Hilton Mexico City Reforma Review
Ramon is the creator of Travelling Companion. He focuses on flight review, hotel reviews, and helping stretch, your travel dollars, miles, and points further.
This was an impressive hotel with an amazing location, delightful staff, and an affordable price. It was the nicest Hilton I have ever stayed in. Pros-Centrally located in Mexico City's historic district, very friendly staff, affordable price, amazing views of Mexico City, indoor and outdoor pool, spectacular food at El Cardenal Restaurant. Cons- Poor Check-In Process, Overpriced food at Los Dones.
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Because Mexico City is big (573 square miles) and this was Christina and my first time visiting Mexico City we decided that we needed to pick a hotel that would allow us to tackle one area of the city. We are both history lovers, so we thought the best place to start would be the Centro Histórico. We picked the Hilton Mexico City Reforma to burn through some Hilton Honors points. This hotel is walking distance to many major historical sites including the Zocalo, Palacio Nacional, Templo Mayor, and the Palacio de Bella Artes. We found the location to be an amazing jumping off point to Centro Histórico, and allowed us to throughly enjoy Mexico City.
We took an Uber from the airport. The ride was 30 minutes, and 116 pesos (~$7). As we exited the car we were greeted by friendly staff who opened the doors for us as we walked in. The amiable staff was a trend that would continue throughout our stay. I was immediately impressed with the lobby which had high ceilings, a mural, an assortment of couches, and a lobby bar. Behind the lobby bar were floor to ceiling shelves with pottery and to our left of the entrance was the concierge desk. This certainly didn't feel like any Hilton I have stayed at before.
We walked up to the check-in area and saw all of the desks were occupied. After a short wait we were greeted and asked if we would like to conduct the check-in process in Spanish or English. We said that it did not matter to us confident that our Spanish we had practiced only a few months before in Spain would be sufficient. However, this was a mistake since the check-in agent spoke really quickly which meant we had to ask her to repeat herself several times. We generally are able to handle speaking in Spanish as tourists and did so throughout our trip but learned our lesson to ask to speak in English during check-in and check-out process. Outside of the language barrier the overall check-in process was very confusing and I believe was made worse by the fact that our check-in agent was new. Hilton has a cool feature which allows Hilton Honors members to pre-select a room using the app 6 am the day before check-in. We used this feature to select our room, however, the agent let us now that the room we pre-selected was no longer available but she had secured us an even better room also on a high floor. The agent also tried to up sell us by asking us first if we wanted to pay extra 200 pesos (~$11) for access to the pool and gym and then if we wanted to upgrade to a room on the executive floor which came with breakfast, a larger room, and lounge access. I found the first offer strange since I had never stayed at a hotel where pool access was not included in the rate. We contemplated this offer since we really wanted pool access but ended up declining both offers since we thought it wasn't worth it to pay extra for amenities or a larger room on our short weekend stay. However, later on when we went back down to the lobby and were told that access to the pool was included. I am not sure if this was something that was lost in translation, which would be our fault for not asking to complete the process in English, but it really made for a confusing check-in process.
I was nervous that we would be given a room with a view of the adjacent building and not one with a view of the city, like the one we had pre-selected. However, once we opened the door to our room the fear completely disappeared.
The room was full of light and had a sweeping view of Mexico City. From our room we could see the Palacio de Bella Artes, Torre Latinoamericana, and the Palacio Nacional. The view was so impressive that every time we came back to the room I would spend a few minutes looking our over the city. I was amazed that we got such a great room given that Christina did not have Hilton elite status.
The room came with a king bed, dresser, flat screen television, and a desk. I found the bed to be very comfortable with a perfect balance between hard and soft. One thing that the room lacked was sufficient plugs, an issue I run into in many hotels.
The bathroom had a mirror above the sink along with a hair dryer. The bathroom amenities were the Hilton standard Thomas Roth and included lotion, shampoo, conditioner along with a shower cap. The bathroom also had two complimentary bottles of water which we appreciated since we walked a lot around the city. There was also a tub shower combo along with a movable rainforest shower head and great water pressure. We ran into one issue with the shower door not always closing correctly but overall the bathroom was nice. One word of caution the shower/tub combo has a large step up which I could see causing issue for older adults and people with limited mobility.
The Hilton Mexico City Reforma has three restaurants the Terrace Restaurant, Los Dones, and El Cardenal. The Terrace Restaurant was located on the sixth floor and had floor to ceiling glass windows, and beautiful views of the city. Unfortunately, we did not get to the try the restaurant because it was closed the day of our arrival, and again on our second day for a private event, and finally completely closed the morning of our departure.
We were really hungry after our flight to Mexico City and did not want to venture too far. We decided to have dinner at the hotel. El Cardenal was already closed so we decided to try Los Dones and this was a mistake. The first sign this was a poor choice was that on a Friday night the restaurant was empty. The atmosphere continued to disappoint from the decor to the lack of views.
As we sat down at the table and looked at the menu and it was really boring. We came to Mexico City to try authentic Mexican cuisine and the menu did not cater to this. We asked our friendly waiter for a wine menu and he said that they did not have one but if we asked for a type of wine he would bring us a bottle. Later on when we got the bill I realized that one reason they may not have a wine menu here is to hide the expensive prices. The bottle of Malbec we ordered cost 600 pesos (~$32) which is unheard of in a city as affordable as Mexico City. We could have stomached this better if the bottle of wine was good but it was terrible. To make matters worse as we sat and waited to order there was a fly in the restaurant. I ordered the short ribs and Christina ordered sea bass. On the positive side the short ribs were good but not actually short ribs and the sea bass was good even though it had a bit of a spicy kick. Finally, we ordered chocolate ice cream which was delicious. But, how could you go wrong with ice cream? Overall, the food was okay but expensive by Mexico City standards, and the wine was terrible and also expensive. I would recommend skipping this restaurant if you stay at the Hilton Mexico City Reforma.
Despite the disappointing first meal we decided to give another restaurant in the hotel, El Cardenal a try. El Cardenal is a local restaurant with a few locations across Mexico City and focused on authentic Mexican cuisine and Mexican culture. We were told that their was a 10 minute wait when we arrived at the restaurant. Their were numerous locals waiting as well, which was very good signs of what was to come. As we waited we perused the Mexican art El Cardenal had for sale, and admired the charming Mexican portraits on the wall.
When we sat down we were impressed by the table setting which included napkins branded with the restaurants name. We were greeted by an very friendly waiter. He was the definition of a good waiter always there when you needed him but not hovering.
We then embarked on what can only be described as a Mexican culinary adventure trying a wide range of authentic Mexican cuisine. I ordered hot chocolate and it was fantastic. I love hot chocolate and I would go as far as to say at this was the best hot chocolate I had ever had. I believe the hot chocolate was made with real milk chocolate and I could have 10 of them. Next the friendly staff came by with a tray full of Mexican sweets called pan dulce. The pan dulce was rich and flavorful, and obviously made fresh that morning. For our main dishes I ordered the cordero (lamb) and Christina ordered the lengua (beef tongue). The staff also brought us fresh bread, which was excellent and tasted like baguettes, along with corn tortillas.
The food came out very quickly and my dish came in a clay pot. The cordero was cooked in a clay oven and surrounded by leaves for flavor. I was really impressed by the freshness of all of the food and the commitment to authenticity of El Cardenal. My one complaint was that the meat came out a little overcooked but overall I still enjoyed the cordero. When I finished my hot chocolate I ordered some mango juice. Wow was it good! The mango juice was so fresh that it tasted like it was just picked from the mango tree.
Christina's lengua came with nopales (cactus) and avocado. She really enjoyed her meal and cleaned her plate. In total our meal took about 45 minutes and we were so sad to end what was a truly a toast to some of the best cuisine Mexico has to offer. Even if you don't stay at the Hilton Mexico City Reforma I would strongly recommend that you try out El Cardenal.
The hotels amenities included a gym, pools, and a spa. All of these amenities were located on the sixth floor. We did not use the gym, but peeked inside. It seemed to be a large and well equipped gym. We did call to ask about spa prices and were blown away by the high prices we were quoted so never tried the spa. After we cleared up the confusion around the additional fee for the pool we headed up to the sixth floor on our final day in Mexico City to utilize the pool.
The hotel had both an indoor pool and an outdoor lap pool. We utilized the indoor pools for several hours and it was clean and a lot of fun.
The outdoor lap pool was next to the Terrace Restaurant and enjoyed nice views of Mexico City. Christina was disappointed that she did not have hear googles to enjoy a few laps in the pool.
The staff at the Hilton Mexico City Reforma were delightful. They were friendly and provided great service. Everyone at the hotel seemed to take service seriously. As we walked throughout the hotel, the employees greeted us and had smiles on their faces. One day as we headed towards the elevator a staff member who was headed to the lobby saw us heading towards the elevator pressed the button and held open the elevator doors for us. These small gestures were really appreciated. The only complaint we had was that the concierge was always busy with other guests. Overall, it really seemed like the staff at this hotel actually enjoyed coming to work and were proud to deliver good service.
Despite our initial mix up at check-in and the poor meal at Los Dones this hotel was very impressive and definitely the best stay I have ever had at a Hilton. The location was amazing, the staff were very friendly, the indoor pool was fun, the food at El Cardenal was fabulous, and the room offered an great view of Mexico City. Even better the hotel is affordable and standard rooms regularly go for under $140 a night during April. It is an amazing value for such a good hotel. If we did not have points expiring, we would have gladly paid the full cash to stay at this hotel. I strongly recommend the Hilton Mexico City Reforma, especially for first timers to Mexico City.
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