Just off Avenida Presidente Masaryk, the most exclusive retail mile in Latin America, the Allan Poe address is within easy walking distance to many of Mexico City’s finest restaurants, including Pujol, Quintonil, Noso, Agua y Sal, Comedor Jacinta, La Buena Barra, etc. You certainly won’t go hungry in Polanco.
Pug Seal offers complimentary bicycles for guests who want to pedal around the neighborhood like locals. Or else you can hop on an electric Bird scooter; there are more Birds in Polanco than pigeons.
The hotel serves complimentary breakfasts, including very good chilaquiles and quesadillas. Whenever you want a sip of tequila, help yourself to the vintage decanter in the lobby. And if you need a mixer, there’s usually a pitcher of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice nearby as well. That’s about it for services. No pool, no gym, no spa.
The interior decor is a quirky hodgepodge of mint-condition mid-century modern furniture and bohemian arts-and-crafts clutter, a little something for every taste. Art and color play prominent roles in the more-is-more aesthetic, which could be elegant if it were dialed back just a bit. There’s a fine line between curating and hoarding.
The garish teal walls of our “Suite” are the opposite of calming, but we have a birds-eye view of the tranquil interior courtyard. The room is comfortable but small, with a bathroom so tiny it’s hard to close the door when taking a shower.
Don’t be fooled by the room categories. They call the smallest rooms “Junior Suites,” a misleading term for rooms that offer barely enough room to bend over and tie your shoes. Some even have glass doors that look inward into a common stairwell rather than outward, creating a voyeuristic fishbowl effect. The next level up, the “Suites” are slightly bigger. That’s what we booked, but in hindsight we would have been happier upgrading to an “Executive Suite” or even a “Master Suite” for just $20 or $50 more. Pug Seal isn’t expensive.
All this said, the beds are first-rate, and the pillows are stuffed with high-quality goose down. Housekeeping provides everything you might need: robes, slippers, toiletries, drinking water, a fresh pot of coffee at all times in the hallway. Unfortunately the towels are threadbare.
Let me be clear: This is not a five-star hotel. We knew this ahead of time — our favorite room at the Four Seasons was sold out — so we adjusted our expectations. That’s the irony of ritzy Polanco. The five-star luxury brands like Four Seasons and St. Regis are located two miles away in Colonia Juarez and Miguel Hidalgo — a 15-minute Uber ride but not walking distance.
The only big-name luxury hotels in Polanco are Intercontinental, W and Hyatt Regency, and the latter is indeed lovely, especially if you book the club level, but it’s no Four Seasons. That’s always been the trade-off. Polanco is a charming walkable neighborhood, and if you want to take full advantage of the city without spending all your time in an Uber, the quirky boutique hotels like Pug Seal have long had the market cornered. (That will change in 2022, though, when the new Park Hyatt opens. The 150-room skyscraper hotel is currently under construction next door to the Hyatt Regency on Campos Eliseos.)
Bottom line: If you plan to dine and shop in Polanco, you probably want to stay in Polanco, too. And while Pug Seal plays in a different league than the Four Seasons, the Allan Poe address almost levels the playing field. While the accommodations aren’t particularly posh, the beds are comfortable and the service throughout is warm and welcoming, like visiting old friends who are always happy to see you.
Rates from $185, Edgar Allan Poe No.90, Polanco, Mexico City, pugseal.com