Chaya B&B - Your big city oasis
Oh, Mexico. Finally it was time to meet - again. How we had longed for this almost four week trip through this amazing country ever since we booked the tickets nine months earlier. Elin is half Mexican, why Mexico is very dear to us. We were coming to visit Elin's family in Mexico City and Morelia, but also to travel around and explore the country. A country of stark contrasts - goods and bads for sure - but a country with a fantastic soul, warm people, the best food in the world and a loving, colorful culture.
Our trip started with a weekend in Mexico City, meeting Elin's cousins with family and exploring this massive city like neither of us had done before. During the planning of our Mexico City trip we initially felt a little overwhelmed. So much to see and do, so many places to stay and eat. Where to start? With Mexico City being the biggest city in the world, just figuring out what area to live in and what hotel stay at can be a challenging task. Even though Elin has touched down in Mexico City some dussin times before, this time was different. We wanted to explore the city with naked eyes, find the best places to eat, exciting things to see, but just as importantly - we wanted to find a home away from home to stay at. As we normally do, we searched for a charming and humbly luxurious boutique hotel, rather than the classic chain hotel. We also wanted to stay in a vibrant, upcoming neighborhood with a proximity to many interest points. In the end, we luckily stumbled across Chaya B&B - a new, small boutique hotel in Downtown, an area slowly going through a gentrification - and fell in love.
After we finally touched down, we took a cab to Chaya from the airport (about 40 minutes), and were greeted at the building by one of the security guards. Chaya is located on a pedestrian street, just by Alameda Central (a recently done up park), full of activity and recreation. It's on the top floor (3rd) of an historic and beautifully preserved building, now housing trendy shops, art galleries, a yoga studio and cosy bars. The guard helped us carry up all of our luggage. We were checked in smoothly, and were immediately impressed by the grand rooftop terrass. The kind staff gave us a thorough guide to the neighborhood including what to see, do and where to eat in the area.
Downtown Mexico city is undoubtably on the rise. Trendy eateries, Mezcal bars, art shops and boutique hotels pop up everywhere. And even though you might want to be careful with pickpockets when walking at night - as you should everywhere in the world - the area felt completely safe. It seemed always lively, with lots of families and friends roaming the streets, having a good time. There's a lot to see within only a 10 minute walk from the hotel, including the huge square El Zócalo, Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Metropolitan Cathedral. What in the end we loved so much about Chaya B&B, is that it managed to feel like a calm oasis, despite being smack in the middle of a huge, chaotic but fun, world city. Zen factor was definitely high. Now let's have a look inside, shall we?
The lobby area/patio had hammocks and cactuses everywhere. Beautiful, boho chic people were chilling everywhere. It was clear to see that this place attracts a hip crowd. We were so lucky to be given the master suite at Chaya, which is the biggest suite at the hotel and comes with a freestanding bathtub, a view of the Alameda Central and lots of lovely plants in the room. The suite was spacious with a desk, a bathroom, a shower and bathtub in the centre, and of course a very comfortable king size bed. The style of the decor was a mix of rustic, industrial, minimalistic and genuinely Mexican, which gave the place a modern yet charmingly Mexican vibe.
Isn't this freestanding bathtub just to die for? And the plants? Like taken from a Kinfolk magazine.
Spacious, woody and zen.
This is definitely not something you find at every hotel. We loved this particular corner of our Chaya suite.
Aside from beautiful rooms with design on point - a very tasty breakfast is also included when booking a room at Chaya. Make sure to go to the common room in the mornings to enjoy it. We had Huevos Rancheros, homemade granola with yoghurt, fresh fruit and coffee. You can order any eggs you like and they'll come out freshly cooked for you.
When you're ready to head out to explore, as we've said, you're only 10 minutes away walking to El Zócalo square (featured in the beginning of the James Bond Spectre movie) and the museum of fine arts, among other sights. The neighborhood has a lot of cool bars and restaurants so walk around and explore the various streets. On the other side of the street from Chaya you'll find El Cardenal, a restaurant within the Hilton Hotel, famous for having the best breakfast and lunch in Mexico City. We can't but agree - this is an absolute must-try.
Overall we really enjoyed our stay at Chaya B&B for its friendly staff, the convenient location, the fabulous interior design and buzzing neighborhood life. If you're very sensitive to noise, just consider that since Downtown is a buzzing neighborhood, you might here some street noise during the early evening hours. Another benefit - the prices are really, very reasonable compared to many other hotels in Mexico City, so you really get your money's worth staying at Chaya B&B. Affordably luxury at its best.