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aw Jun 17, 13 2:59 am

Does Condesa and Roma in DF merit a stay?

My main interests are food and architecture and will be visiting MEX city for 3-4 days for a 2nd time in Sept. On my first visit which was a short weekend long time ago I stayed at the Camino Real in Polanco and walked to the Zona Rosa and Castillo de Chapultepec. This time, I plan to bring my camera and try to capture some of the unique sights of this great city.

I decided to stay for 2 nights at the Hampton Inn in the historical center because this is one area with major sights that I missed the first time. From what I understand there are also some interesting food markets/restaurants in the neighboring streets around as well. In planning my stay I am debating whether I should stay at the Condesa or Roma districts for 1 night in order to get a more local and intimate "flavor" of the city. Some of the buildings and parks in these areas look very enticing from the pictures that I have seen.

In addition, does anyone have any suggestions on where to get some good hutlacoche?


flugvergnugen Jun 17, 13 1:03 pm

Oh, you'll have plenty of "local" and "flavor" in the city center.... Roma and Condesa are calmer and more upscale, and just a short subway ride away. For 3 nights, I personally would just stay in the same spot, whether that's in the center or in Condesa/Roma.

In season, you'll find huitlacoche anywhere and everywhere. Many places will have it "out of season" too; it's a common quesadilla filling, for instance.

aw Jun 18, 13 9:40 am

I have read a few reports advising not to venture out around the centro historico when it gets dark. I'm sure that as long as you exercise common sense and stick to areas where there are people this shouldn't be that much of a concern.

One of the restaurants that I intend to try is "El Cardenal" and they serve huitlacoche as a seasonal item when I am around.

flugvergnugen Jun 20, 13 9:26 am

It's probably a good idea to be extra-alert downtown after dark, especially if you're by yourself. Avoid any darker side streets. In this regard, Condesa/Roma are probably less risky.

El Cardenal is great, both locations downtown. Note that they tend to fill up, and AFAIK they don't take reservations. So my recommendation is to go early - which in Mexico means before 2PM - if you don't want to wait too long.

londinense Jun 25, 13 4:17 am

I always recommend staying in Condesa over the Centro histórico. The latter can be easily visited during the daytime.
There is now a branch of Azul in the centre, as well as the one in Condesa. It specialises in a modern take on traditional cuisine. Huitlacoche is available tinned if you want to take it home. That also means that it can be found on menus out of season.

bebert Jun 25, 13 7:25 am

i warmly recommend the boutique hotel :

nice unique rooms, nice house in the Condesa area
Stayed several times and i had great service
I second the previous posts : walking around Centro Historico after dark might be not the best area to wander around by night

globetrots Jul 6, 13 6:57 pm

Most people who will tell you to be super careful in the center have not been there in a decade or more after dark. Darker people live there, so it's perceived as scary, but El Centro is very different and more cleaned up these days. Hampton Inn there is nice, as is the NH nearby and Ciudad de Mexico near the square--worth a visit for a drink even if you're not staying.

Roma and Condesa are more like neighborhoods though, with people pushing kids in strollers, walking their dogs, going out to their local watering holes. Condesa df is really great if you're into hip design hotels.

pollione Jul 31, 13 8:06 pm

I just got back from my first trip to Mexico -- 5 days in the DF staying at the Polanco Camino Real. I can't wait to go back, but next time will stay in Condessa for sure. For my tastes the Camino Real's immediate neighborhood wasn't as walkable and interesting (despite that incredible park right across the street). I managed to strike up some conversation's with residents of Condesa and Roma with interesting perspectives on how the neighborhoods have changed over the years. One person told me that although Condesa's resurgence over the past few years was generated in part by artists looking for affordable work and gallery spaces, rent increases have pushed some of them into the Roma neighborhood where rents are still reasonable. The current addition of Timeout Mexico City has a great walking tour of the two neighborhoods.

In any cases I found the galleries, book stores, cafes, restaurants, parks, architecture and the mellow (but not sleepy) vibe in general in both neighborhoods to be more my thing than the area around the Camino Real. You've probably read up on the history of the residential architecture in Condesa and Roma with all of their old mansions. Check out the Condesa Reforma hotel which looked to be having some sales last I checked.

I was looking forward to going out to a club in the Centre late night and was advised by a long time resident not to go by myself so I didn't but now I wish I had. Like anyplace, personal safety is an unpredictable alchemy of how easy a mark you perceive yourself and knuckleheads perceive you and dumb luck.

I had a delicious huitaloche appetizer at the Villa Maria in Polanco but think it was canned. I still liked it.

JDiver Aug 18, 13 1:02 pm

Just moved the eating (regional traditional, etc. cuisine) into its own thread:

Traditional, Authentic and Regional Cuisine in Mexico City.

kirbypwang Aug 29, 13 10:46 pm

Where in Mexico City would you stay with school-aged children for a few days of tourism? I know the city very well but have never been there with children. Condesa and Roma don't strike me as super interesting for kids and assurances here aside I think the Centro with them would put me on edge at night. Is Polanco what we have left?

globetrots Aug 31, 13 12:39 pm

Kirbypwang - I took a family trip to Mexico City with my daughter and she enjoyed it. We stayed at the Holiday Inn (with points) near the U.S. Embassy, walkable from there to Condesa and Roma. Try to be there on a Sunday when the main Paseo street is closed to traffic and you can rent bikes to ride. Chapultapec Park has a zoo and lots of kid-friendly things. Centro not as interesting to kids, but took the top that goes on the roof of the cathedral. Really cool. Post and video about it here:

gailwynand Sep 5, 13 7:21 pm

Just a quick note - I stayed at the Condesa DF and loved it, however it is definitely not a place you want to stay if quiet is important. Noises from the atrium and the rooftop bar carry really easily, and the plumbing is also loud.

In every other respect, the place is awesome if you like hip boutique hotels. It blows US brands like The Standard out of the water. I can't wait to try the Habita Group's other properties.

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