If Luis Barragán and Charles Rennie Macintosh built a hotel, you can bet it’d look something like Casa Habita, an art deco delight in the historic heart of Mexico’s second city. Housed between a 1940s casa and a contemporary tower, the concept leans into high-gloss nostalgia. Quite literally. Colourful glazed walls sit next to mid-century furnishings, with a handful of tropicana thrown in for good measure. Rooms are similarly chic, with gray-Carrara-marble bathrooms, Mondrian-style walls and funky mint headboards. Get your laps in at the heated pool, loosen up at the spa, and then, with a margarita in hand, gaze over Guadalajara from the rooftop terrace. Whatever you do here, it’s going to be in style.
Get this when you book through us:
A welcome drink each, free valet parking and an room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £132.34 ($168), including tax at 19 per cent.
Rates include a breakfast of seasonal fruits and juices, yoghurts, charcuterie and cheeses, smoked salmon, cereals, breads and eggs.
Not only is Jalisco’s capital home to mezcal, mariachi, and well, super-stylish hotels, it’s also the home of El Rebaño Sagrado, Mexico’s most popular soccer team. Catch a game at Akron Stadium, but leave your Club América shirt at home.
At the hotel
Free-to-borrow bikes, spa, gym, laundry service (at a charge), and WiFi throughout. In rooms: minibar (complete with an, ahem, ‘sexy kit’), hotel’s own organic bath products made in Mérida, coffee and tea-making kit, TV, air-conditioning, free bottled water and Bluetooth speakers. The Deluxe Room, Junior Suite and Top Suite have a Lavazza coffee machine.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms are alike in style with contemporary art deco-inspired interiors with colourful partitions reminiscent of a Mondrian painting and floor-to ceiling Crittall windows. The gray-Carrara-marble bathrooms are a vision, and the mint-green headboards, which double up as wardrobes, are a stroke of design genius. We love the panoramic city views from the balcony room but if you want to push the boat out, opt for the opulent Top Suite for its large, covered terrace with a cosy wood-burning fire, freestanding bath tub with a view, and large living room packed with modish mid-century pieces.
Out on the peaceful ground-floor patio you’ll find the heated pool surrounded by pillow-soft day-beds, white parasols, leafy palms and a dedicated pool bar for post-siesta pick-me-ups.
Perched atop the hotel on the ninth floor, the spa has two treatment rooms where all your usual scrubs and rubs are undertaken with organic creams and potions. You’ll also find a wooden sauna, gray-marble steam room and lounger-flanked rooftop terrace with panoramic views of Guadalajara city. There’s a small but functional gym too, kitted out with a stationary bike, treadmill, cable machine and dumbbell rack. But for serious lifters, ask reception for a free day pass to the larger partner gym next door.
Bring your boldest coloured dresses and geometric-print shirts for the plentiful photo opportunities among Habita’s most stylish nooks and crannies.
Unfortunately, Casa Habita is not suitable for guests with mobility issues.
Casa Habita take all the eco-friendly measures you’d expect from a cool contemporary stay: LED bulbs, recycling and energy-saving sensors, for example. But they also have an organic garden where they grow their own crops for use in the kitchen.
Out on the terrace is the perfect spot to people watch Lafayette’s cooler-than-cool locals. And with highs of 78 way into December, it’s the breeziest place to be too.
Opt for Gatsby-esque gowns in a Barragánian palette of peach, midnight blues, crimson reds and mint greens.
Casa Habita's restaurant has a Gatsby-esque vintage feel with green and gold tones governing the palette, opulent mirrored columns, and arched art deco windows that open the space up. Breakfast is a plentiful buffet of seasonal fruit, yogurt, cereals, cheeses, salmon, breads, eggs, charcuterie and eggs. Though if you prefer to start the day with something a little heartier, the á la carte options have you covered. For lunch and dinner, Arturo Atemoc Coyol tours North America and Mexico with his menu of fun-loving comfort food made with local, organic ingredients.
The wood-panelled, mid-century style bar in the restaurant will be your main port of call for all things merry and mezcal-infused, but it’s not the only spot where you can wet your whistle. The petite but chic lobby bar has mirrored walls, statement ceiling hangs and mustard-coloured velvet bar stools. There’s a lush patio there too, lit by festoon lights, where you can easily polish off a bottle of wine while watching the leafy palms sway in the breeze. You’ll find the third bar over at the pool, adorned in midnight blue with gold and blood-orange accents. And when the sun gets too much, the adjoining alcove makes a fine spot to seek shade in, kitted out with a Jasper Morrison for Cappellini sofa and retro black-and-white TV set. In each, there are seven cocktails to choose from, but the Number 7 is our pick; Casa Habita’s signature margarita (cause hey, when in Rome – we mean, Mexico).
Breakfast runs between 7am and noon, while lunch and dinner are available anytime from noon to 11pm. The pool bar pours from 8am to 11pm and you can get loose at the lobby bar between 3pm to 11pm.
There’s a separate room-service menu available around-the-clock.
C. Miguel Lerdo de Tejada 2308
Casa Habita sits pretty in the historic Colonia Americana (or Lafayette) neighborhood, where art deco architecture, tree-lined avenues and a coterie of bars, shops and creative spaces make it one of Guadalajara’s stand-out spots.
The closest travel hub is Guadalajara International Airport Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a 45-minute drive away, with flights touching down from most major cities in Mexico and the US. Transfers from here cost $70 each way, paid directly to the driver, or charged to their room with an additional eight per cent commission.
Lafayette is best explored on foot, and there are a couple of underground lines to get you in and out of the city. But there are some great day trips to be had, too – like coastal Puerto Vallarta, say – in which case wheels may come in handy. Free valet parking is available for Smith guests.
Worth getting out of bed for
Mexico’s second city, Guadalajara, just so happens to also be one of the nation’s hottest cultural destinations, with a burgeoning creative scene and a lot of spirit. In fact, the city is the birthplace of two of Mexico’s greatest exports: mezcal and mariachi. You can get your fill of both downtown at Plaza de los Mariachis where, come weekends, you’ll find bars slinging their signature agave-infused tipples and locals dancing their way into the wee hours. The city is also the birthplace of architect Luis Barragán, the grandad of Mexican Modernism, who won the Pritzker Prize in 1980 for his colourful, formalist style. His influence is obvious, not just in Casa Habita, but all around leafy Lafayette and Colonia Americana. One of the best examples is Casa Iteso Clavigero, a canary-yellow house with a roof garden, oratory, Moorish-inspired fountain and unique windows made with gold dust and crystals, which is used now as a cultural centre and art gallery and offers guided tours by appointment. While you’re feeling inspired, take a look around Travesia Cuatro, an independent gallery representing some of the best local talent. Or pay a visit to El Museo Taller José Clemente Orozco before hitting the streets to admire his real masterpieces. Orozco, though barely known outside of the country, is considered one of the ‘big three’ Mexican muralists along with Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. You’ll cover more colorful ground on two wheels – just ask the concierge at Casa Habita about borrowing one of their vintage bikes. If moving images are more your thing, and you happen to be travelling in spring, check out the Guadalajara International Film Festival, a week-long celebration of Latin American cinema which usually takes place each March. As for retail therapy, the neighbourhood is full of cute boutiques. Just behind the hotel you’ll find Julia and Renata, a concept store of Mexican design products. On Sundays you can stock up at the organic farmers’ market at Puerto Verde Lafayette, or get thrifty on Avenida Mexico’s flea market, where you’ll find everything from vintage clothes and retro records to bonafide antiques. And, once you’ve worked up an appetite, refuel with a Guadalajareño delicacy. The torta ahogada is a salty pork sandwich with a crunchy exterior, topped in chilli sauce. Go easy on the latter, though, and don’t let the locals convince you it’s ‘mild’ lest you end up looking like a bottle of salsa roja itself.
Gaspar is the place to be for heaped hamburgers, a relaxed atmosphere and great cocktails to boot. We love their signature stacker made with rib-eye, Swiss cheese, lettuce, onion, and dijon mustard, slathered in house dressing. But if you find you’ve become a little too comfortable with comfort food, La Panga del Impostor can re-address the balance with a focus on Pacific-fresh seafood; think Mexican sashimi, shrimp aguachile and octopus skewers straight from the grill.
Mingle with in-the-know tapatíos (the nickname for Guadalajara locals) at Pal Real, a pocket-sized café in Colonia Arcos Vallarta where you can find the best lonche de pancita (pork-belly sandwich) by a country mile and a damn fine coffee, too.
The main stretch of tree-lined Chapultepec Avenue comes alive after-hours, but there are plenty of places off the beaten track to get your fiesta fix, too. Pare de Sufrir is one of the best known (among the right crowd, of course), a celebrated mezcal bar whose name literally translates as ‘end your suffering’. After an evening swigging on artisan agave, you may find out why. La Fuente is another legendary saloon, and also Guadalajara’s oldest, though with no sign or windows, you’ll have to lead with your ears and listen out for the live piano emitting from its basement. Inside, things are just as mysterious. A bicycle propped above the bar is said to have been left there by an inebriated patron back in 1950 who never came back to claim it. For something a little more sophisticated, Pigalle is a sultry, low-lit cocktail joint that feels like a sexy Parisian salon. And, if it’s entertainment you’re after, head to Escarabajo Scratch where local musicians will be singing the blues most days of the week.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this glossy art deco hotel in Jalisco’s southwest pocket and unpacked their torta ahogada recipes and mariachi records, a full account of their Barragánian break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Casa Habita in Guadalajara…
Groovy Guadalajara is overflowing with creative energy, and Casa Habita is finely tuned in. How else can you explain such a stylish abode, where interiors merge art deco elegance with time-honoured Mexican know-how. Here, you’ll find everything from Jaliscan ceramics and hand-blown glass fixtures to colourful palettes inspired by the city’s most cherished architect, Luis Barragán. Custom furnishings courtesy of Milanese studio Dimore add a touch of Italian flair while a greenhouse’s worth of XL potted plants bring a hint of Club Tropicana to otherwise glossy Gatsby-esque common areas. You’ll find echoes of modernist masters here, too: Mondrian in the geometric partitions that separate each room from its (gray Carrara marble) bathroom, and Rennie Mackintosh in the frosted-glass statement window fitted behind reception. And, when you’re not taking an art-history tour round Habita’s stylish nooks and crannies, you may find yourself fuelling-up on Mexican comfort food, chilling-out at the spa, kicking back from a lounger on the palm-flanked poolside patio or saying salud to the second city from the up-on-high rooftop terrace.