And now for another Yabu Pushelberg design, at Mexico City’s luxury St Regis hotel, right at Plaza Reforma. Just as at the sibling St Regis Bal Harbour, north of Miami, here the design is a harmonious colour palette of pale mushrooms, greys and soft purples (corridors have mid-grey carpets with champagne-coloured squiggles). Room 1117 looked down at the statue of the goddess Diana, in the middle of the circle – it also looked across to a just-painted exterior wall statement, see above. The room itself, shown in a video below, was if anything over-generous in hospitality, with no fewer than three sizes of cups for the simple Nespresso machine, and enough glasses to host a cocktail for the entire fooball squad. The flowers were, well, pretty as a picture, and ear plugs in a velvet bag said ‘luxury’.
This 189-room hotel, with lots of residences above, is the choice of those who want to see and be seen, says GM Thomas Jecklin, an Emmenthaler who seems to have run at least five of Marriott’s brands. That said, I would suggest it is also the regular Mexico City home for, well, Lewis Hamilton and World Bank officials who do not always want to be highly visible. Jecklin is a foodie. This hotel already offers bijou French, plus Mexican, a US grill and the brand-specific King Cole Bar, plus outsourced Spanish, and a Private Members’ Club. In addition, there will soon be a Japanese restaurant, and a to-go-café that cleverly transforms into a wine bar as the sun sets.
The third floor lobby has a kids’ check-in counter and a fairground-type cart with big bowls of bonbons that must please little sugar-lovers, though not necessarily their mums. Nearby are two immaculate illuminated Rolex vitrines, and a standing Veuve Clicquot cabinet. Ah, Champagne…. St Regis is renowned for its sabrage skills and here a concierge performed magnificently and with great flair – see a video below. I was on my way to dine with the hotel’s all-purpose Man Friday, Roberto Otalora, and this sabrage was a memorable prelude before heading to J&G Grill, which is licensed from Jean Georges Vongerichten.
Yes, we could have gone fancy but real luxury hotels know that sometimes simplicity equals perfection – one of the best-selling appetizers on Diego Sobrino’s leather-bound menu is an avocado pizza. I went Mexican with heirloom tomato salad with crispy onion rings followed by a truly memorable Oaxaca prime rib with fries. We drank Casa Madero 3V Gran Reserva 2015 Valle de Parras. What seemed like only a few hours later I had the pleasure, in the 24/7 Technogym, of diverting from CNN to the Bonvoy channel, selling Marriott’s loyalty programme: much to my surprise I gave the section I saw 10/10 because it featured an incredible African-American performance artist, Jon Boogz, with waist-length dreadlocks. Luxury hotels like this one know they need to come up not only with the superlative – viz. here, the perfect bananas in the gym and the fan-shaped avocado with my breakfast eggs – but also with continual surprises. As I left I was handed a tiny ribbon-wrapped box containing the actual cork of the Champagne. The widow’s face looked up at me from the cap. SEE ROOM 1117 AND THEN JOIN THE SABRAGE