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.
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.
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.
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:
As there were no other guests, check-in was prompt. The lobby features these intriguing face-chairs:
Rooms at W Mexico City
I believe the rooms last had a refresh in 2016 with a very glossy, white and cream design:
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:
There are a lot of hard surfaces here, from the big white tiles to the desk and frosted-glass minibar:
Only the beds really soften the effect:
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:
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:
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:
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:
…. 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.
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:
I’m told the W is also the only hotel in the city to feature a traditional Temazcal lodge:
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:
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:
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:
…. plus various cold cuts, including smoked salmon, jamon, salami etc:
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:
…. 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 ….
There’s also a range of fresh fruit and cereals:
…. and, bizarrely, a dedicated ‘Asian’ section:
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.
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.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (March 2023)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
Marriott Bonvoy American Express
20,000 bonus points and 15 elite night credits Read our full review
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)