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How genuine hospitality and well-executed design can shape your experience of a place. A design and travel report by Alice Blackwood.



May 16th, 2013

No matter where in the world you are, when you’re checking in to a premium hotel – the Sheraton Hotel or The Westin for example, you know exactly the quality of experience you’re going to get – whether it’s the service, the space, or the special touches unique to that brand of hospitality.

condessadf mexico design hotels terrace

Condesa Rooftop Terrace

But if you’re a design and travel nut, like me, then checking in to a Design Hotel will offer you a very different kind of experience: one that is customised to the country you’re in, and quite authentic in its design and cultural offering.

condessadf mexico design hotels suite

Condesa Suite

In Mexico City (DF) recently – a metropolis famed for its staggering size and dangerous streets, yet lusciously beautiful attractions and dynamic inner-city neighbourhoods  – I checked in to the Condesa DF, a cool, collected Design Hotel situated in the bohemian district of Condesa, in inner-city DF.

condesa df bathroom and bedroom design hotel

Condesa Room and ensuite

The Condesa DF, set within a 1928 French neo-classical building, is subtly ingrained within the suburb as both a hotel and meeting place for the surrounding community.

condessadf mexico design hotels bar

Condesa’s Bar

And this is just as the interior designer of the hotel, India Mahdavi, intended it: “I wanted to create a place that is more than a just a hotel, more than a restaurant, not quite a home, but a pleasant place to be in,” Mahdavi says.

shuttered atrium condesa df

“I wanted to introduce the feel of Europe to Mexicans and the feel of Mexico to foreigners in an understated place that can grow in synergy with the neighbourhood.”

With an open-air café-bar-restaurant set on the ground floor, Mahdavi with architect Javier Sánchez has created an opening into the hotel that allows for an easy exchange between street and building.

atrium condesa df

As a result visitors and locals tend to intermingle in the most subtle of fashions, sharing in the most universal of pastimes: food and drink.

terrace on rooftop summer condesa df

Condesa’s Rooftop Terrace

A central void which stretches up through the heart of the building opens multiple levels of accommodation out to that central patio below.

Yet privacy and seclusion are maintained by clever shutters which close the open-air walkways off into dark, quiet hallways.  And the rooms lie beyond.

room details condesa df mexico

Condesa Rooms

A simple and glamorous retreat, the hotel, while offering a welcome retreat, simultaneously draws you out.

rooms and private terrace design hotels condesa df

Condesa Rooms

Exploring beyond Condesa the juxtaposition of old against new is curious and exhilarating – particularly to the Australian eye, which is schooled to the forms of 21st century architecture.

The ruins of Aztec temples rise defiantly from the 21st century landscape of inner-city housing and Mexican urbanites.

Downtown Mexico photo: Undine Pröhl

Downtown Hotel, Mexico

The most harmonious and classical of architecture houses radical modernist artwork, and design-led developers and hoteliers are transforming 17th century palaces into habitable social hubs.

downtown hotel mexico

Downtown Hotel, Mexico

downtown undine

Downtown Hotel, Mexico

It’s an experience that has been uniquely facilitated by the Condesa DF, a Mexican-designed hotel that hones your appreciation for the culture’s unique form of hospitality.

It’s a hotel that pays homage to the ancient architectural fabric of its city, and accentuates the way in which the people of DF move throughout its many spaces.

Design Hotels


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