Sara Lieberman, New York Times News Service
L’Otel at Doce-18 Concept House is far from a traditional hotel — guests enter rooms from the second level of an open-air building that overlooks a contemporary restaurant and a sort of modern-day minimal, featuring boutiques and food stalls from local independent businesses.
We checked into our deluxe double room at night and were immediately warmed by the electric fireplace roaring under the Sony flat-screen TV opposite the two queen-size beds. Brightly patterned pillowcases stood out against the otherwise all cotton-colored room (sheets, floors, chairs — everything) decorated with mod furnishings such as wooden armchairs, marble shelves and a linen-covered, lantern light fixture overhead. Artwork, such as striking photographs of the Mexican desert taken by Edgardo Trujillo, gave life to an otherwise dreamy setting. The plump mattress covered in 400-thread count sheets provided one of the best nights sleep I’d had in a while and it was hard to leave the daybed, where we’d wrap ourselves in the cashmere blanket knit in Ixmul, a small town in the Yucatán. It’s available to purchase for $560.
Separated from the sleeping area by the TV and the fireplace, there was a marble vanity with a deep square sink, bronze faucet and lighting from two hanging Edison bulbs that flanked an oval mirror. Steps away, in a separate room with a door, the toilet and glassed-in shower got illumination from a skylight. (The room did not have a bathtub but others do.) Between the natural rays and the fresh flowers, it felt like an oasis. The misleadingly thin towels made of bamboo fibres (to reduce energy during laundry) were absorbent and all the toiletries from the hotel’s own natural Ablu Botanica line were in large dispensers, so we didn’t have to worry about squeezing out any last drops. Plus there was a welcome pot of lip butter, which was ours to keep.
Breakfast is served in the courtyard area on glass tables lining the balcony. Fresh juices (from watermelon to orange) as well as yogurt, cereal and cheeses are available buffet-style from the bar, while made-to-order dishes include a mix of Mexican and American favourites such as oatmeal with toasted pistachios, scrambled eggs topped with mole, and chilaquiles with green or red sauce and melted cheese. Downstairs, we tried Jacinto 1930, a restaurant where cocktails such as the Dragon Breath with tequila, habanero extract and agave honey wowed us from the first sip, while the fried panela cheese starter had us wiping the plate with our warm corn tortillas.
Featured Image: Edgardo Contreras The New York Times