We decided that the Le Meridien Mexico City would be our home during our quick stay in the City. I was pushing for a Starwood Property so I could be guaranteed Platinum Status for 2014 – the next issue was which Starwood Property. MS had stayed at the W previously and he described the area as a bit like the Viagra Triangle (an area in Chicago with touristy mediocre restaurants that are frequented by douchy patrons — you get the idea, every City has one of these areas). That being said, we decided to give the Le Meridien a try – away from Douch-town. The rate we got, I thought, was pretty reasonable – with all the taxes and other fees associated with hotel bookings, our nightly rate was $146.
The hotel is located on the Paseo de la Reforma, which is a major boulevard that cuts diagonally across Mexico City. The building itself looks very modern and sleek from the outside. The cab driver wasn’t really sure where the hotel was – we gave him the actual address as well as the major cross street, but he was still a little confused. It took us about 25 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport. Once we pulled into the porte-cochere two bellmen leapt to help us with out bags.
The lobby is located on the second floor of the hotel while the first floor has a Starbucks and the hotel’s restaurant – C’est La Vie. As a side note, we only ate at the restaurant once, for breakfast after our first night. The buffet was slightly better than I was expecting, but I also have horribly low expectations when it comes to hotel breakfast buffets – especially outside of Asia. The $30 price tag was a bit much for this buffet – that’s or sure.
We were welcomed at the check-in desk with a hearty “Bonjour…buenos dias”. I introduced myself in French and was met with a blank stare – so I switched to Spanish which was slightly more recognized. The young woman working reception jumped into English, which served us all well. She then explained the hotel amenities to us, including the restaurant, the business center, the fitness center and she made a special point to talk about the ice machines – an odd thing to focus on. We were then given keys to our room on the 12th Floor and told that our luggage would join us shortly.
The room was quite spacious – much more so than I was expecting. We entered into the living area which had a couch and a chair in complimentary colors/style facing the TV and two pseudo dining chairs flanking a cocktail table opposite.
Heading up a couple stairs the bathroom was to the right and the mini bar to the left. While I never really use the mini bar, this one was nice, as we could use the sink to brush our teeth while one of us was in the bathroom. Speaking of the bathroom it was in good shape – clean, good water pressure and good temperature control (no surprise freezes or scaldings). It was a bit tricky getting in or out of the shower — the ledge was quite high, which was more problematic when exiting the shower as the step down was quite steep. This was exacerbated by the fact that the shower curtain didn’t really keep the water from running all over the tile floor. We both nearly broke our necks the first morning. We figured out the idiosyncrasies pretty quickly though (Darwinism at its finest).
The previously mentioned mini bar area had a handful of snacks and a fridge partially full of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. We did not partake – mostly because we are cheap – the idea of a $7 Kitkat Bar is really too much for me.
The bedroom was quite comfortable as well. We had a nice king sized bed that was not nearly as comfortable as our Heavenly bed at home, but I (who am a pretty light sleeper) got use to the lumps of this mattress pretty quickly and quite honestly, slept very well after the first couple hours on night one. The bedroom area also had a TV, which we only turned on when we were getting ready in the morning – and I watched TV5.
My biggest issue, as is my normal complaint, there were no accessible plugs next to the bed. I had to plug my phone and tablet in across the room. I like to keep my phone close to me at all times. Often when I travel, I will use a white noise app, mostly because of a snoring travel companion, but depending on the City and the hotel room itself, I do find it comes in quite handy. Speaking of noise – our room faced out on to the Paseo de la Reforma but we heard no street noise whatsoever.
Each night when we returned from our daily adventures, we found that our room at been cleaned and then (assuming later in the day) turn down service had been completed. We were left with sweets on the pillow each night — and boy were they gross. Basically we were left with the sugar/jellied candies that tasted like something your great aunt would serve when the kids came over. I appreciate the touch and I’m sure many people like this type of treat, but it really was outside of my wheel house.
I have two problems with this hotel. The first relates to our departure. Our last night in Mexico City, we returned to the hotel around 22h30 and asked the front desk what time we should get up so we could make our early morning (~07h00) flight home. They suggested having a cab pick us up at 05h15 – fine. At 05h15 we are waiting for the taxi, which the hotel had pre-arranged for us — which coincidentally never showed up. We were put into a separate cab just in the nick of time. The Paseo de la Reforma was being shut down for a massive protest. Thousands of people were being bussed in from all over the region to protest governmental action or inaction (it wasn’t clear). The bellman told us that if we hadn’t gotten out when we did, we’d have to walk more than a mile to get around the blockades and find a taxi. This really frustrated me because this was the first and only time we were told there may be traffic issues (especially at 05h30 on a Sunday morning). I think what also makes me frustrated was that the hotel had been very good about communicating other irregularities — for example, C’est La Vie (the hotel restaurant) was closed for a private event — we were informed by the bellmen when we walked in and we had a written note from the management team the day before the closure. I was impressed. That all went away the day we left. They delivered more than I expected in some instances but didn’t in others.
The other problem with this hotel really is the location. Yes, it’s on a major thoroughfare and relatively close to public transit, but there isn’t a whole hell of a lot going on in this area. I hate to say it, but next time I think I’ll stay over near the W — despite the douchebags and tourists — at least there are bars within walking distance of the hotel.
This was my third Le Meridien stay ever — all in 2013, come to think of it. In March we stayed at the Le Meridien Angkor and then in June we stayed at Le Parker Meridien. All in all, I like this Starwood brand. Each hotel is completely different – different style, different vibe. Unlike the W, where no matter what City you’re in, you know you’re in a W.
Have you stayed at the Le Meridien Mexico City before? Did you like the property and the neighborhood? Next time you are in Mexico City where would you stay?