Rick Shively, a Recommend contributing editor, visited Mexico and Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ most elegant properties in the country—The St. Regis Mexico City and The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort in Riviera Nayarit. In this article, he covers The St. Regis Mexico City where he had anchor stays coming into Mexico City the first day before spending two nights in Riviera Nayarit and then still another day stay on his return to Mexico City before returning home.
We started off aboard Mexico’s newest airline, Interjet, which has been promoted as a discount airline for travel from the U.S. to Mexico. Both going and coming from Mexico City from Miami International Airport, the flights were full with families on vacation or shopping trips.
Inflight service during our flight from Miami did not include meals, just complimentary drinks and minimal snacks, but service was fast, efficient and friendly. Passenger loading and unloading was also very efficient and generally hassle-free—more than a bit of a surprise considering the number of families traveling. But for that same reason, baggage claim was a bit of a lengthy and frustrating process.
Upon arrival in Mexico City, a St. Regis driver met us for the drive to the hotel. You certainly get a bird’s-eye idea of the enormity of this historical city as your plane goes over the city and into its landing pattern, but once you leave the airport on the ground, you get an even more jarring idea of how 22 million people move around this sprawling metropolis—very, very slowly. It’s Friday, the driver explained. “It seems like every Friday, every Mexican in the city is in their car going or coming from somewhere.”
After arriving at the hotel and dropping off our bags, we got a quick tour of some of the room categories with the Grand Luxury jr. suites and rooms getting the best views overlooking the city’s famous boulevard, La Reforma. But never mind the views—the rooms and suites themselves are elegant and spacious with huge marble baths, large tubs, a collection of high-end soaps and amenities. The beds are queen- and king-sized, and there are flat-screen TVs and more.
Indeed, the entire interior of The St. Regis Mexico City just screams understated elegance, with subdued lighting and luxurious carpeting in the hallways. In the public areas, it’s a minimalist design with marble floors and elegant accessories that translate into luxury without pretentiousness.
The most important aspect from the guest service factor, however, is the butler service—your own personal butler available 24/7. In the room itself, there’s a digital control box that allows you to page or call the butler with your request. They’re also there to help with your packing and unpacking. It’s truly a high-end experience and the staff knows how to pamper and please.
And speaking of pampering and pleasing, that’s where the Remede Spa comes in and boy do they pamper. You can start off or end a massage with a steam bath, sauna, relaxation pool or choose from two jacuzzis of differing temperatures. But it’s the massage program that’s the game winner in our book. Each and every massage offers personalized treatments for whatever ails the spa client. Got a crick in the neck—they’ll focus on that; lower back problems, not a problem; shoulders wired up with stress, they’ll melt that tightness down like butter in a hot pan. And while they’re doing all that, you’re still getting a regular full-body massage with the addition of a variety of oils, fragrances, herbal potions, and aromas that add to the 60 minutes of bliss.
Still another standout at The St. Regis Mexico City is the recently opened J&G Grill, a restaurant concept developed by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The bottom line is the dishes are creative—avocado pizza, red snapper sushi sitting atop toasted rice, crab cake with avocado, grapefruit and ginger—positively and heavenly delicious, and totally unique. Desserts are no less amazing with a cheesecake that’s one of the creamiest pieces of confection we’ve ever had.
Of course, as one of the most historical and culturally important cities in the western hemisphere, we spent an afternoon trying to squeeze in as much as we could, with our guide pointing out the wealth of historical sites as we drove by countless memorials and museums that begged to be discovered, but with, unfortunately, little or no time to go inside. We did, however, make a stop in the main square in the heart of the city called the Zocalo, where two cultures clash with the remains of the Templo Mayor (the series of Aztec temples destroyed by the conquering Spaniards), the city’s main cathedral, much of it built with stones of the ruined temples, and the Palace of Fine Arts.
But it’s the color and liveliness of the Zocalo that makes it a worthwhile visit. Dozens, if not hundreds of vendors ply the square and the surrounding streets, food and juice sellers scream out the availability and the quality of their wares and native fortune tellers and shamans charge you 10 pesos to cleanse your soul of impurities, while other native groups perform their dances or music.
With Interjet’s recent added nonstop route between New York (JFK) and Mexico City, families are getting to Mexico’s fabulous properties even faster, with added benefits including complimentary meals, premium beverages, free seat selection and up to 110 pounds of baggage per ticket. The new route adds a third gateway city in the U.S. for Interjet, which already operates out of Miami and San Antonio. An introductory rate of $349 roundtrip is available for bookings and travel through Jan. 31, 2013. Travel agents can register with Interjet to sell tickets and receive incentives. For more information, visit interjet.com or contact Paloma Vega, New York sales manager, for initial registration information at (718) 751-2623 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on Mexico City and the St. Regis properties in Mexico City and Punta Mita, look for print coverage in the October issue.