March 13, 2020
We have the Holiday Inn Premier credit card which for US$89 a year provides a free night at most IHG brand hotels. This includes the high end InterContinental chain of hotels. We have to use up the night every year and it was expiring in a couple weeks so I had booked us a night at the InterContinental Presidente Hotel just a couple miles away. InterContinental hotels generally run US$300-400 a night. The InterContinental Presidente was a relative bargain at only US$165 a night normally. This was much higher than the US$90-110 a night for the Holiday Inn Express Reforma that we were vacating.
We stuffed ourselves at the breakfast buffet as usual and then we packed. Thanks to our status granted by the credit card we were able to get a late check out at noon at the Holiday Inn and an early check in at noon at the InterContinental. A short 45 peso Uber ride found us in front of the InterContinental where a bellhop dressed in top hat and tails helped us get our luggage out of the Uber and another nice lady met us at the door and walked us to the impressively large check in desk where a nice man checked us in. Everyone spoke fluent English. At check in I asked if there was breakfast. Yes, but it was extra, however for an extra US$70 we could get an upgraded room, happy hour and breakfast. Ouch, $70, that was almost how much the room at the Holiday Inn would cost. Pass.
We got up to our room on the 19th floor and although the room was smaller it was obviously decorated to a higher level with higher quality furnishings, bedding, and showerhead. We were only going to stay one night so we didn’t fully unpack but rather just chilled out in the room. One of the best things about the higher end hotel was that they had more English channels including one that was showing the movie “UP”. We had to watch that movie again because the main character in “UP” was going to South America just like we were.
After the movie I took Olivia to a nearby park to play and get some exercise while Holly got some rest in the hotel. As we got down to the lobby we stopped at the concierge desk. I had always heard that the concierges at five star hotels were miracle workers who knew everything about a city and could get you tickets to special restaurants or places not normally available. I get to the desk and ask the concierge if there were any shows or events suitable for kids like Olivia. They concierge did a cursory check on the internet and said no there were no shows or events for kids that Friday night. Really? The capital of Mexico, a city of 20 million people and there was not one show, event or activity for kids on a Friday night? OK well I have heard that there are restaurants in Mexico City where they have staff that look after your kids while you have dinner. The concierge checks Google again and talks with some co-workers before coming back with one suggestion. One, which turns out to be some sort of expensive steak restaurant. Disappointed Olivia and I headed out to the park which had a rather nice large playground full of kids.
As it got dark we returned to the hotel, got Holly and went out to look for dinner. The neighborhood around the InterContinental was a lot different from the high rise downtown neighborhood around the Holiday Inn. This leafy, tree lined neighborhood was filled with expensive low rise apartment buildings and chic sidewalk café’s and enough Starbucks that you would hit the next Starbucks before you could finish your coffee from the first Starbucks.
A few blocks away we came upon the Mockocity café, a chic restaurant with a patio and more interestingly a drop in children’s daycare facility on the second floor. For 89 pesos for a half hour or 125 pesos (US$6) for a full hour parents could drop their kids off upstairs while they ate downstairs. Cameras in the play area were shown on TV’s downstairs so that parents could keep an eye on the kids while they ate. Funny how the concierge at the InterContinental did not know about this place, a mere three blocks away from the hotel. We decided to give it a try, had dinner there and then afterwards and I paid for Olivia to play for a half hour upstairs. By the time Olivia finished playing it was time to go back to the hotel.