Mexico City – a Tale of 2 Neighborhoods

I recently spent a long weekend in Mexico City and was able to split my time between two neighborhoods.  I’d previously read about the Red Tree House and knew I wanted to stay there.  However, with solo travel, lodging can be the biggest expense and I’m not a hostel girl!  (Hostile, maybe, if I’m hangry! ) I had a Hyatt gift card from my company so I decided to stay two nights at the Hyatt Regency Mexico City, and then two nights at the Red Tree House.  Normally, I find changing hotels mid-trip to be a pain, but in this case, it actually worked out really well and I would recommend this approach for urban vacations as you get a better feel for different neighborhoods.

9/10 - oddly enough, my hotel (The Hyatt Regency) is in this picture - just off the wing, on the edge of the park.  Of course, I didn't know that at the time!

Hyatt Regency - Polanco, Mexico City

The Hyatt ($149/night) is in the Polanco neighborhood, which I likened to the Gold Coast of Chicago.  The street also has a W Hotel, JW Marriott and Intercontinental, all lined up against the greenery of Bosque de Chapultepec.  (you can see the hotels just left of the park in the first photo above)  A few blocks away is Avenue Maseryk, the DF’s version of Michigan Avenue – from Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and plenty of luxury car dealers.  This is also where I had a food tour.

My room at the Hyatt was quite nice, with a king bed and a window overlooking the park.

Hyatt Regency - Polanco, Mexico City

I felt very safe wandering the Polanco neighborhood, and it was very easy to find my way around.  The streets are lined with mansions and lots of parks and restaurants.  You are in walking distance to so many attractions, as well as the Auditorium which is the starting point of several bus tours.

9/10 Polanco neighborhood

Two of the restaurants I tried in Polanco that I would recommend are Agua y Sal and Guzina Oaxaca, where I sampled several moles and had sope (not sopa) for the first time – where has this been my whole life?!

Polanco Food Tourhttp://www.mexicanfoodtours.comFirst Stop:  Guzina Oaxaca - mole!

After two nights, it was time to check out and move on to the Condesa neighborhood, where a garden room at the Red Tree House awaited me.  I read that Condesa is comparable to London’s Notting Hill, or NYC’s East Bay.  For a Chicago comparison, it had a Lincoln Park/Bucktown feel, although without the chain stores.

9/12 TuribusCondesa neighborhood

When I arrived at the Red Tree House ($90/night – discount for cash payment), I was given an upgrade from a garden room to an upstairs suite, which was quite nice.  As we entered the courtyard, I knew already I was going to love this place!

Red Tree House B&B - Condesa

My room was lovely, with a sitting area, dining and small kitchen in addition to the bedroom.

The Red Tree House B&B - Condesa

The Red Tree House B&B - Condesa

And of course, the house dog was a welcome addition!

Red Tree House B&B - Condesa

Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much time to explore Condesa as one full day was taken up by my trip to Teotihuacan, but the neighborhood had a lot going on in terms of places to drink and dine!  I did find the streets a bit more confusing – they were not on a grid as they seemed to be in other neighborhoods, but I was still able to find my way to Maque bakery and back after dark!

Maque bakery in Condesa - stocking up for the next day's breakfast

I really enjoyed getting the feel for these two neighborhoods and will consider this approach again for other city vacations.  While Polanco offers a more upscale, sterile environment with the comforts of chain hotels and retail stores, Condesa has more of a “boutique” atmosphere.  I feel that the Red Tree House is not to be missed on your visit to Mexico City.

Red Tree House B&B - Condesa

A 3rd neighborhood, if you can call it that, is along the Avenue Reforma.  I saw several big name hotels here as well, including Le Meridien, Sheraton and Marriott.  This area has a lot to offer if you like the comforts of home wherever you are – I saw lots of chain restaurants, shopping malls, etc.  It’s centrally located, and felt safe at night, plus the various monuments are quite beautiful when lit up at night.

Mexico City

Whenever you go, wherever you stay, I can’t recommend Mexico City enough as a destination for a long weekend.  I think a 3rd night in Condesa would have been the perfect itinerary for my trip and hope I’ll be back again someday!

For all of my Mexico City photos, click here!

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