Central Region: Colonial- Mexico City and Cuernavaca

written by | Posted on March 12th, 2013

Rancho Cuernavaca, a ranch that is truly an oasis in the heart of town.

What to Expect: Mexico City is the seat of power of the Republic and a thoroughly captivating megalopolis with endless possibilities. About an hour away, rural Cuernavaca retains its small-town allure without neglecting the finer things in life.

Wedding Bells: “Mexico City has an untapped potential in the destination weddings segment,” says Mauricio Reyna, director of the Mexico City Tourism Secretariat (mexicocity.gob.mx). “Few destinations in the western hemisphere offer the possibility of celebrating your wedding at a beautiful historical building or 17th century church. With world-renowned hotel brands, gorgeous boutique properties and a wide array of special events facilities, Mexico City has the perfect combination of modern luxury and classical elegance to host an unforgettable celebration. Much to the delight of wedding guests, Mexico City offers an abundance of attractions, from the Aztec ruins of El Templo Mayor to the world-famous Palace of Fine Arts, that can also turn a destination wedding getaway into an amazing vacation.” Add to all that fabulousness the fact that same-sex weddings are legal in Mexico City, and you’ve got a win-win situation.

Lovers of good design and even better cuisine will want to book the intimate 35-room Las Alcobas (lasalcobas.com), located in the trendy Polanco neighborhood. The property was custom-crafted by acclaimed design duo Yabu Pushelberg (clients include Prada and Louis Vuitton), reflecting Mexico City’s cosmopolitan edge. Customized wedding receptions benefit not only from the posh surroundings, but also from chef Marta Ortiz’s superb menus—foodies will know her as the owner of the acclaimed Aguila y Sol restaurant in the city. Rack rates start at $350 per night.

Looking for modern in a bigger package? The 237-room W Mexico City (starwoodhotels.com) brings its own brand of seductive to Polanco. “At W Mexico City, we know that the wedding day is one of the most important celebrations in a couple’s life—it’s a unique event that marks new beginnings and it’s an unforgettable lifetime experience, that’s why we want to make it perfect and special,” says general manager Benoit Racle. Couples will love the quirky W touches: dogs are welcome to the weddings (complete with their own buffet) and they’ll set up a “Wishing Well Wall” for your guests to write down all their good wishes for the bride and groom. Room rates start at $259 per night.

View from Posada del Tepozteco in Tepotlan, Morelos

The Hacienda San Gabriel de las Palmas (hacienda-sangabriel.com.mx) represents everything that’s wonderful about Cuernavaca. Now a luxury hotel with its own day spa, its history dates back to 1529, when Hernan Cortes himself ordered its construction. The architecture is breathtaking and the gardens are a magnificent setting for a wedding. Though it only has 20 rooms, they can handle a reception for up to 500. The hotel can arrange for wedding planner services and provides an extensive menu for customizing your client’s event, plus a variety of cultural tours (it even has an onsite museum.)

A brilliant blend of old and new, the owners of Anticavilla Hotel & SPA (member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World; anticavillahotel.com) went to great lengths to maintain the integrity of the centuries-old building, while the interiors are gorgeously minimalistic. Contemporary murals and modern furnishings adorn the 21 rooms and suites, each named after an Italian artist. A favorite with chic Mexico City brides, it’s sure to check off all the boxes for the most demanding U.S. bride.

Sightseeing: “Mexico City is definitely a city of romance,” says Stephanie Schneiderman of Tia Stephanie Tours, Cultural Journeys (tiastephanietours.com). “Imagine a romantic ride through the floating gardens of Xochimilco serenaded by a mariachi, or a walk through Chapultepec Park (the city’s version of Central Park) followed by a row out on the lake. You can explore the ancient past at the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, then head out of the city for a climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan…. And because Mexico City is a hub for flights to many other destinations in the Republic, I would suggest adding a few days there to any itinerary for an unforgettable experience.”

The breathtaking historical heart of Mexico City has been photographed extensively, but nothing can match the actual fact of standing on the enormous Zocalo with the magnificent Metropolitan Cathedral on one side and the National Palace on the other. Inside both, the artistry is amazing—including the murals on the palace walls painted by Diego Rivera himself. Life bustles in the historic center, now the center of all things hip, though the exclusive neighborhoods of Polanco, La Condesa, and the artsy Coyoacan (Frida Kahlo’s home town) would beg to differ. The city is all one big smorgasbord for the senses—shopping, dining, music, world-class sports, museums, galleries, theaters, sights and sounds.

Not too far from Mexico City, the city of Cuernavaca, or “City of Eternal Spring,” was once the playground of the Aztec rulers. Its mild climate, soothing hot springs and pristine natural pools, as well as its rich history, make it an excellent hotspot. One of the city’s most historic architectural beauties is the Palacio de Hernan Cortes, built shortly after the Conquest. It is the oldest civil building in the city and the Americas, and now operates as a museum. Other must-sees are the pyramid of Teopanzolco, a legacy of the Tlahuicas, and the Cuauhnahuac Museum, both representative of the state of Morelo’s archaeology. The city’s cathedral and its adjacent open chapel, both completed in the 16th century, are another historic must-see, as is the World Heritage site of Xochicalco, “the place of the house of flowers.” There are several shops that sell marvelous handicrafts from nearby villages, and the restaurants are excellent.

Haciendes de Cortes' impressive grounds in Cuernavaca.

Weather: Mexico City’s altitude gives it a moderate climate year-round, though it can get quite cool from November through February. May through October is the rainy season, but the main thing to watch for is the altitude (7,350 ft. above sea level) and, at times, the air quality. Cuernavaca’s climate is located in a tropical region, but its temperature is fairly consistent in the 70s.