The New Bohemian South of the Border

Text by Heather Bradley

Mexico City, like a brilliant but misunderstood teenager, often gets a bad rap. It’s polluted, there’s crime, it’s too hot, too cold, too inland or too expensive. While the accuracy of these impressions vary wildly by neighborhood, season and the individual’s perspective, none of them apply at the Condesa DF, a frankly beautiful boutique hotel in Condesa, an emerging upscale bohemian district. Chic without being chi-chi, designer India Mahdavi’s friendly modernism is as welcoming as it is enlightening. It’s one of those places that makes you feel cooler upon arrival.

Cruising through the lush lobby, you walk through a ground-floor restaurant which provides an indoor/outdoor feel. Located in the center of the hotel’s atrium, it evokes a garden patio with ample flora and swish details like deco ashtrays and zebra-striped banquettes. The color palette of the hotel is organic yet energetic, moss greens, bold turquoises and smooth walnuts, while towering walls of white shutters create a dazzling, transformative effect.
The rooms have a casual blend of luxury, simplicity and functionality. While there are varying levels of suites, many come with outdoor terraces, accessible through sliding glass doors that form a clean line from bedroom to bathroom. You can actually open the window to score an outdoor shower and/or bath. In-room iPods, decadent mini-bars, refreshingly small flat-screen TVs and cozy blankets, hand-woven in Oaxaca and not for sale (although believe me, we tried) are all unexpected comforts.

The blankets make a cameo in the upstairs patio, a decadent and surprisingly comfortable couch-laden area with a view of the stars overlooking the verdant Parque España. There’s a fully functional sushi restaurant and thermal bath. It’s all the atmosphere and rarified hedonism of an LA or New York rooftop bar, sans the vacant waitstaff and beat businessmen clientele.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit that I was on my honeymoon. While staying in a cardboard box would have likely evoked lengthy ruminations on the charming minimalism and ecological advantages of box-based accommodations, you don’t need the high of recent matrimony to appreciate the whimsical sophistication of a weekend at the Condesa DF.