Mexico City‘s historic downtown was for years a kind of hotel no-mans land. While some of the city’s most important landmarks are located in this area (the Zocalo, the Metropolitan Cathedral, Diego Rivera’s murals) the streets have been notoriously short on nightlife and good, quality hotels. In the past ten years, renovations in the Centro have encouraged young people to move back downtown and various hip new hotels have opened including Downtown Mexico City and the Historico Central.
Historico Central is one of two hotels in neighborhood run by the Central Hoteles group. They are also responsible for the new look of the Holiday Inn on the Zocalo, rebranded Zocalo Central. Historico Central, while minus the Zocalo Central‘s stunning views of the city’s main plaza, is a seamless addition to one of the city’s oldest and most well preserved neighborhoods.
The Central Hoteles’ concept for both hotels, and the 8 more they plan to build in the next 10 years, is a combination of antique and modern, with strong fidelity to their Mexican cultural and historical roots. The hotel’s building is a converted colonial mansion with much of its original facade and various architectural flourishes preserved. You will find original ironwork, open-beamed ceilings, carved wooden moldings and antique lamps mixed with a simple, contemporary black and white color scheme, an indoor vertical garden and modern amenities.
Historico Central has 81 rooms that fall into 6 different categories: Standard, Standard Double, Deluxe, Deluxe Double, Superior and Premier Terrace. Rooms start around 150usd in the low season and range up to about 210usd. For the high season, add about 50usd in each category. The room size varies ever-so-slightly as you go up the list but by far the most ample feeling is the Deluxe Double, with two streetside balconies that face Bolivar street and overlook the orderly chaos that is the Centro Historico. No need to worry about noise, all the windows are double-paned and each room includes artisanal, Mexican-made bath products, lockboxes big enough for a laptop and a Dolce Gusto coffeemaker. The higher-end rooms also provide bathrobes, slippers, shavers, shaving cream and some other little extras. The combination of old and new in the décor provides a warm, yet crisp feeling to all of the hotel’s spaces.
Other extras that you are sure to like are the apples and water free for guests in each of the common areas and the Cafe Central whose products are included in the price of the room – this small to-go cafe sits just outside the lobby and offers sandwiches, coffee drinks, soda and juices (the only thing you pay separately for is wine and beer). They also have a killer breakfast buffet with Mexican favorites like spicy chilaquiles and tamales as well as with delicious homemade breads and cold meats and cheeses.
Definitely opt for a room on a higher floor if you want lots of natural light, the higher you go, the lighter it is as the rooms center around an skylight-lit patio. Also try for one of the junior suites, in particular with a terrace that faces the Torre Latinoamericana for great nighttime views of the city.
While not as hipster-chic as the Downtown Hotel, Historico Central holds it own as a great option for staying in the Centro, with a slightly cheaper price tag. They have a full-service concierge that will reserve, plan or arrange any excursion you want to do in the city and the staff is consistently friendly, from the housekeepers to the front desk. If you are driving into the city they offer a garage check-in and free valet parking at a safe, secure parking lot nearby. Their downstairs cafe space, surrounded by a locally-designed vertical garden is a great option for working or just enjoying a cup of coffee.
Historico Central offers a perfect option for travelers looking for a step above the Centro’s chain hotels and an intimate feeling location with personalized customer service. Rates start a shade over $100. Book direct at their website or check prices on Hotels.com or Expedia.