Published on October 25th, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut
A Traveler’s Guide to Santa Fe, Mexico City’s Biz Hub
BY MARK CHESNUT
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM LATIN BUSINESS TRAVELER
Santa Fe’s sleek, silvery towers, upscale appeal and geographic distance from other neighborhoods in Mexico City can easily make visitors feel like they’ve arrived at a destination very separate from the rest of Mexico’s capital. As a tourism desk attendant at Mexico City’s international airport put it: “Santa Fe es una isla” – Santa Fe is an island.
Getting There, Getting Around
Visitors arriving via Benito Juárez International Airport need to build in more time to reach Santa Fe than most other neighborhoods, since they’ll have to cut across the center of the city to reach this western urban center, making ground transfers easily last more than an hour during rush hour. Travelers able to use the mostly domestic airport in Toluca (Licenciado Adolfo López Mateos International Airport) will have an easier time of it, thanks to its proximity and more readily available shuttle services. (Mexican airline Volaris, for instance, operates a Santa Fe Air Terminal, with shuttles to Toluca for 20 Mexican pesos each way.)
Getting around Santa Fe itself is a bit challenging for now too. Roadwork within the area is ongoing, in an effort to better serve the ever-increasing traffic flow. To ease the congestion a bit, EMBARQ Mexico and the World Bank are experimenting with a program called Movilidad Empresarial (entrepreneurial mobility), to provide WiFi-equipped, business-friendly van service along the Tacubaya-Santa Fe route.
Some traffic relief may also come with the completion of the Autopista Urbana Sur, slated for the end of this year, according to Carlos Mackinlay, Mexico City’s tourism minister, who spoke during September’s Fería Internacional de Turismo de las Américas, an international tourism expo also known as FITA. The Autopista Urbana Sur (Urban Freeway South) is an 11-kilometer toll road that is under construction and designed to improve passage through Mexico City’s southwest portion.
The minister also noted that the Santa Fe neighborhood is expanding so quickly that, “Santa Fe doesn’t need any promotion.” Noting that the fast growth of the hotel sector and consistently solid rates are proof of its success, he added, “Now we are trying to improve the communication between Santa Fe and other parts of the city.”
Santa Fe has some striking visuals, courtesy of its built-from-scratch planning, which has given architects, hoteliers and real estate developers a chance to create some rather eye-catching work. A few of the most bizarre structures have inspired humorous nicknames, such as the Torre Arcos Bosques I, a 34-story office building that’s more commonly called “El Pantalon” (“the pants”), and the box-like Edificio Calakmul Coronado, where gigantic circular window openings have resulted in the nickname “La Lavadora” (“the washing machine”).
Top hotels include Grupo Habita’s Distrito Capital, the JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City Santa Fe, the Westin Santa Fe, Mexico City and the Camino Real Santa Fe. Conventioneers will likely find themselves drawn to Expo Bancomer Santa Fe, which has 6,000 square meters of meeting space and more than 32,000 square meters of expo space.
Free time in Santa Fe is often spent at upscale shopping malls including Centro Santa Fe, which will reportedly be the largest shopping mall in Latin America after a new wing opens, complete with a Saks Fifth Avenue, a 450-room hotel, and an office tower. The newest shopping mall is Samara Shops, part of a development that combines three office towers and retail space. Still in the works is Garden Santa Fe, a two-story, largely subterranean retail center set mostly beneath a redesigned park area.
Dining in Santa Fe can be a decidedly international experience, with cuisine choices including Japanese at Nobu, French at Au Pied de Cochon, Italian at Giacovanni, Arabian at Hookah and Mexican at Paxia. There is even a comic-themed restaurant, Comic X, at Samara Shops.
If the definition of an island is a self-contained place where business travelers can get just about anything they need to get the job done, Santa Fe fits the description.
MORE TRAVEL TIPS & TRAVEL NEWS:
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