I have just landed at Benito Juarez International airport in Mexico City .
This time I have decided to avoid ‘chain’ hotels and explore more of an authentic atmosphere of town ,connecting with unfamiliar flavors, ( I have a lot of cousins and an aunts here) . I want to be able to experience a new sensation in a destination with strong cultural roots that preserves a local feel in the era of globalization : after all it is not a secret that Mexico City has become a cosmopolitan metropolis that is bustling with new venues and «avant garde» cultural events.
I had visited recently visited the recent and charming Hotel the Americano in Manhattan, owned by the Grupo Habita renowned to be a great example of “boutique chic” style and which apparently far from being a corporation, it is the umbrella name for the diverse collection of hotels owned, managed or inspired by the brothers Moises and Rafael Micha Smeke, whose family is of Syrian descent. Their love of fine design and art, as well as of Mexico and its culture, are written all over their five boutique hotels.
Since then, I ‘ve heard much about the Micha’s good taste, but you know, a hotel , a travel experience , are just like a movie, you want to se it for yourself to be able to have a proper opinion and here I am to my cousins’s driver Omar, CONDESAdf please.
Condesa is currently the trendy-artsy district of town. Walking through its streets one feels the energy where booming businesses and a bohemian spirit cohabitate effortlessly. The air is energized. The Art Nouveau façades, pleasant streets and green spaces that began to emerge with the turn of the twentieth century, gave birth to the liberal spirit and humor that exists today.
Tina Modotti and Edward Weston, a legendary couple of the 1920’s, were emblematic figures of this area. The charm of CONDESAdf is its rhythmical way of blending the past and the future. In the last decade, bars, art galleries and restaurants have flourished in this exclusive perimeter but the urban adventure of CONDESAdf has just begun!
The eye-catching red 1952 Chevy parked permanently outside the hotel, which has been recreated as a giant wind-up toy, complete with a huge key and a dummy driver. I have come down from the taxi and tried to wind the car up, it suddenly plays the famous Mexican song called Veracruz. Definately, I am in the right place.
Named after and inspired by the neighborhood, CONDESAdf «a 40-room hotel» opened its doors on January 2005. The Parisian style building from 1928 is located on the crossroads of leafy streets while facing the luscious Parque España. CONDESAdf was well worth the wait.
With a smile larger than life avoiding stuffy front desk area where the greeting feels like a stiff formal ceremony , Edward, the experienced concierge , receives us into a bright green walled central lobby. ( Green is the color of hope) – ‘ Welcome to Condesa DF, the breakfast table was just set on the patio next door would you like to sit down while we take your luggage ?I guarantee you will love your corner suite.”
Feels like a stiff formal ceremony. Beyond the central lobby everything happens around a shaded and flourished inner patio, designed after those of Mexican haciendas. All floors have a walk along balcony overlooking the inner patio. The shutters along the balcony floors filter the light, blending sun and shade creating a chiaroscuro effect that is soothing to the eye.
Keisuke Harada, created a delicious menu that mixes produce found in Mexican markets. The result is a new cuisine concept that we like to call «modern basic». If your figure is important to you, the hotel staff also preoccupies itself with your well being in unexpected ways. While guests can use the full gym services of a nearby health club CONDESAdf offers boxing classes in the energy room, a hammam and an outdoor therme where you can sweat away any stress, and massage therapists, if you want to end a long day relaxed. For now the precious, simple but so delicious organic breakfast is exactly what I need to unwind from my trip.
The hotel design is the result of a recruited a dream team : Blending perfectly with its surroundings it would not have been possible without the synergy of international and Mexican talents such as the upcoming Mexican architect Javier Sánchez who oversaw the restoration of the building, the Parisian India Mahdavi, «hot name» of design and architecture who conceived the interior spaces and design and Jonathan Morr whose work , synonymous with contemporary New York style, is responsible for overseeing the restaurants finalizing with Ich&Kar, acclaimed graphic designers were also involved to define the character and the image of the hotel. In addition to this team, local artist Betsabeé Romero contributed to the subtle artwork of the building.
We are taken to the gorgeous corner suite. The attention to such absurd details is really what makes this hotel apparently such a special place to stay.
The rooms is a sensual and peaceful oasis. CONDESAdf is a rare retreat from the rapid pace of Mexico City. The high ceilings, the walnut headboards facing the windows and overlooking the jacarandas in bloom, the hand woven rugs from Oaxaca, all add special local touches. All products and material are 100% natural. The amenities from Malin + Goetz of New York were specially created for CONDESAdf. The trendy local magazines, a well designed room menu of amenities, a vintage style botteld water, the bathtub overlooking a quite terrace with blooming shrubs . Not least, the efficient service, the state of the art technology (iPOD’s and flat screen TV’s), and the wireless and high speed internet access not to loose the modernity touch of business travel.
CONDESAdf is about modernity . The hotel emphasizes the unconventional codes of a new chic that is both informal and relaxed. The classical contemporary furniture created by India Mahdavi sets the tone that is at once simple and glamorous while also cool and pop. Hence, the ambiance is always on the edge. From the bar to the boudoir, from the restaurant to the dance club, from the patio to the splendid but cozy terraza, CONDESAdf offers a myriad of new experiences. CONDESAdf feels better than home.
Nowadays, when we spend more and more time in planes and on the road, the new luxury, at a hotel, consists of having all the comforts of home, along with the touches and design innovations we may not have imagined.
In CONDESAdf the sense of intimacy is the key for a new «art de vivre». The shutters along the balcony floors filter the light, blending sun and shade creating a chiaroscuro effect that is soothing to the eye but mostly dear friends soothing the soul.