Review: Starwood’s Fantastic Las Alcobas, Mexico City

Las Alcobas is a small boutique hotel in the Polanco area of Mexico City. It joined Starwood two and a half years ago and has just 35 rooms (4 suites).

The area is near Lincoln Park, street food and fine dining. It was a nice easy walk to eat at Pujol, arguably the best restaurant in Mexico, which I’ll share thoughts on separately.

The hotel is a category 6 property and room rates can be high for Mexico City. Not cheap, but while the hotel was asking around $450 a night during my stay they had the SPG50 rate plan available which you have to call Starwood for: 1000 Starwood points get you 50% off rack rate, allowing me to book the room for $250 per night.

There aren’t a lot of suites at this hotel but they do try to upgrade Platinums. I requested an upgrade with Suite Night Awards but that didn’t clear in advance. They use junior suites as the room type for those, and the hotel was sold out of junior suites.

Here’s where the upgrade at experience at this hotel was super interesting. I was told I was given a deluxe room as no upgrade was available. We were shown to the room we were pre-blocked into. It was small. It was well laid out, modern yet with local influences, but small.

The bathroom was lovely.

Even though I selected points instead of soaps I was told we could choose two soaps from the display in our bathroom which was distinct from the soaps at the sink and for the shower.

Here were the toiletries in the shower.

There’s a closet.

However after being shown the room, and brought our welcome drinks, the phone rang.

At check-in we were preblocked into this small room. I had asked about a suite. I was told they were sold out and couldn’t be accommodated.

I’m not sure why, though I suppose it’s because I asked, after we left for the room we had been assigned to they actually looked and we were told the hotel had ‘found’ a suite for us and wanted to know if we’d like to move?

When we accepted they let us know it was on the same floor — the 6th — as our current room, and someone would be by to collect us and bring us there in just a few minutes.

We didn’t unpack. It turned out they needed the few minutes to customize the room. For instance I asked for extra bottled water. The hotel assures their water is filtered. Still I prefer to drink bottled. They had a whole refrigerator full of bottles when we walked into the suite.

The showers are amazing. The staff member who escorted us to our first room described the 8 head shower as being “a human car wash.”

Since this was a suite there was a separate living room and dining room as well as a second bathroom.

Platinums receive breakfast in the Anatole restaurant — continental (fruit, pastries, coffee, juice) plus you’re welcome to order your choice of entree from the menu. And this is in addition to not as your welcome amenity (I chose points rather than Mexican soaps).

I didn’t like the coffee at the hotel though cappuccinos were fine.

The hotel provides all guests with internet; morning coffee, tea, or smoothie; complimentary shoe shine; complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and snacks from the minibar.

Each evening with turndown service there were treats as well as more bottled water.

The hotel doesn’t have a bar. It has two restaurants, one inside where they provide breakfast and one around the corner which I did not try.

Service at the hotel was consistently friendly but not always well-executed. Still I was completely happy here. I didn’t check out the gym or spa during the short stay but from the outside the spa looked absolutely lovely and I’d try it on a future visit.

I felt safe walking around at night and in the early morning, which isn’t something I’d say about many parts of Mexico City. It’s a high-end, established, and eclectic neighborhood. There’s art and street food and American statutes and streets named for literary figures.

There’s also a vibrant night life in the neighborhood, things seemed to wrap up around 6 a.m. Walking around an hour later places were cleaning up from the night, I saw one club sweeping up needles. So there’s that.

One note for families: Las Alcobas Mexico City doesn’t welcome children under 7.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the review. We toured LA while staying at the StR just a few days before this joined SPG’s Luxury Collection on March 1, 2015. We were very impressed…but noted the small entry rooms and the lack of a proper bar. Still, we were very impressed and loved the location…which is also just across the street and down the block from Biko, another of Mexico’s absolutely most amazing restaurants (along with Pujol).

    My impresssion is that the service standard and room sizes are more generous at the St Regis, which also has an amazing bar…but the intimacy, location, and unique character of this property cannot be dismissed.

  2. Yeah, that place looks a lot nicer than the Hampton Inn Zocolo I recently stayed at. However, it was only 10,000 HHonors points/night and 5th night free. It was perfectly acceptable.

  3. @ Gary — Your post is yet another reminder of why IC Royal Ambassador remains the best loyalty program. At the IC Mexico City, we have always received a suite, free club access, free wifi, and free minibar (including alcohol, although I no longer drink alcohol).

  4. That’s a fantastic area. The suite looks great but the normal room doesn’t look like anything to write home about for that price. If you have the IHG Chase card the Presidente Intercontinental is a few blocks away and you can use it for the free annual night you get with the card which is a great redemption. They have always upgraded me to a high floor suite as a Platinum (which you get for having the IHG card).

  5. On my last visit to Mexico in September, it was between this place and the W Mexico City. We ended up at the W – I applied SNA’s and they cleared into a Fantastic Suite. I didn’t book this place due to the apparent lack of upgrade opportunities, and I didn’t want a room facing the back alley (as the base rooms do).

    I think I would have been disappointed staying here if I stayed in the first room that you were assigned. The upgrade looked terrific, as did the breakfast restaurant when I walked by and looked in. I agree: Polanco is very safe to walk around; much safer than Johannesburg, Rio de Janerio or New Delhi.

  6. Simply put, Las Alcobas is perhaps the very best hotel I have ever stayed at in an urban setting. No detail has been overlooked, no expense spared. The result is an incredible experience of care, discretion, and comfort, all delivered so skillfully and subtly that I was left shaking my head in admiration. I was pleased, but not surprised, to meet both the General Manager and the owner of Las Alcobas during my week stay there– this hotel is clearly a labour of love, of personal investment. The extreme professionalism and care of the staff extends from the owner to the concierge to the restaurant staff.

  7. Gary you are a demanding and high maintenance guest. Why get so bent out of shape over a free space available upgrade?

    My guess is after checking their CRM they saw you have this megaphone and platform and discovered they had to appease you.

    Overall it looks like a nice property, may try this next time instead of JW Marriott.

  8. I wonder if the person who was originally assigned your suite was happy with the room they received 😉 I’m assuming they googled your name and then moved you to the suite. Either way a win for you.

  9. @Ken you really think they googled me in the 10 minutes after check-in but not before? I believe what happened is that they had a change or cancellation to a booking that had been assigned the suite after my room had been pre-blocked. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I was the only 100 night Platinum around for the weekend.

  10. I agree with @Adam that Las Alcobas is one of the best urban hotels in the world, and my very favorite outside of Asia. Perfect service, ultra comfortable rooms, and the nicest location in CDMX — and I think the breakfasts have been the best I have eaten at any hotel, anywhere, full stop.

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