Published on September 15th, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut

HOTEL REVIEW: Camino Real Polanco, Mexico City

The entrance courtyard at the Camino Real Polanco in Mexico City. 

During my current visit to Mexico City, I’m a guest at the Camino Real Polanco, situated in one of the city’s most upscale neighborhoods. I have to say I’ve fallen in love with this property’s style, which can’t be found in any other hotel in this city.
THE ARRIVAL: The Camino Real Polanco is a multi-level experience in color, shapes and levels. Bright yellow and pink walls greet guests pulling up in the front. A churning fountain is so large and powerful it looks like a giant wave pool that would pull you into another universe if you tried to swim in it. Bellhop uniforms, mostly in somber dark gray, are marked with hot pink collars that match the receptionist’s dresses. Sharp angles, wide halls, bright colors and contemporary 20th-century design touches bring this property to life.
THE STYLE: One of Mexico City’s highest-profile luxury hotels, the Camino Real Polanco opened in 1968, just in time for the Olympics that the city hosted. Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreto (b. Mexico City 1931), known for his use of strong colors, created a contemporary Mexican gem that continues to stand out for its unmistakable design touches and collection of more than 600 pieces of original contemporary art by artists including Mathias Goeritz and Pedro Friedeberg, as well as name-brand designer furnishings from the mid-20th Century. Legorreto went on to oversee the design of more hotels for Camino Real, as well as a number of factories, a private home for actor Ricard Montalban in California, a cathedral in Managua, Nicaragua, the restoration of Pershing Square in Los Angeles and museums including the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey.
Renovated guest rooms at the Camino Real Polanco have contemporary furnishings.
AMENITIES: Rooms are amply sized; I stayed in a club floor room, which includes lounge access and features nice touches including complimentary Wi-Fi and often-forgotten items like toothbrushes and toothpaste. All guest rooms will be renovated by December 2010; my room already was, and the style is up-to-date yet still respects the original 1968 bones of the property. Outside my balcony, rich gold walls are angled around the swimming pool where Pierce Brosnan swam in the movie “Matador.”
You might have seen the pool area (not to mention the lobby bar) in the Pierce Brosnan movie “The Matador.”
PUBLIC SPACE: After dark, parts of the lobby glow, especially at the Blue Lounge, an exquisite bar, bathed in blue and populated with Bertoia diamond chairs that seem to hover over a pool of water, thanks to the glass floor. I savored delicious Mexican cocktails and specialties like chiles en nogada and tacos with tamarind and mole sauce. The hotel’s Italian restaurant, Bice, is open 24 hours and serves generous portions of tasty cuisine, while the China Grill is dark, cool and hip. With so many restaurants on-site (I still haven’t eat at all of them) and a peaceful central courtyard with a swimming pool, the Camino Real is nearly self-contained, making it possible to get away for the hustle and bustle of the city for as long as one might care.
The Blue Lounge floats over water at the Camino Real Polanco.
BEST FOR: Travelers with an appreciation of contemporary art, design and architecture, business travelers, and anyone looking for an urban oasis in the heart of Mexico City.
About $156 and up.


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About the Author

The founder and editor of LatinFlyer.com, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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