Las Alcobas in Mexico City: How the hotel melds luxury with a sense of place

MEXICO CITY — I had one of the best meals of my life this year, and it happened in Mexico City.

More specifically, it happened at Anatol, the restaurant at Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in the city’s ritzy Polanco neighborhood.

Upscale hotels are a dime a dozen in world-class cities. But my favorites are the ones that give you a sense of place. Las Alcobas is a snapshot of what makes Mexico City one of the world’s best cosmopolitan centers. It’s located in one of the most coveted neighborhoods of the city, within walking distance of restaurants, parks, nightlife and shopping opportunities.

The restaurant is rooted in Mexican cooking and ingredients but brings flavors from around the world in a nice little melting pot of diversity and evolution. The rooms are elegant, sleek, and modern but rounded out with touches that are decidedly local, and its menu of curated experiences brings travelers a little bit closer to the soul of Mexico City.

Dining at Anatol

The restaurant, helmed by Chef Rodrigo del Valle, focuses on seasonal ingredients to create a menu that is rooted in Mexico but weaves in a little bit of everywhere else — kind of like Mexico City itself. My first taste was a chef-curated menu of his favorites that showcases his creativity, experimentation and time-honored Mexican traditions.

Standouts include the avocado flatbread, served with pickled avocado, a first for me but hopefully not the last. The lobster esquite was an haute take on a traditional Mexican street food, with huge chunks of lobster, a broth made with crab, Chile de arbol and corn.

On a subsequent visit I was also able to try the Anatol hamburger, where everything from the bun to the relish was made in-house.

While I did not get to try it myself, I was often tempted by the Brooklyn Sandwich, a heaping mound of homemade corned beef stuffed between rye bread and topped with melty gruyere. And lest I forget breakfast, the enmoladas deserve a round of applause.

This is all to say, you will eat very, very well at Anatol and, if you’re lucky enough to be staying at Las Alcobas, you won’t be very far from your room when the food coma hits. 

Hotel rooms: Midcentury with a local touch

Speaking of rooms, the 35 guest rooms at the hotel were all refurbished in 2020. I stayed in a Deluxe Room overlooking the Avenida Masaryk, the main artery of Polanco.

The design of the rooms is sleek and midcentury modern, with spa touches (like a marble bathroom with a soaking tub). The room was also stocked with a chest of traditional Mexican candies, which was a nice touch that helped to give the room a sense of place.

A highlight: Private tours

One of the highlights of the revamped hotel is its Curated Experiences, a collection of carefully planned, half- and full-day private tours that come complete with experienced guides, a luxury vehicle, tickets, and even restaurant reservations.

I signed up for the Birth of a New City — Burial of a Past Civilization tour, which took me around the Zocalo and into some of the most important and impressive buildings downtown. I have been to Mexico City countless times, and I saw things on this tour that I had never seen before. The five-hour tour flew by in record time.

High service standards

Las Alcobas is certainly modern-day Mexico City in design and ethos, as well as modern-day Mexico City in service.

The staff here, from the bellman up to the general manager, made us feel at home; the waitstaff at the restaurant remembered our coffee orders each morning and our preferred wines at night, and they always greeted us with the warmest smiles.

Each time I walked through the doors of Las Alcobas I felt like I was returning home. 

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