In an ever-diversifying travel landscape of boutiques and indies, there is still a time and a place for a brand-name mega-hotel. Mexico City right now—the recently renovated Presidente InterContinental Mexico City, to be precise—is one of them. As the flagship property of the Presidente InterContinental Hotel Group and the hub of the largest international hotel company based in Mexico, the 700-room, 42-floor property has a lot to live up to—especially given the brand’s massive Mexican expansion: the hotel group will open multiple properties here in the next few years, including the debut of two Kimptons. Here’s what made my stay there last month noteworthy.
LOCATION CDMX, aka Ciudad de Mexico, is a city of neighborhoods, each more handsome, enthralling—and, given the city’s reputation as a foodie capital, delicious—than the next. Polanco, home to the InterContinental, is the Beverly Hills of Mexico, boasting glitzy avenues, high-end shopping and, best of all, Chapultepec Park—the real reason to call Polanco home base. I lost myself in the sprawling grounds for a full day and could have done so for many more, luxuriating in a boating lake, fountains, museums, food stalls, live music performances and the park’s paradoxical ability to be so vibrantly full of life yet such a respite from the urban jungle at the same time. If you’re in the city on business, Chapultapec will be a welcome no-work Zen zone.
FOOD The stakes are high here; many tourists come to CDMX simply to eat, whether at Michelin-starred icons or street-eat stalls that transport you directly to culinary heaven. With seven onsite restaurants boasting Mexican, French, American and international cuisines—the French one, Au Pied de Cochon, is open 24 hours and truly feels lifted from the streets of Montmartre—InterContinental aims high and wide. It succeeds, particularly when it comes to Chapulín, its local-cuisine haven. The space alone is worth visiting for: With floor-to-ceiling windows and vibrant greenery, it feels like a slice of Chapultapec Park moved indoors, decked out in oak, granite and 11,000 numbered ceramic pieces made by Mexican artist Adán Paredes in his iconic Oaxaca workshop. The delectable food here is art, too; I feasted on duck and suckling pig tacos, avocado and tuna ceviche, noodle soup with tomato and Oaxacan cheese spheres, fish with chichilo mole and, for desert, mango meringue with huitlacoche and roasted strawberries with cream and a touch of chili.
DRINKS I can now boast that I’ve been to the largest wine cellar in Latin America. Yes, it’s at InterContinental Mexico City: at 1,600 square feet, home to some 50,000 bottles from around the world. What this means for you, drink lover, is stunning variety that doesn’t skimp on the local: there are over 200 Mexican wines to sample, not to mention more than 70 mezcales and some three dozen Mexican craft beers.
PRESIDENTIAL SUITE If you’re going to name a suite after a revolutionary Mexican artist like Diego Rivera, it had better be a suite that makes a statement. Boy, does this one. The newly renovated, 6,500-square-foot palace soaring above the city, the largest in Mexico, feels otherworldly, especially thanks to magnificent local contemporary art set off against floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s a grand terrace, bar, fitness area and even a private jacuzzi and pool. Plus more style than fits in a single suite, however grand.
CLUB LOUNGE Mi Casa Es Su Casa, reads the grand neon sign in the elegant, minimalist InterContinental Club Lounge. Would that all my casas came with a sweeping view of CDMX, the best Mexican breakfast I’ve ever had (oh, for those eggs with green sauce!) and a nightly happy hour with a gluttonous buffet featuring such delights as fennel mouse terrine, rosemary chicken, Oaxaca cheesecake, melon with prosciutto cream and veal tips. Presidenteicmexico.com/es-es.html