Mexico City's Top Concierge Shares His Favorite Spots
Luxury boutique hotel Las Alcobas, one of our favorite spots in Mexico City, spent the pandemic giving its 35 guest rooms and suites an elegant refresh in partnership with designers Yabu Pushelberg. The public spaces (the lobby staircase!), Aurora spa, and in-house restaurant Anatol remain as striking, soothing, and delicious as ever. The hotel team also launched The Best of Mexico City, a collection of curated half- and full-day experiences designed to give guests a deeper understanding of local art, cuisine, architecture, and history. Guests can also work with chief concierge Aaron Caballero to personalize excursions based on their interests. We're always want to discover the lesser known spots in a city, and are only too happy that Aaron shared his favorites around town.
MEXICO CITY - When you think about Mexico City, the first thing that comes to mind are traffic and buildings — an urban jungle. Yet many spaces in the city remain untouched by the urban print, and nature remains a highlight in our metropolis. You just have to know where to look for it. These are some of my favorite spots.
A memorable and unique way to start the day is watching the sun rise amid the chinampas, the long and narrow floating gardens in Xochimilco, a neighborhood in southern Mexico City, where some sections date back a millennium. The chinampas were artificially built by Mesoamerican cultures on a shallow lake bed by layering soil, sediment, and decaying vegetation to grow cops. This sunrise ritual can be enhanced with a yoga sun salutations practice, followed by a traditional breakfast.
Because it’s not in the tourist corridor, one of my favorite buildings in the historical center, Antiguo Colegio de San Idelfonso, is always overlooked by visitors. In addition to being an architectonic wonder, the building is home to amazing murals by Clemente Orozco, David Siquieros, and Diego Rivera. You have to walk the halls to find them: My favorites are the ones hidden in corners on the top floor. Just behind San Idelfonso, the Secretaria de Educación Pública is also filled with Diego Rivera murals. Its large patios are a great place to bask in the peaceful and glorious early 20th-century architecture.
Hungry yet? Taquería Los Cocuyos is the unmissable spot downtown for street tacos. Order suadero (beef) or campechano (beef with chorizo) tacos from the hole in the wall and eat them like a true Mexican: standing up on the street. Add lemon and salsa, and you are having a true Mexico City experience. For something sweet to brighten your day, eat an original churro at El Moro with my all-time favorite Spanish-style hot chocolate. The chocolate is nice and thick, and when you dip the churro in it… well, you have to let me know what you think.
Luis Barragán is one the world’s most fascinating modern architects, and his by-appointment-only homes are a treat of color, space, geometry, and grandeur. Many fans know the UNESCO’s World Heritage site Casa Estudio Luis Barragán and Casa Gilardi. However, his first home was built right next to the Casa Estudio, Casa Ortega. It's my favorite of his homes because you can really see how Barragán explored and conceived his first ideas. The house has a surreal garden that he also designed. This is a fantastic site to wonder around for hours. Let me know when you are coming to get you the access inside the house, not just the gardens.
Finally, if you are in Mexico City on a Saturday, head to Plaza San Jacinto in the San Angel district for El Bazar Sábado. The arts and crafts bazaar brims with best handicrafts, artwork, and textiles in the city made by incredible artists who create the best in Mexican style, color, and fashion.
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Las Alcobas is the only hotel in Mexico that's part of Marriott's Luxury Collection. Rates start at $465/night. While many of these spots can be visited by anyone, it's often better to go with an expert who brings insight to the sites. The concierge team at Las Alcobas can arrange any and all of these experiences.