Glass goes Downtown in Mexico City

MEXICO City is a chaotic sprawl of street food, bright colours and bustling culture. A short and delightfully cheap taxi ride ($100MX or £4.50) can take you from Mexico City airport to the heart of the historic city centre. A must-see for anyone visiting Mexico’s capital, the historic centre is filled with beautiful colonial buildings and monuments dating back to the 16th century – and yes, you can stay in one too.

The art in Downtown Mexico Hotel. The art in Downtown Mexico Hotel.

Off the bustling cobbled streets, in a magnificent 17th century palace, you’ll find Downtown Mexico Hotel, a Unesco World Heritage site. As I step into the courtyard that leads you to the reception of this 17-bed boutique hotel, I can’t help but look up at the exquisite trees that knot their way ten metres into the sky, their roots surrounded by tables of locals and visitors enjoying Mexican food at the separately owned restaurant Azul Historico.

Restaurant Azul HistoricoRestaurant Azul Historico

After a smooth and swift check-in, we take the modern, moodily-lit lifts two floors up to our bedroom, passing by red volcanic rock walls and an exquisite mural created by Mexican painter Manuel Rodríguez Lozano in 1944.

Our industrial style room has incredible high-vaulted stone brick ceilings complete with warm lighting and terracotta brickwork, but offers little privacy thanks to the see-through bathroom doors. It’s not a typical hotel layout as the ground floor entrance is filled with busy shops and a restaurant, but as I take the lift up to the hotel floor, away from the hustle and bustle, I still feel instantly relaxed.

Entrance to Downtown Mexico Hotel with intricate wrought-iron bannistersEntrance to Downtown Mexico Hotel with intricate wrought-iron bannisters

Breakfast area of Downtown Mexico HotelBreakfast area of Downtown Mexico Hotel

Colonial Queen bedroom with terra-cotta brickworkColonial Queen bedroom with terra-cotta brickwork

I don’t waste any time finding my way up to the rooftop, where i experience great views of the surrounding historical buildings and make use of the pool, jacuzzi and bar. To be in the centre of Mexico yet still somewhere so relaxing and beautiful feels like I’ve been let into a secret that I don’t want to share.

The plants, nature and surrounding 17th century buildings make this the perfect tranquil escape from the busy streets. Guests can reserve the bright yellow sunbeds – then lie on them while sipping on a Mexican cocktail; my favourite is the Carajillo, similar to a Spanish version of an espresso martini.

Downtown Mexico Hotel Terrace BarDowntown Mexico Hotel Terrace Bar

The pool at Downtown Mexico HotelThe pool at Downtown Mexico Hotel

Although I could happily spend hours enjoying the amazing hotel amenities, I want to explore the surrounding area. It’s the start of spring and – being the dry season – a great time to visit Mexico. I walk to the Palacio de Bellas Artes, where I check out some of Diego Riviera’s murals.

The Palacio de Bellas Artes is a must-visit, particularly on a Sunday when entry is free. Along with magnificent murals, it has modern art exhibitions, music, dance, theatre and opera events, and it’s conveniently located close to Museo Mural Diego Rivera – home to one of Diego Riviera’s most famous murals which was rescued from Hotel del Prado when it was severely damaged in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake.

The jacuzzi at Downtown Mexico HotelThe jacuzzi at Downtown Mexico Hotel

After quenching my appetite for art it is time to search out some Mexican street food. A few minutes from the hotel is Los Cocuyas, an Anthony Bourdain-approved local hangout which offers some of the best suadero (brisket) tacos in Mexico City, at under £1 per taco. Los Cocuyas is open 24 hours for late-night taco cravings.

Mexico’s capital is a highly walkable city, but there are plenty other ways to get around, including Uber, a modern metro system and – if you’re brave enough – the Mexican equivalent of Santander Bikes, Ecobici, which are dotted around the city and cost £5 or 118 pesos a day.

After sightseeing, I’m stuffed and have my mind on one of Downtown Mexico Hotel’s bright yellow sunbeds. I return to the calming oasis in the heart of the city.

by Georgia Weisz

A 2 night stay at Downtown Mexico Hotel starts at £183 per night in a Colonial Queen room.

For additional information, visit Downtown Mexico or to view rates visit Design Hotels.