Chasing Chilaquiles: The St. Regis Mexico City
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To The Point
The St. Regis Mexico City is a polished luxury hotel that caters to business travelers but works for tourists, too. Pros: Central location, great service and large, luxurious rooms. Cons: Its buttoned-down nature doesn’t match the rest of the design-centric city and there was a lingering odor coming from the bathroom.
The largest city in North America, Mexico City has long loomed near the top of my must-visit list, and after spending a long weekend in the Mexican capital, I’m already planning another trip. If you’ve been thinking about whether to visit this massive city, do it. Few rival it in terms of cultural offerings, never mind the food scene.
When I gathered a small group of friends to celebrate my birthday in Mexico City, I had to find a hotel that would accommodate four of us comfortably. There was no shortage of trendy hotels tucked in the leafy neighborhoods of the city, but most of those spots had very small rooms, and if you wanted a room with two beds, you had to pay dearly for it. Nor was there a shortage of new, high-rise hotels with larger rooms and more space. However, many of these weren’t ideally located for where all the action (food) was.
That’s how I settled on The St. Regis — it was a Goldilocks hotel choice for this trip, featuring spacious rooms with two beds without an egregious upcharge. Plus, it occupied a prime piece of real estate in the Distrito Federal, right on the city’s main thoroughfare and a short walk away from many of the city’s top restaurants, bars and attractions.
This St. Regis property is a Category 6 in the Marriott Bonvoy award chart, meaning a free night will cost you 50,000 points. Cash rates fluctuate quite a bit, depending on when you visit. They run anywhere from $210 to over $600 per night. I was going to be in the city for four nights, so a Marriott fifth-night-free points reservation was out of the question. Thankfully, though, cash rates were reasonable at $273 per night when I visited, so I decided to pay for two nights with points (100,000 total) and two with cash (about $650 total after taxes and fees).
Since it’s a Category 6 property, The St. Regis Mexico City is eligible for free-night certificates that come with premium Marriott cobranded credit cards such as the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. You’ll also earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership. Offer ends 5/12/2021.
The St. Regis is housed in one of Mexico City’s glittering skyscrapers along the Paseo de la Reforma, the city’s showcase boulevard that’s home to the landmark “Ángel de la Independencia” statue, which seems to keep watch over the entire metropolis.
Before I booked my stay, I brushed off The St. Regis even as an option, because I assumed it was strictly a business hotel and not near anywhere I wanted to be spending my time in CDMX. However, once I began to plot the trip out, I realized that The St. Regis was very centrally located, near the trendy neighborhoods of La Condesa, Roma and Roma Norte as well as the well-heeled Polanco. And it was practically at the doorstep of Parque Chapultapec, the city’s gigantic green lung.
I arrived on a Thursday at midmorning, and traffic wasn’t terrible, luckily. It took about 35 minutes and cost only about $9 in an Uber to get from Mexico City International Airport (MEX) to the hotel.
From the street, I entered the hotel on the ground floor, where bellhops were waiting to assist me with baggage (or welcome you back to the hotel if you’d already checked in).
From there, I took an elevator up to the actual lobby of the hotel. As expected (the entire hotel is glass), it was filled with light and decorated tastefully and elegantly in typical St. Regis fashion.
I was greeted by a check-in agent, who asked if I wanted a glass of Champagne while checking in — I enthusiastically accepted his offer. There were no issues with the check-in process, and the agent explained St. Regis butler service and gave me the keys to my room. The bellhops from the ground-floor lobby had already taken my bags up to the room.
I booked a deluxe guest room with two queen beds, and that’s what I was assigned. No upgrade was offered, though to be fair I also didn’t ask about one — I was eager to get out into the city to explore, so it completely slipped my mind.
My first impression of the room was that it felt especially large — there was a foyer of sorts that led into the main room, which I think added to the spacious feeling.
Floor-to-ceiling glass windows help make a room feel bigger, too, I suppose.
Immediately to the right upon entering was the bathroom, which featured a separate water closet, double vanity and a separate shower and soaking tub. As we’d later find out, the bathroom would soon be the source of a foul smell that wasn’t particularly strong but lingered for the last two days of our stay. It couldn’t be fixed, either.
The shower was beautiful and had a powerful shower head that delivered piping hot water — perfect after a long day of walking and exploring.
The bathtub looked a little dark and tucked away behind the shower, so I didn’t partake. One of my friends did and enjoyed it.
Toiletries were the standard St. Regis Remède products. They were replaced generously by housekeeping.
Back in the main room, there were, of course, the two queen beds dressed in white linens, both of which were accented by black and deep purple leather headboards. I liked the rich tones throughout the room — they were a nice contrast to the airy feeling created by the glass and high ceilings.
In one corner of the room was a sitting area with two comfy chairs which, of course, came to serve as basically another closet. I noticed some wear on these chairs, but it wasn’t to the points of needing to be replaced. That said, they certainly weren’t the freshest-looking pieces of furniture around.
The staff left a small birthday cake, some other Mexican treats and two bottles of water for us on the ottoman. I had just briefly mentioned that I was coming to Mexico City for my birthday when I called to link my two reservations, so this was impressive and much appreciated!
Across from the beds was the room’s proper desk, with a TV mounted on the wall above it. I liked that the desk was in the center of the room rather than off in a corner by itself — it felt more practical to me this way.
On top of the desk were the room’s Nespresso machine, with complimentary pods, and barware for the minibar below the desk, which I was thrilled to see stocked with Pringles.
There were two complimentary bottles of water waiting in the room, and we were given more each time housekeeping visited the room.
The closet was adjacent to one of the beds and slid open to reveal all the standard things you’d come to expect in a St. Regis, like plush bathrobes, a safe, shoehorn and more.
Even though the hotel’s been around for a number of years now, the design of the room was timeless, and it still felt pretty fresh and modern. The lingering smell was unfortunate, but it was masked if we kept the door to the WC all the way closed. Overall, I was very pleased with the room and happy I chose this property over those with smaller rooms.
Food and Beverage
The St. Regis Mexico City offers six options for on-property dining (including room service), frankly a staggering number for a city hotel. CDMX is arguably one of the best food cities in the world, so we did most of our eating off the property, but I thought we did pretty well by trying three of the six options.
Once another one of my friends arrived on the first day (we all traveled on different flights), we headed down to the J&G Grill, just off the lobby on the first floor (not the ground floor). It was open for lunch and dinner and was a mostly casual spot with outdoor seating.
We were really hungry by the time we sat down for a late lunch — and very excited to be in Mexico — so we immediately ordered a round of margaritas (150 pesos, or about $8 each) and … too much food. We split the tuna tostada (325 pesos, or ~$15), salmon sashimi (290 pesos, or ~$15), avocado pizza (280 pesos, or ~15), Mexican cheese plate (360 pesos, or $20) and a basket of french fries (150 pesos, or $8).
The food we ordered was no doubt delicious but pricey for Mexico City — you can find fantastic authentic food for a fraction of these prices.
Later in the weekend, we decided to begin our evening with a round of drinks at the outdoor terrace of the King Cole Bar, where I had a French 75 (150 pesos, or $8) and my friend had the Sangrita Mari, the hotel’s take on a Bloody Mary made with Mezcal, sangrita and pasilla chile puree (200 pesos, or $10).
We chose to sit outside because it was a gorgeous evening, but we were there kind of early, so we were practically the only people out there.
The inside was gorgeous and had the familiar-to-St. Regis bar setup with the large mural behind it. It was more lively inside, too, since there was a piano player providing entertainment.
On our last morning, we didn’t have much time before we had to go to the airport, so we decided to try out the hotel’s breakfast venue, Diana Restaurant, adjacent to the King Cole Bar on the first floor.
I wasn’t able to get free breakfast on this trip because I only have Gold status with Marriott, but the buffet wasn’t all that bad at $35 per person — and there were plenty of options to choose from.
We got there toward the end of the breakfast service, so not everything was out — including the chilaquiles section. I somehow had gone the whole weekend without yet having chilaquiles, so I asked a server if there were any way they could make me some. He said “Of course!” with a smile, and I made a plate of fruit/cheese/meat to enjoy in the meantime.
There was a large selection of pastries and breads, cold cuts and cheeses, yogurts, fruits juices and local favorites like tamales to choose from otherwise, but I was set on my chilaquiles, which came just a few minutes after I ordered them. They were as delicious as I’d hoped they’d be, served with two sunny-side-up eggs and a small portion of refried beans. Just what I needed to close my time in Mexico City.
I didn’t have a chance to test out room service on this trip — there was just too much eating to do elsewhere! I also didn’t try Candela Romero, the hotel’s Spanish restaurant, nor La Table Krug, a fine-dining French establishment that features an eight-course dining experience served with — you guessed it — Krug Champagne.
Since it was a city hotel, The St. Regis Mexico City didn’t offer as many amenities as at a full-service resort, but there was still plenty to keep you entertained. Wi-Fi was free and fast throughout the property. I was able to stream shows on my laptop, no problem.
There was a Remède Spa with an attached salon. I didn’t have a treatment myself, but my friend did have a 60-minute massage ($160) and said it was quite relaxing.
I did, however, check out the pool on the 15th floor of the tower. There wasn’t much space for lounging around it, but the pool itself was gorgeous and had an infinity-like edge that provided stunning views of North America’s largest metropolis.
Next to the pool and spa area was the hotel’s gym, which provided similarly stunning views. It was well-equipped and fairly large, though I somehow ran out of time before I could use it.
I was somewhat surprised to find that the hotel had a kids club on the same floor as the gym/pool/spa — it seemed like more of a resort feature than a city-hotel feature — but it was closed both times I was up there.
As was the case at all St. Regis properties I’ve stayed at, the service was exemplary. Each staff member was polite and professional but not overbearing. Each one I interacted with had a genuine interest in our story and was eager to know how we felt about Mexico City.
Even though we had an odor issue in the bathroom that couldn’t be fixed, it wasn’t for lack of trying. Staff came to the room multiple times but couldn’t make it stop. We were offered a room change, but by that time we only had one night left and didn’t feel like packing up all of our stuff in order to unpack and then repack again the next morning. Like I said earlier, it wasn’t really that bad once we figured out how to mitigate it.
Upon checkout, I had an issue with my credit card: It kept getting declined even though I had been using it around the city on various things. The staff were eager to help me figure out the issue and were patient as I made a couple of calls in order to figure out what was going on. Eventually, I had the Chase rep on the phone with the desk agent at the hotel telling him how to make the transaction go through, and it finally did.
Each time I’ve stayed at a St. Regis hotel, I’ve felt like I was getting truly personalized service, and Mexico City was no different.
The St. Regis Mexico City is a perfect compromise in the Mexican capital. While it’s not right in any of the hottest neighborhoods, it’s close to practically all of them. And it may not be trendiest or flashiest address in town, but it’s timelessly luxurious and has the service to match its name, which I have a sneaking suspicion a lot of the high-design places in the city lack. I have no doubt I’ll stay at The St. Regis the next time I’m in Mexico City — especially if I’m traveling with more than just one other person.
All photos by the author.
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