Distrito Capital

Santa Fe, Mexico City, Mexico Book from US$175

Reviewed by Clemmy Manzo
Slick boutique hotel in Mexico City’s business district with 60s decor, fabulous views, a superb restaurant and oodles of modernist style
If James Bond were looking for a place to stay in Mexico City, he’d probably pick Distrito Capital. Thanks partly to Parisian interior designer Joseph Dirand, this Grupo Habita hotel oozes retro chic. Its cornerstone is contemporary art and urban architecture; indeed, books on these subjects line the library shelves and modern pieces are strategically placed around the lobby, including a striking light installation by Thomas Glassford. Outside, the infinity pool and terrace bar is one of the places in town to see and be seen, so it's no wonder the hotel attracts hip, designer-clad types.

Situated west of the city in Santa Fe - the capital’s business district - the skyscraper hotel is split in 2: reception is on floor 5 and the 30 rooms are between floors 25 and 28 (the rest of the building consists of apartments and restaurants). If you've just stepped off a long-haul flight, cross the road to Tru Kaloni Med Spa, where therapists will squeeze the tension out of aching muscles. Then return to Distrito for a long sleep in a comfy bed and a restorative meal before you set off to explore. A peaceful base in a hectic city.

Highs

  • On arrival you're served a delicious complimentary concoction - a tangy passion fruit and guava mojito
  • The huge floor-to-ceiling windows in the bedrooms have panoramic views of the city down below; impressive by day, stunning by night
  • In the restaurant, feast on Mexican fusion delicacies such as seared tuna with chilli cilantro cream
  • We loved the vintage furniture - old school recording equipment in the lobby and retro telephones in the rooms (and toilet!)
  • It's an easy bus ride from attractions, yet your base is away from the hectic and polluted centre

Lows

  • Service is not as slick as you'd expect from a hotel of this calibre, though staff are very friendly
  • Some feel it is too over-styled and not very practical
  • You risk your life each time you cross the road to reach the hotel - there's no zebra crossing, making it a dangerous endeavour
  • The WiFi didn’t work in our room; not great for a so-called business hotel

Best time to go

Avoid rainy season (June-September) when the capital experiences a downpour most afternoons. Also, this is when the terraced solarium is covered. Mexico City can get sweltering hot around May and June, so the best time to visit is during autumn, when temperatures hover around the 20C mark.

Our top tips

Distrito Capital is a place for hip young professionals on a business trip or on a romantic rendezvous, away from the smog and traffic of the city centre. If you can’t afford the Suite Royal, book a Corner Suite (more view for your money).

Great for...

City Style
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 30
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Under 12s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Corner Suite

Rooms

Think high ceilings, huge windows and minimalist black and white décor. Add a splash of vintage furnishings and high tech savoir faire and you’re booked into a Distrito Capital room. Each has an iPod dock which works in the bedroom and bathroom (fun when showering); you can also request an Xbox, DVD player and pre-loaded iPod from reception. Yet the view is the main wow factor - it’s tempting not to use the electric black-out blind at all. Make use of provided yellow binoculars for a close-up vista of the capital (note that 6 of the 30 rooms look out on cliffs at the back, so ask for one facing the city).

The room categories are differentiated by size but all have deliciously comfy white beds, free WiFi, lounge areas of varying sizes and top-of-the-range plasma screen TVs. Some bathrooms have a power shower, others have tubs; all are kitted out with Acqua di Parma toiletries. However the Corner Suites offer something extra: their position allows views of both sides of the city.

The one and only Suite Royal resembles a millionaire’s loft apartment. Situated on the 28th floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides of the room (as well as from the bathtub), the view of the city is spectacular from here. There’s also a kitchenette, gas fireplace and a huge living area.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The restaurant serves up fusion delights with a Mexican twist. We dined on an excellent dish of seared tuna with chilli cilantro cream; and entrecôte steak with chunky guacamole, prickly pears and spring onions - all washed down with a bottle of delicious Mexican Zinfandel. Best of all was an imaginative ‘do-it-yourself’ Key Lime Pie: the ingredients were beautifully presented separately on the plate for diners to sample. Kobe beef hamburgers, and sea bass marinated in guajillo and garlic with pineapple sauce, also sounded great. In tune with the hotel’s design, the restaurant décor is minimalist and monochrome. On warmer days, diners can sit out on the terrace.

Breakfast - not included in the price of a room - was a refreshing mix of exotic fruits, muffins and croissants, yoghurt and granola, and thick mango smoothies. For something heartier - and with a chilli kick - try the huevos rancheros or enchiladas. The 24-hour room service includes lean tortillas with thick, homemade guacamole and a rather salty chicken soup.

For other dining options, there’s a Japanese eatery as well as a Peruvian ceviche restaurant in the same building as Distrito Capital, or across the road there’s a mini-mall with cheaper Mexican outlets.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Book a stress-busting massage, a purifying facial or an exfoliating body scrub at the Zen-like Tru Kaloni Med Spa across the road. Ambient music plays and incense sticks burn as you unwind

  • Get those endorphins pumping by following one of the recommended jogging routes, ranging from 453m to 1.4 km. There’s a map provided in every room

  • Escape the city smog: pack a picnic and head to Parque Nacional Insurgente Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (commonly known as La Marquesa), a national park about a 40-minute drive away, where you can horse ride through the woods, hike or go-kart

  • Hire a car or hop on a bus for day trips to the famous Teotihuacan pyramids

  • For some retail therapy, walk 5 minutes' down the road to Mexico City’s largest shopping complex, the American-style Centro Commercial Santa Fe. Malls include Saks 5th Avenue and El Palacio de Hierro (The Iron Palace)

  • Hop on a bus to Polanco and spend a morning browsing through two of the capital’s major cultural attractions: the Anthropology Museum and the Museum of Modern Art

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Language courses
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being

Kids

Children under 12 are welcome, although it’s not really a family-orientated hotel. Children may get bored as there are no activities geared towards kids, and you'd feel self conscious if your children were bombing into the infinity pool. Baby cots are free to borrow, and all rooms have a sofa which can be made up as an extra bed for a 2-12 year old for no extra charge

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available

Kid Friendly:

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