We know it now: inspiration is not lacking in Mexico City. Whatever your trend, CDMX has it in abundance. Delicious cuisine, music, nightlife, history and tradition, art and architecture, color and texture, old and new, all present in an unbridled preponderance that can make even a seasoned traveler’s head spin. But the prescription remains: you should try everything, you should stay awake, you should check this place out.
Depending on your personal constitution, you are likely to experience undulating ratios of exhaustion and euphoria. For me, the key to a balanced visit is finding the right place to lay my head at night. On my last trip, I lucked out choosing Casa Pani, a boutique guesthouse-style hotel in Cuauhtémoc that happens to be a modernist masterpiece (and can be booked on Airbnb).
Cuauhtémoc, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the vast metropolis of Mexico City, is not Rome North. It is not dotted with trendy restaurants or trendy boutiques. This is not the place for all the interesting pop-up and gallery openings. No matter the time of day or day of the week, a sense of quiet space pervades the residential streets of Cuauhtémoc. It makes it a great place to come back to after you’ve tasted it all, been everywhere, done more than you wanted to with the giddy insatiable joy of someone who’s just been through a series of lockdowns in the middle of a pandemic. world.
First designed as a private single-family home in 1962 by Mario Pani, a Mexican architect and urban planner who shaped much of Mexico City’s appearance, the property still exudes a sense of comfort and family-friendly ease. There are the well-worn leather and chrome sofas that invite rest and conversation, the 11-foot-long communal work/dining table in Tzalam wood that is a favorite WFH outpost, and the common kitchen equipped with spirits left as offerings by former visitors. Surrounded by a beautiful mid-century church with soaring stained glass windows and a charming park at the end of the street, Casa Pani is an integral part of the neighborhood. If you get up early, you can – and really should – catch the local couple selling tamales on the street.
Celebrating this spirit was the goal of Casa Pani’s founding team, architect Miggi Hood, entrepreneur Marie Cazalaa and Yola Mezcal co-founder Yola Jimenez. “It all started in LA, my home, which has become a place for wandering visitors to meet, stay, dine and connect,” Hood tells me. “Casa Pani is an extension of that.” Guests have the opportunity to mingle with a core of common spaces that includes the ground floor living room, an indoor-outdoor courtyard, and a formal dining room. “We hope people will come down to make their coffee or their cocktail, hang out in the shared spaces and meet people…but you can come down in your pajamas,” Hood says with a laugh. That’s why they have cozy bathrobes in every room.