5 reasons you’ll love Las Alcobas in Mexico City

I finally got the opportunity to visit Mexico City in May. What made my brief visit to this metropolis of nearly 20 million people very special was a two-night stay at Las Alcobas, a 35-room boutique hotel located in the trendy Polanco neighbourhood of Mexico City.

las-alcobas

Las Alcobas is a beautiful hotel that just became part of the Starwood family of hotels in March, 2015.

I chose Las Alcobas for three reasons:

  1. Las Alcobas is part of the Starwood Luxury Collection, and many of my memorable stays in new destinations have been thanks the support of Starwood Hotels who provided me with an affordable media rate for this stay.
  2. Las Alcobas is located just two blocks from Que Bo! Chocolatier–run by Mexico’s number one man of chocolate. Stay tuned next week for a post on Que Bo!
  3. Polanco is a really cool and safe historical district with lots of restaurants, boutiques, and people watching in any direction of the hotel.

These reasons made visiting Mexico City a highlight of my recent Chocolatour to Mexico.

las-alcobas

The view from my room at Las Alcobas was inspirational.

Las Alcobas translates to “the bedrooms.” I was thrilled that my room overlooked the courtyard of an old church. And my room was extremely quiet and private. It was a much appreciated oasis of comfort after a nine-hour day of travel from Winnipeg to Mexico City via Toronto. I was welcomed with a plate of moliendas–flat discs of dark chocolate covered in candy sprinkles–a traditional Mexican treat.

Moliendas

Here are 5 reasons why you a guaranteed to enjoy your stay at Las Alcobas.

  1. The hotel is devoted to self-care. There is an on-site spa which I didn’t have the opportunity to visit. But in your room, you will find a platter of artisan soaps made with coconut oil in a variety of recipes to cure what ails you. You’ll find a “Vita Bath” jet tub in your room in which you can enjoy an aromatherapy bath prepared for you by your personal “Bath Butler.” The bath was a much needed highlight for me that made me never want to leave this sanctuary in the heart of one of the world’s largest cities!

    vita-bath

    Enjoying the Vita Bath in my room at Las Alcobas was a highlight of my stay.

  2. The food is great and highly creative. My stay included an amazing Mexican breakfast in the second floor dining room. I enjoyed Mexican-style Eggs Benedict one morning, and the Brioche French Toast the next. Both were fabulous, and came with fresh-baked pastries and fresh fruit salad to complement the entree and keep me pleasantly filled for the day.

    brioche-french-toast

    The Brioche French Toast was served with orange butter, apple and orange salad, pecans, and maple syrup from Vermont.

  3. A visit to Polanco is a terrific way to familiarize yourself with the heart of Mexico. I wish I’d had more time to shop, but I did find a very good supply of fabulous chocolate.

    que-bo-chocolate

    Jose-Ramon-Castillo of Que Bo! is a mastermind of Mexican chocolate.

  4. Which brings me to number 4 … Que Bo! Chocolatier is one of the most artistic chocolate shops I have ever visited! Chocolate lipstick anyone? Stay tuned for a full post about the man who is leading Mexico’s Chocolate Evolution.
  5. The staff at Las Alcobas is incredible, from the ultra-charming manager, to the equally charming Bath Butler who brought me the customized aromatherapy prepared to my specifications, and the helpful server in the restaurant who told me about the chocolate museum. More on that in the next post, too!

I’ve heard tell there is a Salon du Chocolat in Mexico City in 2016, and with any luck … I’ll be back at Las Alcobas before that bath cools off! I see cocoa butter is the top ingredient listed in their spa menu, and we all know where cocoa butter comes from …

Have you been to Las Albacos or Polanco in Mexico City? Please share your thoughts and experiences here, and please join me next week for a revelation on the evolution of Mexican chocolate.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

87 Responses

  1. Catarina says:

    It’s actually been 20 years since I went on a business trip to Mexico City. Stayed at a 5-star hotel in Polanco that was popular in those days. If I go again I will try Las Alcobas because your description makes it sound enjoyable.

    Personally found the city interesting not least because I thoroughly enjoyed socializing with friends of friends of mine that showed me around and enabled me to enjoy myself.

    Most likely the only chocolate I tried there was the small one on the pillow when my room had been made up for the night. Or maybe I had a chocolate dessert of some kind in one of the restaurants?
    Catarina recently posted…Do you ask yourself what, who, why, how and when?My Profile

    • Hi Catarina: If you haven’t been to Mexico City for 20 years, it’s time to return! You will find a lot of exciting new temptations to please you. And you will find quite an evolution in the chocolate. I was amazed at how good the modern Mexican chocolate is, compared to the highly granule and often bitter chocolate than I previously thought characterized Mexican chocolate.

  2. Linda Paul
    Twitter:
    says:

    I hate to admit that, although Mexico shares a long border with my country, I have never visited this country. You make it sound very enticing, indeed!
    Linda Paul recently posted…Dear Dirk, I love you, but you damned near killed me . . .again!My Profile

    • Hi Linda: You will be amazed at the range of experiences you can have in Mexico. I’ve been visiting this country for about 30 years now, but most of my previous visits were to beach resorts or border towns. On my recent trip, I had the pleasure of finally getting to Mexico City and Guadalajara, two cultural meccas in the interior of the country that are perfect for those of us who appreciate the arts. Stay tuned, as I will have a series of posts devoted to Mexico over the next several weeks.

  3. Kathy Andrew
    Twitter:
    says:

    Ooh this sounds fabulous Doreen. I’ve always found the idea of going to Mexico City intimidating as it’s such a big city, but the idea of staying in a neighbourhood with history and good food and chocolate right there sounds perfect. And now with a great hotel to stay in. One day….
    Kathy Andrew recently posted…Why Was Evelyn Waugh “Apalled” By His Own Work?My Profile

  4. Lenie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Doreen – you make the stay at Las Alcobas sound fascinating. I’ve never been to Mexico but I do love going to hotels where they pamper you. I love the aroma therapy jet tub – that would be something I could spend hours in – what a way to relax. Those sprinkle covered chocolates look pretty good too.
    Lenie recently posted…Avon Skin So Soft: Multi-Tasker 2My Profile

    • Hi Lenie and thx for your comment. I am so thrilled to have rediscovered Mexico. It has been about 20 years since my visit previous to this one. And I’m glad to be discovering cities where real Mexican life is being lived, as I had spent too much time in tourist areas prior to this. Yes, there is something pretty amazing at just enjoying the amenities in a great room, isn’t there? I never have time for a relaxing bath at home, so I really enjoy it when I’m in a hotel that has a fabulous tub and amenities to go with it!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…5 reasons you’ll love Las Alcobas in Mexico CityMy Profile

  5. Patricia Weber
    Twitter:
    says:

    Doreen years ago we visited Mexico but the truth is, I don’t remember what city. That’s because is was a trip full of partying! What sounds great in this travel piece to Las Alcobas in Mexico City is the welcoming chocolates and then your visit to the chocolate shop. Looking forward to hearing about chocolate lipstick!
    Patricia Weber recently posted…#RomanceAwareness Month: Are Introverts Hard To Love?My Profile

  6. I haven’t ben to Mexico City in many years. That’s probably why I have not heard of Las Albacos or Polanco in Mexico City. But it certainly sounds like it’s worth the trip. The danger being, I may never want to leave the hotel…other than to sneak out to Que Bo! Chocolatier!!
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Equality… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • I can definitely relate to that comment, Jacquie! I’d spent the day out at the chocolate shop and chocolate museum, so for the evening, I just chose to stay in my lovely room at Las Albacos and have some drinks and snacks, and sink into that delicious tub!

  7. Phoenicia
    Twitter:
    says:

    This looks like a great hotel from the food to the decor, to the entertainment. I could definitely “lose myself” in the spa.

    The chocolate shop also lured me.

    I have never had the opportunity to visit Mexico but may well pop in here when I do!
    Phoenicia recently posted…What does success mean to you?My Profile

  8. Leora
    Twitter:
    says:

    Chocolate lipstick – that does sound fun. And I’m enjoying seeing your feet relax in the tub.
    Leora recently posted…Updating WordPress – CarefullyMy Profile

  9. Very Nice Doreen! Never been to Mexico. You make it sound very enticing and exciting.
    I see myself visiting Mexico in the near future.
    Thanks for sharing x

    • Interesting how many people have not been to Mexico! We in Canada have always been able to get pretty cheap packages to the beach resorts, and many of us have driven over the U.S./MX border into the border towns. But I was thrilled to finally make it into the central state of Jalisco, and visit Guadalajara and Mexico City. I hope you get a chance to visit .mexico sometime soon.

  10. Ken Dowell
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ve never been to Mexico City nor Polanco. Hotel looks great and the neighborhood seems like a really interesting place to stay.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…Coding Our Future: Novelists Weigh InMy Profile

  11. This sounds wonderful Doreen! I haven’t been to Mexico City in years, but my husband and I used to spend so much time in Mexico we actually debated whether to move there or Maui – and the rest is history – but I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Mexico.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Why It’s So Easy to Skip Self-CareMy Profile

  12. Natalie Deduck
    Twitter:
    says:

    Chocolate, hot tubs and nice view! I´m sold!
    Good that you mentioned that the hotel Las Alcobas is in a safe area, most of tourist get a little apprehensive while booking accommodation in Mexico City because of the dangerous reputation of the city.
    Waiting for the next posts to come!
    Delicious travels,
    Nat
    Natalie Deduck recently posted…Powerful Lesson from 1 year travelling the worldMy Profile

  13. I always love reading about my (adopted) home! We’ve been living in Mexico City for 3.5 years now and love it. I also love Las Alcobas and its restaurant, it really is a great hotel. Next time you come to Mexico City you’ll have to stay longer there is so much more to see and do (and more chocolate shops too!).
    Katja – globetotting recently posted…The (posthumous) adventures of Christopher Columbus!My Profile

  14. What a cool place! The hotel looks just beautiful and what is not to like about chocolate? I mean, really!!! By reading the other comments above I see I’m not the only one to hesitate about visiting Mexico city. The reputation is less that stellar. I visited it many, many, many years ago and one day when the timing feels right I want to go back and show my kids!
    The Educational Tourist recently posted…Liebster Award winner!My Profile

  15. Tim says:

    Mexico City is a place I visited several years ago and found it to be romantic and full of charm. I would visit again in a heartbeat and try these places you wrote about so descriptively.
    Tim recently posted…Island LifeMy Profile

  16. Susan cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Doreen, trip looks wonderful. I have always wanted to go to Mexico City, and if I do get the chance, I’m headed straight to these places! 🙂
    Susan cooper recently posted…Three Easy Dessert Sauces: #RecipeMy Profile

  17. Although I’ve passed through Mexico City many times, I’ve never visited. Las Alcobas looks like a great base for exploring the city.
    Irene S. Levine recently posted…Suculent: Traditional Catalan tapas laced with a touch of whimsyMy Profile

  18. Rosalind
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hotels that pamper you, what more could you ask for?!!
    Another place to add to the bucket list.
    Rosalind recently posted…How to: Propagate and Divide bearded irisMy Profile

  19. Donna Janke
    Twitter:
    says:

    Las Alcobas sounds like a delightful place to stay. I haven’t been to Mexico City and admit it’s size has always sounded a bit intimidating. Your post and a couple of others I’ve read recently are making me reconsider that.
    Donna Janke recently posted…West End MuralsMy Profile

  20. Jeri
    Twitter:
    says:

    Maybe one of these days, I’ll make it to Mexico City though its not tops on my list. The aromatherapy bath sounds quite lovely.
    Jeri recently posted…#AuthorInterview: Jacqueline GumMy Profile

  21. I get envious of those who can travel.
    This place does look like a nice place to stay, and even though I may never make it there, at least you gave me a taste of it in your blog.
    Thanks for sharing.
    William Rusho recently posted…Myths, Lies and Misconceptions about the Medieval World.My Profile

  22. Anita
    Twitter:
    says:

    It’s been much too long since I was in Mexico City, but your post makes me eager to to return. Las Alcobas looks great!
    Anita recently posted…Barcelona rocks its street art — then and nowMy Profile

  23. Chris
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow, this looks so lavish!

    Glad you had such a lovely stay… still, in my opinion, the best parts of Mexico tend to be on the streets, not in any hotel 😉
    Chris recently posted…Galapagos: Beneath the waves of Santa FeMy Profile

  24. Tracie Howe
    Twitter:
    says:

    You always seem to find the most indulgent places to visit, Doreen! Maybe it’s just the mention of relaxation and decadent chocolates that gives me that impression. 😉
    Tracie Howe recently posted…Travel photography : How to avoid the ugly in the real world – Part 1My Profile

  25. Mexico City has never been on my travel list, Doreen, but you had to go and change that! ha! Love the description of the hotel and the area in which it’s located. Sounds like a wonderful time. Can’t wait to read more.
    Rose M Griffith recently posted…What About Mothers and Deep Conversations?My Profile

  26. Sanket D.
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ve a friend who’s living in Guadalaraja, and she hates me for not coming over and visiting her in Mexico. I can’t help it – the flights are ridiculously expensive ATM, but the more I read about this country the stronger the temptation becomes. Perhaps sometime early next year!
    Sanket D. recently posted…What Makes Dahab a Great Experiential DestinationMy Profile

  27. krystle cook
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ve only been to mexico once as a child and it was nothing like this place. I do remember a roller coaster on the roof of a hotel though. Looks like I need to stay at Las Alcobas!

  28. Oh, you had me at chocolate lipstick! I remember back in the late 80s, there was a gorgeous shade of lipstick that reminded me of milk chocolate – and it was actually quite flattering. You do have the best job! Now I’m hungry for french toast, too. And it’s ALL your fault : ))
    Krystyna Lagowski recently posted…It’s true, the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is now more baller than everMy Profile

  29. Looks like a gorgeous place to stay and I’m all about a hotel that is all about self-care!
    Julie recently posted…Arches National ParkMy Profile

  30. I love boutique hotels and also the Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City. I’ll consider a stay at Las Alcobas next time I am in town. BTW, love that image of you in the tub! Perhaps you’d like to submit it to my Traveling Toes Photo Gallery at, http://berkeleyandbeyond.com/Way-Beyond/Photo-Galleries/Photos-of-Toes/photos-of-toes.html If yes, just follow the format and sent it along to me.
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers recently posted…Good Eats: SriPraPhai, NYC–Queens–Jackson Heights/WoodsideMy Profile

  31. What surprises me about your travels Doreen is how many cities boost services and shops with Chocolate! Maybe i’ve never been on the look out for chocolate foods and spas but the plethora of chocolate boutiques around the globe is amazing. I would never think of Mexico as a chocolate lover’s escape.
    Pamela Chollet recently posted…Nesting Phase of Pregnancy | NurseryMy Profile

    • Hi Pamela and thx for your comment.

      It’s my job to find all the chocolate must-see’s around the world. 🙂 you’d be surprised. I can find a worthy chocolate diversion in virtually any destination.

      Regarding Mexico and chocolate … Don’t forget it was the Aztecs and the Mayans who first indulged in cacao/cocoa in its purest form. They treasured cacao so much that it was actually traded as currency. We’ve got the Spaniards to thank for bringing cocoa beans to Spain and turning it into modern chocolate.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…a decadent diversion at Pearson International AirportMy Profile

  32. Wow this sure looks like my kind of place. The attention to detail is lovely and I am very intrigued by the chocolate lipstick idea!

  33. All the sudden I am regretting my decision not to be a more luxury blogger! ahaha, love the bath butler, i love baths….and chocolate lipstick…that wouldnt last long for me
    Kimberly Erin recently posted…El Chalten Argentina: Just Keep TrekkinMy Profile

  34. Elizabeth
    Twitter:
    says:

    Sounds like a good area to stay in if you visit Mexico. I will make a note of it for future travels. It is not an place I am familiar with, but you make it sound great!
    Elizabeth recently posted…Money Saving Tips for Traveling Around TurkeyMy Profile

  35. I guess I must visit Mexico’s #1 chocolate man. Oh, and some other places!
    Charles McCool recently posted…5 Minutes With Rachel RudwallMy Profile

  36. Sue Reddel
    Twitter:
    says:

    Las Alcobas sounds like a terrific find! I adore moliendas and would thoroughly enjoy them in that Vitabath with the personalized aromatherapy. I did Salon du Chocolat in Paris a few years back. I’ve never been to Mexico City so that might need to be added to our 2016 travel agenda.
    Sue Reddel recently posted…Tasty TorontoMy Profile

  37. Carol Colborn says:

    Interesting! Bath Butler and Chocolatour! Learned two new things today. We were in Mexico City in 2009 but it was way different than this. Thanks.

    • Hi Carol and thx for your comment.

      Mexico City is huge! I’m sure each one of us could go there and have an entirely different experience. I’m sure grateful that my 1st visit to Mexico City included Las Alcobas and Que Bo!

  38. Oh Doreen… somehow I always find myself reaching for a chocolate bar after reading your posts 😉 – they are dangerous for the old waistline! Las Alcobas sounds and looks wonderful… especially so close to the ultimate chocolate man! Love the idea of chocolate lipstick, although i’d have probably licked it off my top lip by the time I finished applying to my bottom lip ;). Great post!

    Gabby
    Gabby recently posted…Why the Wild Ones are Richer than MostMy Profile

  39. Jenn says:

    Your article was so inviting. It’s been a dream of mine visiting Mexico. When I have time, I’ll bring my anti jet lag, and pursue my dream travel.
    Jenn recently posted…How to Avoid Jet LagMy Profile

  40. Spa and chocolate sounds like the trip I need right now. It’s not what I expected of Mexico City.
    Gemma Two Scots Abroad recently posted…Deafying Stereotypes – Deaf TravelMy Profile

  41. Haven’t been to Mexico City…. yet!! This looks like such an amazing place though and that chocolate flower looked so delicate (and tasty) but what really got my mouth watering was that breakfast!!
    Carolann – One Modern Couple recently posted…Light the Torches! Two Things We Regret Eating!My Profile

  42. oh wow that sounds awesome! I never really bothered to explore hotels in Mexico City because I have family who lives there, but that would be awesome place to stay at! I haven’t really have the chance to explore Mexico City much as I want to, so this place would be nice! 🙂
    Stacey Valle recently posted…Chichen Itza – One of the 7 world wondersMy Profile

  43. Hotels like this (devoted to self-care) are one of the reasons I would put extra money in accommodations. Will definitely visit if I am in the area. Thanks, Doreen!
    Trisha Velarmino recently posted…Is it safe to travel to Malawi?My Profile

  44. Kiani says:

    Thanks for this nice article. Keep it up. 🙂

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