Wednesday, May 8, 2024

At the "Gran Hotel"

On Saturday, when Alejandro and I were downtown, we decided to splurge and have our afternoon dinner at what is arguably the most beautiful hotel in Mexico City... the "Gran Hotel".

The structure dates back to the late 19th century when the city center was graced by elegant department stores which copied the sumptuous architecture of Parisian emporiums such as Galerie Lafayette.  Two department stores, Palacio de Hierro and Liverpool, still stand just a block from the main plaza, the Zócalo.  In 1899 the building that is now the Gran Hotel was inaugurated as the "Centro Mercantil".  It was a grand ceremony with Mexico's President Porfirio Díaz in attendance. The owner was a Frenchman by the name of Sebastian Robert.  His store, overlooking the Zócalo, offered the city's elite the latest in fashions and merchandise from Europe in an Art Nouveau setting.  It was the second building in the city to boast an elevator.

The "Centro Mercantil" closed its doors in 1958, and ten years later, in time for the 1968 Summer Olympics, the building reopened as "el Gran Hotel Ciudad de México".  The hotel retained the opulence of the old department store.


The most spectacular feature is the stained-glass dome designed by a French artist in the style of Tiffany.

The initials "CM" for "Centro Mercantil" recall the building's earlier life as a department store.

The rooftop restaurant, "La Terraza" offers the best views of the Zócalo.  We ate there some years ago.  The food was good, and although it was expensive, the prices were not astronomical.  Unfortunately, "La Terraza" was booked, but there was a second restaurant on the floor below where we could be seated.  Unfortunately, that restaurant served a limited menu of lighter meals.  The prices were expensive, and we were not impressed with the food.

 Notice that Alejandro wore his "Star Wars" shirt in honor of "Let the Fourth Be with You" Day.

The restaurant did not have the fantastic rooftop view of "La Terraza", but you could go out onto the balcony for a view of the Zócalo.

The Metropolitan Cathedral to the left and the National Palace to the right

On the south side of the Zócalo, the twin buildings which serve as the city hall


  1. Bill-
    The 5-star Gran Hotel is featured in both James Bond movies-Licence to Kill (1989) and SPECTRE (2015). It looks Grand and Beautiful!

    1. And long before that it was featured in an episode of the TV series McCloud.