Mexico City has an endless variety of hospitality options – luxury boutiques, chain hotels, B&Bs, Airbnbs, and hostels. It can feel overwhelming trying to figure out which hotel and in what neighborhood.
One of my top choices for neighborhood ambiance and upscale comfort is Patio 77 in Colonia San Rafael. I suggest it for both first-time visitors that want a quiet and convenient stay near the Centro, and for travelers that have been to Mexico City a few times and are looking to explore a new, less touristy part of it.
The B&B hides behind the façade of a 19th century colonial mansion that, left to quietly decline by its owner, was snatched up and renovated by partners Diego Le Provost and Alan Favero in 2009.
This was before the San Rafael neighborhood began its upward popularity swing. The neighborhood is still in the first phase of what some called transformation and others, gentrification. The truth is it’s a little bit of both, but business owners Alan and Diego are trying hard to support the old-school businesses of San Rafael, and they care deeply about sustainable growth in the area. This is obvious in their community engagement and in the list of things to do and places to eat in San Rafael that each guest receives on arrival.
The colonia sits just northwest of the Centro and is an easy walk or cab ride to most of the city’s main attractions and museums. It is decidedly residential and tranquil. A stay at Patio 77 means a break from the hustle and bustle (although you can walk a few blocks to Ribera San Cosme if you miss the urban chaos). While there are plenty of restaurants here you won’t find the same nightlife as Condesa or Roma or the daytime traffic of the Juarez or Centro Historico.
Alan, passionate about art, is also the director of Taller Lu’um, an organization that connects young designers with rural artisans for collaborations on high-end home décor pieces. Appropriately, each of the eight rooms is named after a different Mexican state and features art and handicrafts from that part of Mexico. While my favorite room is the grandiose Oaxaca with its blood red ceiling, definitely check out the Jalisco room if you are into Huichol bead art — they have a breathtaking beaded cabinet in the living area — and
the Chiapas room if you want to see some vibrant hand embroidery.
The rooms are all one-beds, either King or Queen size, and all have abundant natural light, narrow, high-ceiled bathrooms, and double-paned glass windows just in case the city tries to intrude on your good night’s sleep. The hotel is eco-conscious with biodegrable bath products and glass water pitchers and glasses to cut down on plastic.
Little touches of greenery are everywhere as well as rotating artists’ work on the walls, and sturdy antique furniture. The décor is eclectic, but in good taste, with old-fashioned upholstered couches, the well-worn wooden staircase, and an intimate labyrinth of rooms. If your beloved grandmother were a rich matron at the turn of the century, this would be the kind of house she would have had.
Your stay includes breakfast from the hotel’s hacienda-style kitchen in a sun-filled patio with guidebooks and other reading material in a borrowing library. Patio 77 has no in-house spa or gym but they do contract with masseuses that will come direct to the hotel and have lots of resources at their disposal like an extensive list of tours, local services like laundry and drycleaning, and of course, lots of great eating and drinking suggestions. They also have a small area for working with use of a printer.
Finally, the staff is exceptionally friendly and helpful, offering a little hometown hospitality in the big city. Prices range from 134-191usd in the low season, 148-210usd in the high season. Insider’s tip: Come in April when the purple jacaranda trees are in full bloom. Check the hotel website for rates or compare prices at Hotelopia, Expedia or other booking sites.
Diclaimer: This hotel hosted me several years ago for a different piece I was writing. Despite that, all the opinions in this review are my own.