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Review: the W Mexico City hotel in Polanco: has the first W in Latin America still got what it takes?

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This is our review of the W Mexico City hotel.

Keen to get some respite from the British winter, and having heard some excellent feedback about Mexico, I decided to head over for a week, starting with a couple of nights in Mexico City.

The W Mexico City was one of the first W Hotels to open, back in 2003. At the time, the brand had been launched just five years prior and there were just 20-odd W Hotels around. The Mexico City W was the first to open in Latin America and offers a glimpse at how the W brand has changed over the past 25 years.

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

I’ll be reviewing two more hotels in Mexico, both in Tulum: the new Conrad Tulum and the Papaya Playa Project, a Design Hotel and part of Marriott Bonvoy.

The hotel website is here. Thanks to Marriott for arranging my stay for review purposes.

Where is the W Mexico City hotel?

The W Mexico City is located in Polanco, an affluent and up-market neighbourhood just west of Mexico City central district.

It’s a pleasant area and feels quite residential and quiet, although not quite as happening as other neighbourhoods such as La Condesa or Roma.

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

There is a small cluster of hotels here, all in a row, including the JW Marriott, Hyatt Regency and InterContinental. All overlook the gardens around the National Auditorium and Chapultepec park.

One thing that I didn’t quite realise until I got to Mexico City is the scale of it: it’s vast, and getting around often requires journeys of 45+ minutes. Fortunately the metro is relatively easy to use (and exceedingly cheap) whilst Ubers are also readily available. I used a mix of both, depending on which was faster and more convenient.

An Uber from the airport takes about 40 minutes with traffic, but can be as little as half that at night.

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Inside W Mexico City

The W Mexico City occupies a 26-floor fairly bog-standard looking tower. It is one of the oldest W hotels out there, having opened in 2003.

On arriving we were offered a welcome drink – a little shot glass with a delicious mezcal cocktail:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

As there were no other guests, check-in was prompt. The lobby features these intriguing face-chairs:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Rooms at W Mexico City

I believe the rooms last had a refresh in 2016 with a very glossy, white and cream design:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

The design is almost, dare I say it, plain for a W Hotel. Bright green flashing under the bed provides a zing of colour whilst there’s also some photographic wallpaper in the corner:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

There are a lot of hard surfaces here, from the big white tiles to the desk and frosted-glass minibar:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Only the beds really soften the effect:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

As you can see, you get a pillow with a design in the same theme as the photographic wallpaper.

I have to say the bed was very comfortable – no complaints from me. Opposite the bed is a desk and box-framed TV as well as a seating area that could double up as a luggage rack:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

To the right of the beds you have a wardrobe with safe, drawers, slippers and gown, plus the mini bar in the aforementioned glass box. As is usual for a W, this is stocked with half-size bottles of various spirits and mixers which you can pay for:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

A Nespresso machine is also available.

By now you’re probably wondering where the bathroom is, as this is usually the first thing you see as you step into a hotel room.

Uniquely, the designers have chosen to put this at the very end – in the window:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

I thought this was a fun feature, although the design of the building means that unfortunately you don’t get a view from the shower or toilet which are fully enclosed – a real shame, as that would have been the icing on the cake.

The shower is on the left with an rain shower head and fantastic water pressure:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

…. whilst the toilet is on the right. Whilst the bathroom itself only features a screen curtain to the room, both the toilet and shower have been separated by mirrored glass which helps to make the room feel even brighter and carry some of that light into the main part of the room. The only thing missing are hooks to hang towels and gowns as there is nowhere to put them.

There are two wash basins and toiletries are MOMO and Skin Regimen. I have a soft spot for both of these and really enjoy using them every time I’m at a W.

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Overall, the glossy fittings and cream-coloured walls don’t feel as luxurious as you might expect from a W Hotel and the design, whilst in good nick, is starting to show its age and feels a little dated.

Spa and gym at the W Mexico City hotel

Bad news for anyone hoping to to relax by a pool after a full day of sightseeing, as unfortunately the hotel does not feature a pool, indoor or out.

What it does have is an Away Spa on the fourth floor with a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

I’m told the W is also the only hotel in the city to feature a traditional Temazcal lodge:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

You can book a 90 minute Temazcal experience led by a shaman which is definitely a unique experience. It’s basically a mix between a sauna and a meditation session! Despite the shaman not speaking any English and our not speaking any Spanish we managed to muddle through it and it was fantastic.

You also have a gym on the same floor, with windows overlooking the leafy green streets:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Breakfast at W Mexico City

Breakfast is served in a dedicated room on the first floor. It’s surprisingly small for a hotel of this size, although we never had to wait so it clearly works:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

The breakfast buffet looks fairly small but when you get to it they have managed to pack a lot in. There’s a broad selection of breads, muffins and pastries:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

…. plus various cold cuts, including smoked salmon, jamon, salami etc:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

In terms of hot items, you have a range of more European / American style food including hash browns and the best hotel bacon I’ve ever had:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

…. plus local specialities including a sort of chicken in a sauce, grilled vegetables and pork.

Eggs are made to order and you can ask for avocado too. They haven’t quite got the hang of a poached egg yet though ….

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

There’s also a range of fresh fruit and cereals:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

…. and, bizarrely, a dedicated ‘Asian’ section:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

The weakest section by far are any savoury vegetables, as you only have a choice between a garden salad or pasta salad; there’s no cucumber or other bits to build your own.

Overall I was very happy and there was no shortage of options, and at the end of the day there’s also plenty of excellent (and cheap) food to be had in and around Mexico City.

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Conclusion

Set in the leafy, residential neighbourhood of Polanco, the W Mexico City is a good choice with the Anthropological Museum and a variety of parks on your doorstep, plus easy access to the metro.

The style of the rooms are beginning to become dated, but they’re still in good condition and I found the bed very comfortable. The mirrored bathroom with the view was a unique touch, although I wish the shower had a view too!

It’s a shame that the hotel doesn’t have an outdoor pool, but the lovely spa still offers a respite from the city.

Rooms start from around £200 per night whilst redemptions start at 47,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.


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Comments (40)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nick says:

    Thanks for the review, interesting to see the design elements. And nice to get something that’s been paid for and is independent; it makes a big difference as to how authentic the review is perceived to be.

    • Rob says:

      I think this just proves you create bias that is not there. This stay was comped by Marriott as is made clear. It doesn’t mean we had to like it.

      The reason most comped reviews are positive is that life is short, all of us on the team have better things we could be doing with our evenings than staying at rubbish hotels and we only accept review stays at places which are expected to be good.

  • SammyJ says:

    As a long-haired woman, who has no desire to spend an hour a day washing, drying and styling my hair, every day, the rain shower gets an instant no from me. Impossible to have a proper shower in those, they’re even worse than the spout-out-the-wall style you get in much of the USA which at least are angled down so you can have a half-baked effort while still keeping hair dry!

    • will says:

      The obvious solution to which is a rain head and a wall mounted handset with a diverter valve and yet it seems to remain rather elusive in hotels.

      I love rain heads and my partner, like yourself, uses a handset for the exact same reason and it’s such a simple solution to the problem.

  • Chas says:

    If I’m understanding this correctly, the room has no windows directly from the main part of the room? That would be a hard pass for me, as it would make the room feel far too enclosed. I wouldn’t want to have to go to the bathroom every time that I wanted to see the outside. I also know my wife would have other concerns – she’d be constantly worrying about someone having a view into the bathroom!

  • Smitrax says:

    We managed to get some BA first class Avios redemptions to Mexico City for May. Staying at the Hilton Umbral then the Four Seasons. Not sure I’m quite prepared for the vastness of the city to be honest.

    Last time we flew BA first was Vancouver in early 2020. Can I expect service/seat to be similar?

    Any tips for places to visit or getting around Mexico City? My wife’s convinced she’ll be assaulted on the metro and is refusing to use it.

    • Rhys says:

      Metro was totally fine. Police every 5 metres on the platforms

      • Perkypat says:

        Just have to watch out for pickpockets in the crowds, just like any metro in a large city.

    • JDB says:

      It rather depends on your interests as to what to visit; you can’t possibly cover even a fraction of the top places in a week. The Anthropological Museum is a good place to start to understand everything else you will see, but it is so huge, you want to be a bit selective. In the same area, although it isn’t on the main tourist itineraries, a visit to the Chapultepec Castle is great. Check opening days as the whole park closes on some days, usually Mondays. It’s seriously worthwhile to do a private guided walking tour of the historic centre – c. three hours. Even if you aren’t big art fans, a visit to the Frida Kahlo house is a must – you need to book well in advance and turn up on time. The Coyoacán area around the house and its church are lovely, well worth wandering around. The FK house ticket gives you access to the Anahuacalli museum set up by Diego Rivera (but has none of his murals/pictures). There are numerous art galleries around the city with superb collections if that’s your thing. The Diego Rivera museum is rubbish though! If you are there at the weekend, the San Antonio market is very lively with lots of local music and extraordinary crafts. Nearby is the San Antonio Inn, a very beautiful old place with tiled courtyards and garden for an exceptional lunch (it’s also on the Amex Plat offer) and is next to to the Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera studio (not the house) which is worth a brief visit, but not a patch on the house. While you can travel on the metro, it is really worth getting a car with driver so you can see the city as you travel around; it will on cost around $15/hour and will transform your visit and enable you to see much more. It’s really worth doing a day trip with a guide to the pyramids.

      For lunch with a view, try Arango quite exceptional food at fair prices overlooking a rather unknown square/monument.

      Re Four Seasons, it’s very tired; I hope you have got a suitably cheap price. The one thing it has vs other Reforma hotels is a wonderful courtyard but they often privatise it. The rooms are really quite poor and breakfast terrible (you actually are better off using their bakery in the lobby rather than the restaurant) and service falls well below other CDMX hotel standards; it’s obsequious but ineffective. We have stayed a number of times but now wouldn’t go back.

      • smitrax says:

        Thanks for this. Very useful.

        Not sure we got a particularly good price on the Four Seasons so will check out some other hotel options for our last couple of nights.

  • Jonty says:

    If there’s one thing Mexico does brilliantly it’s eggs for breakfast in many different ways. The bizarre poached eggs in a bowl of water in not typical. You want to try a la Mexicana (scrambled with bits of tomato, pepper, and chilli),Rancheros (fried served on tostadas with refried beans and usually sauce), Divorciados (similar but one in red sauce, one in green) and Motulenos (with a whole load of things) , alongside the more obvious eggs with ham/bacon/dried prawn etc

  • dundj says:

    Apologies if I have missed it, but which room type were you allocated?

  • Keith says:

    We are in Mexico just now. Really fantastic and, as you say, massive city. We’ve been at Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico (as seen in the opening sequence of Spectre). Have found it pretty straightforward to get around on foot and there is a massive police presence. Also, a huge number of restaurants to choose from eligible for the platinum dining credit offer.

  • PH says:

    The shower toiletries are Davines, the range is called MOMO but that’s not the brand

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