Habita

Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico Book from

Reviewed by Lucia Appleby
Stunning minimalist hotel showcasing the talents of 10 of Mexico City's modern architects.
In the heart of Mexico City's swanky Polanco district is a dazzlingly chic glass-fronted house called 'Habita' - the brainchild of a group of architects called Ten (as in 10 architects) as a showcase for their talents. Leader of the group Enrique Norten says the architectural transformation of a grimy, derelict 1950s apartment block into the sleek and radiant hotel was "like performing surgery".

The resulting clean-lined modern and minimalist building is absolutely stunning to look at: stainless steel, sheets of glass and blond maple blend with white sonora and marble floors. And it's strong too - designed to withstand wind, suction and earthquakes. But it's the open air roof-top pool, Jacuzzi, health suite, sun terrace and juice bar with their views over the city skyscrapers that really steal the show (when Habita opened it instantly became a venue for fashion shoots). Welcome to modern Mexico.

Highs

  • The interiors blend stunning design and minimalist décor
  • You'll find a peaceful atmosphere in an otherwise busy city
  • The roof terrace has views of the city's skyscrapers
  • The clever room design has expanding doors
  • Polanco is full of chic restaurants and is only a short metro or taxi ride from the historic centre

Lows

  • It's very hot on the balconies outside the rooms, with no clear view because of the frosted glass
  • The rooms themselves can get cold - ask for a heater or extra blankets if you get chilly
  • Every floor does look the same
  • You might hear some noise from the bar at night

Best time to go

Mexico City can be enjoyed at any time of year, but you might want to avoid the hotter months of May and June, and the rainy season (June-September), when the capital experiences a downpour most afternoons. Busy times include the MACO Contemporary Arts Festival (April), the Pride march (late June), the Cake Festival (August) and Fashion Week (October).

Our top tips

You'll need stylish clothes and skimpy swimwear if you want to pose on the roof, along with some long-sleeved tops for cool evenings on the al fresco deck (although the fire and garden heaters should keep you warm enough). Bring some comfortable shoes for long hours pounding the streets window shopping and trekking to the museums.

Great for...

City Style
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Design Hotel
  • 36
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome, but not ideal
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Deluxe Twin

Rooms

The 32 white and light beige rooms and 4 junior suites reflect the hotel's contemporary design ethic. They're furnished with Eames chairs, glass desks and custom pieces by the 10 architects, and equipped with the latest in hi-tech, such as Sony Vega flat-screen TVs.

The rooms are very cleverly designed to turn into suites by closing a simple panel in the corridor running between 2 rooms. All have a pristine bathroom with a round kingsize bath ample enough to fit a couple (with legroom), as well as a minibar, a telephone with a direct-dial international call facility, voicemail, WiFi and an internet port. Most have a small private balcony or terrace; the suites also have a sitting area.

Custom-made items throughout the hotel include all the interior fittings, ceramic tableware, and the stainless steel pigeon holes used for storing room keys behind the translucent back-lit front desk.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

In the trendy restaurant, Aura, you can sample Mexican chef Lula Martin del Campo's unusual and inventive contemporary menu, and admire the modern art by Jan Hendrix which surrounds you. For starters, try the crab meat tostadas, the grilled asparagus soup with parmesan, or the camembert fondue. Then tuck into mains such as salmon salad, negro risotto with prawns, or zingy lemon and chile sea bass. Delicious.

Mexico City's trend setters have been enraptured by the AREA bar upstairs on the roof, with its sixth-floor skyline view. The highlight of the window-less al fresco space, however, is really the 12ft-long outdoor fireplace, surrounded by huge white lie-in-me sofas and garden heaters, that challenges the traditional concept of a rooftop bar.

There are other restaurants within strolling distance of Habita if you want to eat out, though most tend to have slightly higher tourist prices. Ask the front desk for recommendations.

Features include:

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

Activities

  • Laze by the stunning rooftop pool on one of the comfortable sun loungers

  • Have a relaxing massage (Swedish or Shiatsu), a reflexology treatment or a facial at the spa (see Rates for an idea of cost)

  • Sweat out your toxins in the sauna or Jacuzzi, followed by a healthy carrot and ginger drink from the juice and salad bar

  • Pose with a cocktail in the bar, while looking out over Mexico City

  • Follow the jogging route map provided by the hotel and explore the local area

  • Go shopping in Polcano, one of Mexico City's most exclusive districts

  • Visit Mexico's finest art galleries and museums, including the National Anthropology Musum - just a short walk away

  • Wander through the huge Chapultepec Park, just 10 minutes from the hotel. You'll find lakes, fountains, 9 museums, zoo gardens and occasional open-air music and dance performances

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Well being

Kids

This place isn't really designed for children - its aimed at leisure and business travellers who appreciate the minimalist style, the many mod cons and the sleek luxuries. However baby cots are available for free if required.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
8/
Value
9/
Overall

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Rates for Habita