Situated in the heart of one of Oaxaca City’s most delightful neighborhoods, Barrio de Jalatlaco, City Centro Oaxaca hotel, a City Express hotel, is a great base to explore the surrounding area.
Enter from Aldama street and the hotel’s central patio greets you with a collection of forest green couches, tables, and chairs set up umbrellas, the hotel’s pink interior walls glowing in the morning sun. A small cactus garden sit up a single step in an area dominated by a large pochote tree, with hanging wicker lamps that glitter in the evenings once the sun goes down.
The patio is a great place to start the day with a cup of coffee and breakfast or enjoy the afternoon sunshine. There are few other smaller inner courtyards, each with comfortable seating and a few cacti to keep you company.
In the front part of the hotel facing the street is a small bar that connects to a breakfast room on one side, but it was closed when we visited due to Covid. It would be a good place to get a drink and enjoy the city scene outside. Upstairs is the pool and lounge area with a beautiful view of the church across the street and, when we were there, the gorgeous magenta flowers blooming on the amapolla trees that guard it.
The pool is luxurious in the hot Oaxacan sun and the City Centro Oaxaca lounge area is great for drinks in the evening. The cocktails exceeded my expectations for a hotel bar and the bartender was helpful and friendly. If I had one complaint it would be that the music in the lounge area was about 10 songs on a loop that got a little old after awhile.
Cocktails can be had until 11 and food ordered until 10:30. The lunch and dinner menu at City Centro Oaxaca is the same and that, as well as the breakfast menu, are limited to about a half a dozen dishes – a mix of Oaxacan plates like tasajo and mole, along with international items like hamburgers and club sandwiches – as well as a few salads and soups.
With so much amazing food in Oaxaca, I don’t know how tempted you will be to stay in the hotel, but this menu will do in a pinch when your options are limited. A basic continental buffet breakfast is included – cereal, bananas, a sweet roll, coffee, etc – or you can order items a la carte from the breakfast menu like chilaquiles or waffles.
Rooms are either king-size singles or doubles with two queens, all with flat-screen TVs, comfortable beds, and Oaxacan textile designs on the walls that make them a little homier than standard rooms. The room we stayed in felt a little tight, especially in the bathroom, so if space is important be sure to upgrade to get a double.
Black-out curtains make the place pitch black which I love, even if it does make waking up in the morning impossible. Our room, set in the back part of the third floor was extremely quiet and peaceful. Each room includes basic toiletries, an iron and ironing board, a safe for valuables, clothes hangers, a hairdryer, and a small desk and chair for working. A few rooms face the street, but the majority face the hotel’s various inner courtyards.
As part of the City Express chain (a popular hotel chain throughout Mexico), City Centro Oaxaca does have some aspects to it that feel a little corporate, but you can tell that its designers have truly tried to give the hotel that extra touch with plants and décor that make it memorable – I almost bought a painting they had hanging by a local artist of a female revolutionary I liked it so much.
By far one of the hotel’s most tempting attributes is its location in the Barrio de Jalatlaco, an adorable collection of blocks with small cafes, narrow, walkable streets, and little bars. It’s lively without feeling touristy and is close enough to the heart of the Centro Historico that you can easily walk there in about 20 minutes.
The price, the location, the touches of art and greenery here and there, all make City Centro Oaxaca a great choice for staying in Oaxaca City. As chain hotels go, this one has much more heart and style than most and will welcome you with true Oaxacan hospitality.