Hotel Carlota, Mexico City
02 February, 2016
In June 2015 Hotel Carlota rose from the ashes of Hotel Jardin Amazonas. A quick Google image search of the latter pulls up photograph of the establishment in its 1970s heyday. Sunseekers bronze themselves on an astroturf lawn and a woman in a red one-piece swimsuit lowers herself into the pool. But the budget hotel fell seriously out of favour in later years and finally closed its doors earlier this decade. By that point the once-turquoise waters of the swimming pool had turned an unsettling shade of ghostbuster-green.
The transformation from motel to boutique Hotel Carlota was led by the illustrious architect Javier Sánchez, who employed a group of Mexico City's up and coming creatives to assist him. The result is a true sanctuary in the city that plays a delicate balancing act between original features and innovative design.
Walk in through the mirrored glass facade of Carlota's entrance into the stripped-bare concrete courtyard and everything immediately becomes cooler. The swimming pool, which looks like a giant streamlined fish tank, doubles up as a watering hole for creative types who come to the patio to sip kombucha tea by morning and mezcal by night.
Carlota's arrival in Colonia Cuauhtémoc is a sign of the times. Mexico City, or DF (Distrito Federal) as the locals call it, has been announced as the World Design Capital for 2018 and is home to incredible strength in every creative discipline. And you can dive straight into it here.
Hotel Carlota, Mexico City
There are 36 of them filled with recovered objects, artworks and design pieces. Concrete floors are complimented by a neutral palette and accented with funky rugs and art installations. Bathrooms are nautical chic - that is, minimalist, bright white and stashed with Malin & Goetz products. A complimentary selection of traditional Mexican snacks made in the local area come in handy for late-night munchies. From £150 per night.
What's for breakfast?
A selection of pastries or huevos (eggs) pretty much any way you can dream up. We love huevos rancheros for a hearty start to the day. Breakfast is not included in the price of the room.
How about lunch and dinner?
The lunch and dinner menus change often in accordance with the seasons and available produce and offer three course for £20. When we stayed in December we feasted on sweet mole with vegetables and macadamia nuts followed by cod with kale. The restaurant is decked out with minimalist wooden furniture and overlooks the central courtyard (read: great people watching).
Is there a bar?
Yes and it's set atop the poolside patio. A great spot for meeting with friends when the weather is warm.
Swimming pool, rooftop terrace, library, free wifi and a beautiful curated concept store called Taxonomía. The shop highlights a variety of Mexican designers working in everything from furniture and tabletop accessories to fashion design and mezcal.
Things you should know
The courtyard was positively peaceful when we visited in December, but in warmer weather it can get louder which means less sleep if you're having a night in. The roof decks, restaurant, and public spaces all feature furniture designed by La Metropolitana, a design collective that produces their furniture in a workshop in nearby Obrera. If you want to take your pup to Mexico City then good news - Hotel Carlota is (well-behaved) pet-friendly.
Within a short walk you can find…
The iconic Paseo de la Reforma avenue that cuts through the heart of Mexico City. El Eco for modern art. The Tianguis Cultural del Chopo, or El Chopo as it is more commonly known, which is a Saturday flea market.
Río Amazonas 73, Colonia Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06500, México City DF,hotelcarlota.com