenings). Earplugs are provided, but sometimes there's only one pair per room. You can ask reception for more if needed.

Great for...

City Style
Foodie
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 40
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Disco
Room: Balcony Suite

Rooms

There are 40 rooms in 6 different categories scattered over 3 floors. Expect polished wooden or terrazzo flooring, white walls and a mix of bold floral fabrics, cow hide, wood and leather in the easy chairs, bedside tables and desk. And there's some funky designer furniture: coffee tables like a giant pierced egg, swirling apple-green stools, and curving white-leather sofas in the suites. You'll also find an iPod and dock, ready loaded with zillions of easy listening choons, so you can choose your own ambience.

Bathrooms are modern (though a little dark), with pod-like basins giving a sleek, futuristic feel. All the suites have a bathtub, and most have natural daylight - unlike the smaller rooms.

Ambient noise being one of the major factors here, we'd recommend going for one of the second-floor rooms, which are reasonably well insulated from both the roof terrace and the basement disco.

In terms of size, all the sleeping areas are roughly the same - i.e. pretty small - but additional living areas and balconies make the bigger rooms and suites worth the extra. The largest is the Top Suite, which comes with its own terrace, dining area and living room. The 3 Corner Suites and 6 Balcony Suites also have living areas, and the latter represent perhaps the best space-for-money ratio; ours was bright and welcoming, with an outdoor table for lazy breakfasts. If you want to maximise outdoor space, book one of the 6 Terrace Suites, which - as you would expect - come with a private terrace.

The Balcony Rooms are the best budget option, with a sliding door onto a small balcony overlooking either the hotel patio/restaurant or the leafy streets. There are also 6 Patio Rooms, which are only for the really budget conscious.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

The ground floor restaurant serves an exciting array of Mexican-Japanese fusion food (if you can imagine that) for lunch and dinner, all beautifully presented and nearly all of it successfully combined. Our starter of Mizuna-leaf salad with papaya, goats' cheese and sesame seeds was excellent, as were the mains of black cod in tequila miso (an alcoholic sauce - and a real treat), and beef tournedos with lemon butter garlic shrimp and guacamole sauce (which was enough to tempt my companion out of 10 years of vegetarianism!). But we weren't so sure about the zucchini flower tempura with blue cheese and chutney sauce - possibly a flavour too far.

Up on the roof terrace, and very popular with the local elite, there's a top-rate sushi selection, including teriyaki, nigiri, tempura and sashimi, which accompanies the flow of cocktails until 2am.

On Sundays there's a late lunch buffet of fish, meat, cheese, salads and vegetables, all immaculately laid out and well worth lingering over.

There's also a range of good bars and restaurants nearby. Try Ixchel for Mexican/Asian contemporary or Legaya for nouveau Mexican cuisine. Contramar is a must for seafood lovers, Salon Conde for traditional Mexican food among chattering locals.

The buffet breakfast, served in a room just off the ground floor restaurant from 7am-11am, offers a good selection of pastries, fruit, cereal and juices, plus an excellent granola which is delicious with yoghurt and fresh fruit - a definite highlight. There's also a room service breakfast menu available until midday, including all of the above as well as eggs, bacon and pancakes.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • It's an easy metro trip (20-30 minutes) or taxi ride (15-30 minutes, except rush hour) into the city centre, where you'll find museums, markets, street dancers and an opera house housed in the Palacio de Bellas Artes

  • The Condesa district is also worth strolling through for its Art Deco architecture, boutique shops and art galleries, and leafy lanes

  • Borrow a bike from the hotel and cycle round the nearby Chapultepec Park, enjoying the gardens and woods. You can also rent a pedalo and visit the zoo and museums (free on the first Sunday of the month)

  • Chill out with a book on the roof terrace - it's very quiet during the day

  • Hang out in the evenings sipping cocktails on one of the oversized circular loungers and socialising with the local elite

  • Relax in the hammam, or immerse yourself in the green-tiled therme (a tiny heated plunge pool)

  • Ask reception for a free gym pass to Qi gym, just around the corner; or help yourself to the punch bag, treadmill and cycling machine in the hotel's energy room

  • At the weekends, enjoy an international art film in the hotel's cinema

  • Try out one of the local mezcalarías for a shot of the local throat-burner, if you’re brave enough!

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

Children are welcome, though bear in mind the noise from the roof terrace and disco might keep them awake. Under 12s go free, with a supplement for older children. A queensize air-mattress is available for any of the rooms with a living space.

The cinema shows a children's film each Saturday afternoon and there are bikes for exploring the huge park next door. The iPod, TV with international channels and DVD menu in each room will help keep older kids entertained, and 5 Xboxes are available to borrow. Younger children will enjoy meeting the hotel's dog, a friendly chocolate Labrador called Conde, who can often be found behind reception.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Kids Activities on site:

A children's film is shown in the on-site cinema every Saturday afternoon and there are bikes and Xboxes to borrow.

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
7/
Food
7/
Service
7/
Value
7/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for Condesa DF