Mexico City’s tree-lined, skyscraper-dotted super street, Paseo de la Reforma, draws hoteliers like a magnet. Favorite, reliable brands like the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton are among the dozens that decorate the avenue, which, until recently, didn’t offer much opportunity to smaller, boutique properties. New faces without the backing of an international brand often opted (or were relegated) to the buzzy and relaxed–but less conveniently located–neighborhoods of Roma, Condesa, or Polanco.
This status quo for hotels in Mexico City changes with VOLGA, a boutique property that’s saddled up next to the big boys, just steps away from the country’s most iconic monument, the Angel of Independence, in the tiny but prominent neighborhood, Cuauhtémoc.
It hides inconspicuously behind Reforma’s skyscrapers, housed in a mysterious, brutalist structure nestled between industrial buildings that wouldn’t warrant a second glance from passersby. VOLGA’s unassuming exterior blends in while simultaneously outshining its quadrilateral comrades.
Because of this, it doesn’t register right away that you’re facing a hotel… and a chic one, at that. There’s no lobby upon entering VOLGA, but rather a wide, open entrance that prompts you to immediately descend an eerily sexy spiral staircase into the hotel’s primary public space, the base of an “urban cenote.”
For those unfamiliar, cenotes are natural sinkholes found throughout the Mexican jungle that ancient civilizations believed to be sacred. If you’ve ever swam through one or even seen photos on Instagram, you’ll quickly recognize the inspiration behind VOLGA’s creative interior architecture. Thick streams of light pour down into the otherwise moody space from a striking skylight, and greenery seemingly grows out of the concrete walls.
A lobby bar sits to the left, where guests and locals alike can enjoy a burgeoning mixology program and order the hotel’s signature drink, the Mezcalina Volga. To the right is Elora, the primary restaurant at VOLGA. Though it serves Mediterranean cuisine, Elora is the brainchild of Edo Kobayashi, known throughout Mexico City–but especially in Cuauhtémoc, the city’s “Little Tokyo”–for superb Japanese restaurants and cocktail bars. It’s an exciting choice to have one of the neighborhood’s biggest names bring an entirely new concept to the forefront, and it’s done incredibly well. The flavor of the fish dish, dare I say, even surpasses most found in seaside destinations.
The design and feel of the guestrooms are masculine yet cozy and luxurious. Every room has an interior balcony facing inward along the walls of the cenote. Looking down, guests have a front-row seat to live performances in the public space. The open roof above allows the rooms to receive natural light, and sliding doors can close off access to the Coliseum-like amphitheater for privacy.
VOLGA, eager to introduce itself to the world, soft opened this past June, but it is now readying its best version for its guests. An exclusive, en-vogue speakeasy will soon open, available only to guests and select friends of the hotel. A rooftop with a tiny sliver of a pool perfect for cooling off in is set to start hosting weekend parties and complimentary morning yoga classes. VOLGA has also started incorporating spirit tastings into its offerings, introducing guests and the community to lesser-known Mexican-made spirits, like gin and non-alcoholic botanicals.
Aside from finally presenting those who want or need to stay along Reforma with a quality boutique option, VOLGA is unlike any other hotel in Mexico City. Even as it grows in popularity, it’s clear that the feeling of it being a hidden gem will remain.
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
The Vibe: Edgy but warm; a secret spot for insiders only
Food + Drink: Breakfast at Elora is included for guests, but don’t sleep on making a dinner reservation, as well. Drinks and light bites can also be ordered from the rooftop.
Amenities: lobby bar and restaurant; rooftop pool; guest experiences like yoga and tastings; access to a neighborhood fitness studio; concierge
Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel: Impeccable service; every staff member, from the concierge to the bellboys, was poached from top hotels in Mexico City and knows what they’re doing
Nearby Attractions: Bosque de Chapultepec and Chapultepec Castle; Centro Histórico and the Zócalo, Bellas Artes
Any Personal Neighborhood Recs? Cocktails at nearby hotspot Rayo are a must. Be sure to walk down Reforma at night to see the Torre BBVA lit up.
Rooms: 50 rooms and suites
Pricing: Starts at $260/night
Closest Airport: Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México