Las Alcobas, the alcoves, is the highly successful vision of its owner, the charming and erudite Samuel Leizorek. After successful spells in management consultancy and in his family’s steel pipe business, he went to Cornell and learned hotel-keeping. He bought a seven-floor residential block in Mexico City’s trendy Polanco area, and converted it to a 35-room independent hotel. Quickly after its 2010 opening it established a strong following: anything between 35 and 50% of guests are repeats, which is outstanding, and, says the gal, My Second Home launders and stores clothes for these loyalists, ready for their next visit.
The interiors stress Mexico’s natural materials, with skilful jigsaw alignment of natural stone in corridors, and tiger-pattern wood used extensively in bedrooms. Designers are Yabu Pushelberg, whom Leizorek chose after extensive interviews. He must get on well with all his business partners, he told me, and he obviously gelled with Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu from the start – they have also just done a refresh, which includes adding, either side of the fresh linen-covered bedheads, ceiling-high grey leather panels embroidered in white thread. Just as the bed linens are Italian (Rivolta Carmignani) so is all this furniture (bespoke). You feel really pampered staying here: there are dried herbs and flowers to put in the bathtub, and a hibiscus-decorated tray of Naturopathica soaps invites you to take your pick – in my case mint.
Naturopathica, from Long Island in USA; Neal’s Yard, from England, and Cinq Mondes, from France, are the three products in the hotel’s Aurora Spa. I did a couple of workouts in the bijou gym, which cannot open until 9 a.m. as there is a bedroom immediately beneath. I also extensively walked the Polanco surrounds, along Calle Anatole France, past Nobu and other enticing restaurants and boutiques, to Lincoln Park. Sadly, it was only as I left that I saw two hard-backs in my room, by YP: yes, the talented Yabu Pushelberg duo are also wordsmiths. Interestingly, they have chosen unadorned dust-wraps for the books on shelves in the all-day main restaurant, Anatole, named for that lovely street. Here the hues are soft sand. with walls hung with mirrors and paintings. This is a neighbourhood restaurant that spills out on to the pavement, where the soft grey chairs match that design colour scheme.
This luxury hotel’s main restaurant is cleverly thought out: marble steps lead to an upper floor that can be used as overflow or for special events (I coincided with a party Peter Conway, Membership Director for Traveller Made, was holding). Anatole, the main restaurant, is subtle luxury, plain wood tables, Bernardaud china, Sambonet cutlery, Lavartex napkins. Chef Rodrigo del Valle produces just the kind of healthy, colourful food you might want, any time. For even more colour, walk 20 metres along Anatole France to Dulce Patria, instantly recognisable by its pink doormat. Owned and run by Samuel Leizorek, its culinary genius is his long-time friend Martha Ortiz – yes, she who also oversees Ella Canta in InterContinental London Hyde Park. NOW SEE SUITE 66