Villa Condesa

Condesa, Mexico City, Mexico Book from

Beautifully restored family-run Art Deco mansion, near leafy parks in one of Mexico City's classiest neighbourhoods
The Condesa neighbourhood is named after the Countess of Miravalle, an 18th-century noblewoman whose lands extended throughout this exclusive corner of Mexico City. Villa Condesa was one of many elegant mansions along the area's tree-lined boulevards that lay neglected as aristocratic families squabbled over inheritance - until the Nava family came to the rescue. Homero, a broadcast journalist, and his Nicaraguan wife Daisy (with a little help from their 2 teenage sons) spent 3 years renovating the building until its recent reincarnation as a chic, 13-room boutique hotel. Exterior structures like the wrought-iron entrance gate and creamy white portico with its stone columns and carvings were kept. Inside, bamboo plants now reach up to glass-and-steel skylights and modern art graces muted walls of mauve.

Despite its cool makeover, the hotel has a warm ambiance - on arrival you'll be greeted by at least one of the Nava family, who will help with your luggage then set down a frosty Corona for you in the stylish interior courtyard that doubles as a dining terrace. A perfect fit into this fashionable barrio of smart bars and upscale restaurants, Villa Condesa fits even more pleasantly around its guests.

Highs

  • Tranquil atmosphere of a cultured home rather than a show hotel
  • Thoughtful touches like bowls of fruit and umbrellas throughout the house; free bikes to borrow
  • The cheery red kitchen is open to guests if you fancy a cup of tea or popping in a laundry load
  • Small but professional staff of family and friends so service is always personal and smiley
  • Safe, quiet and very attractive neighbourhood

Lows

  • No restaurant per se, more an open-air dining terrace that offers breakfast, lunch and supper on a small scale
  • Limited car parking on the street but you're just a 5-minute walk to the nearest Metro station
  • No swimming pool or spa

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

Homero (who speaks excellent English) has an interesting background as a television journalist - when you get a chance, ask him about his experiences in Central American war zones and meeting Fidel Castro.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
Eco
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 13
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • Over 12s are welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Whether its above the quiet street or overlooking the plant-filled courtyard, all 13 rooms (1 Executive, 3 Classic, 8 Deluxe and 1 Club) are decorated with subtle flair. Walls are painted distinctive colours - olive green, burnt orange, crimson red - and wood-strip floors are polished to a high sheen. Refurbished wardrobes and wingback chairs from the city's antique markets are offset by high-wire spot lighting and industrial-chic shower rooms.

Our first-floor Deluxe, number 110, was a slate-coloured corner room with windows that opened onto a narrow veranda above the inner courtyard. Across the hall, number 112 had a small terrace with table and chairs; at the front of the house, Deluxe number 107 had a pair of French doors opening onto Juliet balconies facing the trees. We loved the smoked-glass walkway with gun-metal railings beside Executive Room number 114, overlooking the sitting room of moleskin sofas and tiled floors below, sunlit by the vast skylight above.

All rooms have raised beds stacked with fresh cotton pillows and linen; state your preference for double or twin beds when booking. Bathrooms have thick sinks and power showers; some (rooms 101, 103, 107 & 109) have marble baths. All the necessary tech gadgets - phones, WiFi, plasma TV with cable - are here; nothing seems out of place in these clean, classic and comfortable rooms.

Features include:

  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer (on request)
  • Iron (on request)
  • Phone
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

One section of Villa Condesa's lovely interior courtyard is domed with glass, and here, like a little oasis with potted trees and flowers, are tables for dining. At breakfast, there is one large square communal table and some smaller ones for those who aren't good with groups before noon. But even non-morning people will appreciate the excellent Mexican coffee poured liberally and immediately. A bowl of fruit and a basket of bread will precede a hot dish of huevos or, as we had one morning, a traditional sope (an open-faced tortilla) with tomato, avocado and cheese.

We were happy we opted for dinner on our first night. Our meal began with a fish soup, followed by a rosa y verde pargo - a whole red snapper with a terrific salsa duo of spicy tomato and spinach/avocado. Villa Condesa will be offering reasonably priced set 2-course meals like this every evening, as well as lunches. You can choose from chicken or beef, fish and pasta dishes plus vegetables - Chef is keen to cater for every requirement. The dining terrace also has an espresso machine plus bottles and glasses at one end, which constitutes the honesty bar area - help yourself to a range of beers, soft drinks, sparkling mineral water, tequila, rum, whisky and vodka.

But if you prefer to eat out, the neighbourhood is chock-a-block with restaurants - stroll along Amsterdam Avenue encircling the Parque Mexico. Baja-inspired seafood can be found at Merotoro and we really liked the tuna tacos at Second. The cheap-and-cheerful taqueria of El Califa on calle Alfonso Reyes has tasty arrachera (flank steak) tacos; some say the best in town.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Communal dining
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

Condesa:

  • Stroll along the leafy boulevards and admire the Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture that give this neighourhood a real European feel

  • Borrow a bike and cycle along the pathways in Parque Espana and Mexico - watch out for dog walkers who sometimes have 15 perros on the go; Bosque de Chapultepec is a large park which houses the Museum of Anthropology

  • Shop for haute couture in Velvet Oak, funky accessories in Destructible or go retro in Chic by Accident - design boutiques abound; there's also a Sunday flea market

  • Bar-hop along the many outdoor cafes and drinking spots that line Avenidas Mazatlán and Insurgentes

  • Villa Condesa's Chef gives cooking classes where you can learn how to make Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, enfrijoladas, mole de olla and chilaquiles

  • Check out avant-garde art in galleries like Labor or the latest decorative crafts and jewellery in Pladi
Centro Historico:
  • Visit the impressive Zocalo, the largest city square in Latin America - a good viewpoint is the roof-top restaurant of the Portal de Mercaderes, or stay on the ground and watch the demos and street dancers

  • Wander the ruins of the Templo Mayor - amazingly, this Aztec temple in the middle of the city was not discovered until the late 70s (don't miss the massive stone statues in the museum alongside)

  • Tour the grand Palacio Nacionale - Diego Rivera's famous murals of Mexican history adorn the main stairwell and walls overlooking the baroque courtyard (look out for all the cats in the garden)

  • Gape at the expanse of this vast city from the 44th floor of Torre LatinoAmericana - built in the mid '50s, this skyscraper has survived 2 major earthquakes and is considered an engineering landmark

  • Cultivate your culture vulture at the magnificent Palacio de Bellas Artas - art, music, dance, theatre and opera all emanate from this Art Deco building

  • Villa Condesa can also arrange private day tours to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan and Las Estacas, where you can swim in spring waters; 2 hours out of the city

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Arts and performance
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

This polished boutique villa isn't really a place for babies, toddlers or tearaways; quieter older children may be welcome.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Babysitting:

By arrangement

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

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

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