Family Travel Forum's recommendations for the top family-welcoming places to stay in this massive and exciting city.
For additional travel and lodging information, visit the MÃ©xico City Tourism Authority and see how much there is for families to enjoy in Mexico’s capital, also known as “DF” for Distrito Federal. Unlike Europe, in this sophisticated city, families can still find double room prices from US$100-US$200/N, often with breakfast included. Here are our top picks for family-welcoming lodging, plus some travel tips to help you enjoy your visit.
Embassy Suites Mexico City Reforma
Paseo de la Reforma No.69, Col. Tabacalera, Mexico City 06030
800/362-3779 ; 52/55-5061-3050
This glass-clad tower debuted in mid-2007 across the busy Paseo de la Reforma from the popular Fiesta Americana Reforma, becoming the first chic boutique hotel to face off with the convention-friendly monolith. From street level, chrome and glass stairs wind up around a Dale Chihuly-like glass chandelier that lures visitors in with its playfulness. In this all-suite hotel, rooms are spacious and simply decorated with quality fabrics, well-made furniture, and comfortable luxury linens. Kids get tucked into the pullout sofabed or on a rollaway provided by the helpful staff while parents enjoy a private bedroom. Best value here is the excellent concierge staff who can make your stay even better than planned.
Best Western Majestic
Av. Madero #73. Colonia Centro, Mexico City 06000
(52 55 5521-8600)
One of our favorite hotels for its authentic Mexican flair, terra cotta tiled lobby, cage elevators, and wonderful, city-view roof garden restaurant is right on the ZÃ³calo. A bit faded and worn around the edges, its 85 rooms are spacious and clean, but not at all flashy. We found it kid-welcoming, very relaxed and in a classic downtown location that was wonderful for sightseeing and shopping. Also, quite a good deal year-round. Children 12 and under stay free in the room with a paying adult.
Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton
Calle 5 de Febrero No. 24 Centro H
Mexico City 06060
A newcomer to the downtown area, this 108-room, moderately priced hotel is in a mid-19th century historic building known as “Casa San Agustin”. The small hotel has a six-story atrium with stained glass ceiling and a rooftop patio overlooking Centro Historico. The hotel also offers a fitness center, spa, business center, snack shop, kids club and meeting rooms, plus free Wi-Fi and breakfast with room rates.
The Sheraton Centro HistÃ³rico
Avenida Juarez 70, Colonia Centro, Mexico City 06010
52 55 5130-5300)
Opened in November 2002, it was the first hotel to be built in this charming neighborhood in 40 years. Its black glass monolith located at the corner of Alameda Park displays little of the city’s traditional charms, but it boasts top-flight Sheraton service and amenities, with 457 guest rooms, suites with kitchens or Jacuzzis, a rooftop garden restaurant, huge business center and a convention center.
Hamburgo 195, Col. JuÃ¡rez, Mexico City 06600
(52 55 5230-1717; 888/559-4329 toll free US and Canada)
The modern Galeria Plaza is part of the deluxe, Mexican owned Brisas Hotels and Resorts (former partners with Camino Real), and as such, exhibits the elegance and service that MÃ©xico’s best families and business executives expect from this high-end hotel group. Visiting families will find a highrise (formerly a Westin) with state-of-the-art business facilities, 439 rooms with one or two beds, two executive floors with lounges and snacks included in room rates, and a large outdoor pool that will come in handy in summer (it gets pretty cool in winter). It’s conveniently located near la Reforma’s el Angel statue, in the once posh, somewhat dowdy Zona Rosa neighborhood.
Both of these home-away-from-home style hotels are Extended Stay MÃ©xico properties. Within apartment-style buildings (Casa de la Condesa lobby at left) are small studio apartments which cater to business people and long-stay visitors. Each has a king/queen bed and pull-out sofabed, a small fully-equipped kitchen and dining area, TV, 24-hour concierge service, laundry and limited hotel services. However, both suite hotels are well situated for families near the la Reforma area and have terrific rates for those planning to stay more than a few nights.
Travel Tips for Mexico City
Altitude: MÃ©xico City is 7,350 feet above sea level, so the air is thinner than many people are used to. Lightheadedness, mild headaches, low energy, trouble sleeping, and breathlessness may signal a reaction to the altitude. Drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol alleviates these symptoms. The Mexican cure? A Coca-Cola with two aspirin (to thin the blood and improve circulation).
Health: Other than the possible discomfort caused by the altitude and air pollution, families can prevent medical problems by drinking bottled water and avoiding iced drinks and street food. Sanitary conditions are much improved, and tourist restaurants are extremely careful to sanitize vegetables and fruits that will be eaten fresh. Additionally, most hotels have doctors on call should the need arise.
Weather: Since the city’s altitude is high, winters are cool but mild (sweater weather), while summers are comfortable during the day and often rainy.
Currency: There are ATMs throughout the city and debit and credit cards are accepted at most establishments. It’s often acceptable to pay with US dollars, but Mexican pesos will be given as change. Be very mindful of wallets, backpacks, etc., as pickpockets are common.
Documents: MÃ©xico requires a notarized Permission Travel letter signed by both birth parents if a child under 18 years enters the country without both parents present. See Family Travel Forum’s article on single parent travel documents for more details.
Tourist Police: Specially designated, bilingual policemen trained in the city’s history and cultural heritage wear yellow identifying them as such. There’s also a phone code (061) to dial for bilingual emergency assistance or complaint registration.
Language: Spanish is MÃ©xico’s official language, but English is widely understood. Any effort to speak Spanish with locals is appreciated, especially by children.
Ground Transportation: From the airport, take only special airport taxis. Tickets are sold in the baggage claim area and fares are fixed according to destination. Avoid flagging a cab on the street; dishonest drivers are common. Take only taxis provided at hotels and keep company phone numbers handy. Due to anti-pollution laws, driving in MÃ©xico City is not recommended for visitors. The subway system is extensive and cheap, but extremely crowded. Watch for the women, children, and family cars; men ride separately.
There is also a Turibus sightseeng bus in operation all year, except Dec 25-Jan 1. For about US$12/D, this hop-on, hop-off bus operates along a 20-mile route and stops at 25 major tourist attractions, including Paseo de la Reforma and Chapultepec Park.
Tips: It’s polite to tip waiters 15-20%, a dollar for porters, and 10-15% of the tour cost for tour guides and drivers. Taxi drivers expect tips when they perform an extra service.
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