La Valise is in Colonia Roma, a charming district to the west of Mexico City’s historic center.
International flights land at Benito Juárez, which can be reached direct from London and most European hubs. It’s a 30-minute drive from the airport to the hotel, but traffic can add another 30 minutes in some cases. The Smith24 team can arrange your flights and transfers; call anytime, day or night.
Unless you’ve packed light, we’d probably give the Metro a miss on your way to the hotel. You’ll likely have a hard time getting on with a suitcase.
You won’t need a car if you’re staying in the city; taxis are relatively inexpensive and the fast, wallet-friendly Metro system has you covered elsewhere. Prospective drivers should be aware that the roads can be congested and chaotic at times. If you do want to hire, the Smith24 team can arrange it.
Worth getting out of bed for
The haunt of a liberal and up-and-coming crowd, Roma is one of the Mexico City’s creative hubs, attracting residents with artistic, architectural and musical leanings. Having changed apace with this crowd, the boulevards of this once aristocratic area are now scattered with many of the city’s best restaurants, cafés, art galleries, boutiques and vintage shops. Photographers (or keen Instagrammers, for that matter) will discover an endless visual bounty simply by wandering the wide, leafy streets, where you'll find decorative Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings sitting alongside clean-lined Modernist styles. Those looking to get in touch with the local art scene will enjoy galleries like OMR, which has done much to promote Mexican art on the international scene, and Kurimanzutto, a go-to for homegrown contemporary woks. In Del Carmen, slightly to the south, you’ve got the Museo Frida Kahlo, where you’ll not only come face to face with the home and studio of the iconic artist, but also get a snapshot of the bohemian lifestyles that were led by the city’s intellectual class. If you’ve got time to kill, don’t pass up a trip to the ancient city of Teotihuacán, standing since around 100 BC. The vast Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon are a sight to behold.
Roma and Condesa’s burgeoning popularity has been nothing but good news for the restaurant scene: from hip coffee shops to fourteen-course fine-dining, both districts are home to some of the city’s best offerings. Right at the top of the list is Pujol, considered by many to be the best restaurant in the city. By taking national staples and elevating them to their creative best, head chef Enrique Olvera managed to break the mold, proving to critics that Mexican cuisine can sit comfortably at the fine-dining table. Another upmarket option is Lorea, a stylish and understated restaurant with only two choices: a nine- or 14-course tasting menu. Continually changing to reflect the seasons offerings, the gourmet-size dishes offer a snapshot of Mexico’s best ingredients, all of them combined with creativity and flair. Local favourite Contramar often produces a queue at peak times, but it’s well worth waiting for their grilled octopus and refined fish tacos. It’s a sociable spot too, playing host to long, leisurely lunch groups at the weekends – perfect for a little people watching.
Artisanal coffee shop Almanegra (meaning black soul) is right below the hotel, occupying a minimalist space with a cool, calm atmosphere. There’s always at least two types of bean on offer, one of them a homegrown variety. On days when the mercury’s sky high, try one of their curative cold brews.
Art deco-inspired Licorería Limantour is a local hero, spearheading Roma’s craft cocktail scene (and securing a place on the World’s 50 Best Bars list on the way). It tends to be a bit more touristy than some of the lesser-known alternatives, but the skill of the mixologists makes it up for it. Just over the district border in charming Condesa, Darwin-inspired cocktail bar Baltra sweeps drinkers away from the city streets, surrounding them with enough exotic flora and fauna to transport them to far-off shores. It’s not all looks though: there’s an award-winning team behind the bar, making this one a rare bird indeed. Those more inclined towards beer will find a friend in El Deposito, a craft beer bar with over 100 different brews to choose from, both foreign and domestic.