Part One: Hotel Busue, Frida Kahlo and the Tenochtitlán Ruins
Situated on a quiet street in the centrally-located Polanco neighborhood, just off the main shopping drag and a beautiful park, is Hotel Busue. Originally built as the residence of famed Mexican journalist, Lolita Ayala, it was eventually converted to a luxury 11-room boutique hotel, whose sole mission is to make you feel like you are at home.
The entire staff at the hotel was always available to answer any question you might have, translate anything you might not understand or offer up a superb recommendation. After being exhausted from a 4 A.M. flight, I mentioned that I would love a coffee. Five minutes later a steaming cappuccino was delivered to my door on a beautiful tray – now that’s hospitality!
Top: A view of the beautiful design and architecture of the Hotel Busue; Bottom: Sprawling room and luxury amenities.
The rooms are huge! Definitely bigger than most NYC apartments. You enter through gorgeous, distressed wood doors and are immediately greeted by a lovely seating area/ living room that is equipped with a mini bar and snacks. Venture through that to your bedroom (complete with a Roku) and a beautiful bathroom. As with every hotel, I inspect the bathroom as this is one of my favorite rooms. In Hotel Busue, I particularly loved the shower as its floor was composed of real rocks. I found myself in the shower moving my feet back and forth, giving myself a soft, but much needed massage.
Often, when on these trips, I spend quite a bit of time working, so it was great to have the lovely living room are to be able to focus, while Shane could watch T.V. uninterrupted in the bedroom. Every morning, we would walk to the outdoor dining room, where breakfast was serviced (and included in your stay) to a vast variety of food options. If you were in the mood for a breakfast-in-bed moment, they also offered the choice to have your breakfast delivered.
The first night we ventured a few blocks to a restaurant called La Unica. The food in Mexico City was definitely way beyond our expectation in terms of taste, presentation, creativity and service. Pedro, the Manager, was immensely helpful and made sure our experience was one to remember. Entering through the bar, you then proceed through sliding glass doors to the back seating area. Everywhere in Mexico City, you are always provided with a rack to hang your purse, which is seated beside the table (New York could learn a thing or two from this). We started with a cauliflower dish which was prepared table side by Pedro with the accoutrements of salt and lime. While dining, I noticed it got a little brighter in the area – cue the retractable roof – and all of sudden we were eating outside. To conclude the meal, they came by with cigars, which Shane purchased and said it was one of the best he had ever had. Dining, similar to Europe, starts much later. By 9 P.M., the room had completely filled up and the beats were pumping!
We found ourselves here by chance when wondering the beautiful winding streets of Polanco and decided to just sit down as we needed a break from the never-ending walking. That is the great thing about Polanco – and Mexico City, in general – you really can’t have a bad meal. Shane and I are probably the only two people whose favorite meal in Mexico City was Mediterranean food. We liked La Ouzeria so much, we came back again the same evening. Creatures of habit, I suppose!
At La Casa Azul
La Casa Azul (aka The Home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera)
The first day, after breakfast in our lovely hotel, we set out for the area of San Angel to visit the home-turned-museum of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, also known as La Casa Azul. When we arrived, we were shocked to see 200+ people already lined up and waiting to enter the museum before it even opened! I wish someone had told me you could purchase your tickets online to avoid the line. After doing a little post-trip digging, I found the best link to order tickets from, which I have put below to save you the hour(s) in line.
Back to the museum – it was absolutely stunning and well worth the wait. Since Frida and Diego were so private, it was really cool to have an inside look their life. Everything was preserved after Frida passed away, so it is filled with their actual belongings, living facilities, and a beautiful courtyard with flower archways to sit and take in everything you have just seen.
On our third day in Polanco, we decided to venture out to the Teotihuacan ruins. We took an Uber there (Uber is your best friend in Mexico City and oh-so-cheap!) Be sure to look up from your phone on the 45 minute ride to see colorful houses built into the massive sprawling hills that outline Mexico City. Also, bring a snack or banana, as there is a lot of ground to cover and not much food inside.
The ruins were amazing! It is quite mind blowing how something so old and made my hand was done with such symmetry. This archaeological site features the two iconic and towering pyramids, known as the Temple of the Moon and the Temple of the Sun, respectively. Arriving at the site, you’re met with the Avenue of the Dead, which leads you through what little of the sprawling site has been uncovered by archaeologists, and culminates with the Temple of the Moon.
INSIDER TIPS: Bring comfortable and appropriate shoes to walk and hike in. Also, as with the majority of tourist areas, there are many people hustling their wares. This can absolutely get annoying at times, especially when the items make sound (looking at you “jaguar whistler” *eye roll*).