When I visited Mexico City, I split my visit and stayed in both Polanco and Condesa, two wonderful Mexico City neighborhoods. The instant I read about the Red Tree House, I 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 that I received for my 10-year anniversary at 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.
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 equivalent of Michigan Avenue – from Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and plenty of luxury car dealers. This is also where I had a food tour with Mexican Food Tours.
My room at the Hyatt was very comfortable, with a king bed and a window overlooking the park. Shortly after my arrival, I watched a thunderstorm roll over the city, from my large picture window.
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.
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?!
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.
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 super nice. As we entered the courtyard, I knew already I was going to love this place!
My room was lovely, with a sitting area, dining and small kitchen in addition to the bedroom. I could just move right into this room!
And of course, the house dog was a welcome addition!
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!
I really enjoyed getting a feel for these two Mexico City 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.
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 also felt safe at night, plus the various monuments are quite beautiful when lit up at night.
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!