When I was offered the chance to visit Mexico City in October courtesy of Hyatt Hotels, I was intrigued to see how the city would live up alongside its gritty reputation. Populated by an overwhelming 20M+ people, Mexico City has made huge advancements in cleaning up its austere image, and is now buzzing with popular bars, hotels and art galleries. Food is at the heart of the city, with new restaurants continuing to pop up endlessly, expanding the cities already extensive culinary offering.
As guests of Hyatt, we were lucky enough to stay in their Regency Hotel in Polanco. It’s easy to marvel at the magnificence of Mexico City when staying in an area like Polanco – the ‘Beverley Hills’ of Mexico City. The area is beautiful, full of tree-lined streets, local coffee shops, and some of the best bars the city has to offer.
The hotel itself is very stylish inside. Greeted by an elegant and spacious lobby, the hotel offers 755 guestrooms and suites; all providing guests with stunning views of the city’s skyline. The hotel offers 16 event spaces in varying sizes and designs, from the high ceilinged and opulent ballroom that can host up to 960 banquet style, to the smaller more intimate meeting rooms such as ‘The Ateliers’. The Ateliers are eight imaginative meeting rooms, with blackboard walls, contemporary furniture and all the necessary features required for an effective and creative meeting. My favourite of the meeting spaces was La Residencia, which encompasses five stylish spaces including a room that seats 24 with its own bar and kitchen; perfect for private dining ‘chef table’ style.
Dinner on the first evening took place on-site at Teppan Grill, where we were given an array of sushi-style canapés, followed by an amazing display by the chefs cooking meats and seafood on a Teppanyaki-style iron griddle. This space is perfect for a cocktail reception, or private dining experience, and you will not be disappointed with the food, which was absolutely delicious.
The following day we were taken to Chapultepec Park on a sightseeing tour, where we were taken to the impressive ‘Castillo’. Located on the top of a hill amidst the park, the castle which was completed in 1863 was formerly an imperial palace and presidential residence. Today, Chapultepec Castle houses the country’s National History Museum, and outside you will find stunning panoramic views overlooking Mexico City. The park also holds the National Museum of Anthropology, one of the greatest museums in Mexico, and supposedly one of the finest archaeology museums on the planet. The museum is so vast that we weren’t able to tour it in one visit, but I would highly recommend taking a full afternoon here to really understand Mexico’s interesting heritage.
For lunch, we were taken to Azul Historico, a stunning restaurant which fills a central patio of a 17th-century palace. The restaurant is crowned by laurel trees filled with twinkling hanging tea lights, and the tables are adorned with hand-painted blue crockery and jícaras, which are dried and carved half-gourds (like pumpkins) which are for drinking mescal, a Mexican spirit made from agave. The restaurant can seat 100 and would certainly provide a wow-factor lunch location for a group.
Lunch was followed by a city tour, where we got to take in Mexico City’s vibrancy. When walking the streets you can certainly sense the huge population that the city holds, as you continuously move from one crowd to the next. We were lucky enough to be in the city leading up to the Day of the Dead, and these colourful celebrations were getting into full swing across the city.
Dinner took place at Villa Maria, a vibrant restaurant serving traditional Mexican food. Located in Polanco, the restaurant is a great setting for a group with its varied menu, giant margaritas and mariachi band. The weekend was rounded off by a trip to the Teotihuacan pyramids, 30 miles out of Mexico City. Teotihuacan was one of the largest urban centres in the ancient world. The city is thought to have been established around 100 BC, with major monuments continuously under construction until about 250 AD. It went into a period of decline after a fire caused great damage in 550 AD. The current name, Teotihuacan, was given to it by the Aztecs and means “the place where the gods were created”. Climbing to the top of the pyramids is a little steep, but once at the top, the views are incredible and well worth the ascent.
Mexico City is an ideal destination for groups of all sizes. Many of the hotels are designed to accommodate large-scale meeting groups and steeped in history and culture, there are endless activities to entertain your delegates. You could spend a lifetime exploring and not cover half of this city’s delights!
Harriette Wilmoth, Marketing Manager, Banks Sadler