There's a lot to recommend the Camino Real in Polanco, especially if you're an architecture and art aficionado. The hotel, designed by the late Mexican architect Ricardo Legoretta, is considered one of his master works; the shape of its pink and yellow exterior is intended to call to mind a pre-Hispanic pyramid, and its caldera-like fountain in the driveway, designed by Noguchi, is perpetually roiling.
Inside, you'll find museum-quality art, including pieces by Mexican masters José Luís Covarrubias and Rufino Tamayo, as well as Alexander Calder.
Rooms are large, quiet, and comfortable, and the hotel, a favorite among business travelers, has a full complement of amenities, ranging from pools and a fitness center to a number of restaurants, including Morimoto.
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Modern Mexican Architects All in One Place
When the Camino Real in Polanco opened in 1968, just in time to host athletes competing in that year's Olympic Games, it was considered a cutting-edge design hotel, and nearly 50 years later, it remains in the vanguard.
Everyone who was anyone in the world of mid-20th-century Mexican architecture (and even some architects and designers from abroad) seemed to have had a hand in the design of this hotel, including Ricardo Legorreta and his mentor, Luis Barragán. The structure, in bright, warm pinks and yellows, evokes a pyramid, and its Noguchi fountain out front is an eye-catching focal point.
Don't stop at seeing the exterior; take a turn through the lobby and public areas to see more of the features that defined the work of these two iconic architects.
Hidden in Plain Sight: Art in Hotels in Mexico City
Plenty of hotels feature utterly unremarkable art, boring prints in bad frames, with little or no cultural significance that have been reproduced a thousand times.
This is rarely the case in Mexico City, though. Here, hotels tend to protect and display exceptional works. One of the finest collections is at Camino Real in Polanco, which features massive works by artists such as Rufino Tamayo and José Luis Covarrubias. Staff is happy to tell you about the works and their creators if you have more than a casual interest in art.
Other hotels with excellent works include St. Regis, which has a large painting by the son of Leonora Carrington, and El Patio 77, a small bed and breakfast that also serves as an art gallery.