“Green and grand: this eco-conscious B&B in Mexico City is a handsomely renovated 19th-century mansion”
Each of the 8 bedrooms is named and designed after a particular Mexican state: the rustico Chihuahua Suite is decorated with shelves of traditional pottery; tenango embroidery covers the bed cushions in the 2-double-bedded Hidalgo; tiny orange and black monarch butterflies adorned the light fixtures in our room, Michoacan, known as 'the butterfly state’.
Of the 2 other Suites, the luxury Oaxaca has a Parisian feel with tall shuttered windows opening onto a big corner balcony; the groovy Chiapas a more '70s style with 2 smaller balconies overlooking the street. Lovers of 4-poster beds should go for the sea-themed Veracruz or the Grand Room Guerrero. The second Grand Room, DF, is appropriately city-slick. All the rooms have gleaming wood floors, hand-woven rugs and arched brick ceilings - we loved the vintage chairs and inventive use of objects found during renovations, like the broad oak beams made into bedside tables. There are no other mod cons such as TV, though we didn't need them.
Each of the Suites and Michoacan has an ensuite bathroom; the other rooms share a bathroom between them. We were slightly apprehensive about this but found they were kept scrupulously clean and although there was an occasional wait for the shower, the water was always hot. Individual boilers in each bathroom are heated by the rooftop solar panels and water is recycled to flush toilets. Special bio-degradable hand soap, shampoo and shower gel is provided - commercial chemicals will upset the system so this is not the place to test any fancy toiletries!
Breakfast is served in the smaller of El Patio’s 2 interior courtyards - a scattering of tables just off the kitchen. Either Alan or Diego will be on hand to help serve a traditional Mexican dish, along with fresh fruit and cereal. We had molletes, a soft bread covered with frijoles, tomatoes and avocados; check the blackboard to see the daily special. The coffee is organic.
Taps in the kitchen have a filtering device and guests can pop in anytime to refill the stainless steel water bottles placed in every room.
Be sure to ask for the B&B's helpful map of cheap and cheerful restaurants, most within walking distance. Worth the slightly long stroll is Mezzo - a tiny, family-run Italian eatery with sidewalk tables and really tasty bruschetta and pasta. Around the corner is El Chivito, a basic Mexican diner that specialises in meat dishes. Many local restaurants are closed on Sundays but one lively place that opens is La Polar - steaming bowls of birria, a delicious lamb stew, are plunked on your table by frantic waiters as competing mariachi and ranchero bands vie for your attention. Kids will love the balloon-sculpting clowns but romantic couples should avoid!
Well-behaved children over 4 years old are welcome at El Patio 77. However, there are no baby cots or extra beds, and no specific services like babysitting or kids' meals.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Hidalgo has 2 double beds, Suite Chihuahua has a sofabed.