Mexico City Goes Minimalist and Meditative at the Círculo Mexicano

07.08.21 | By
Mexico City Goes Minimalist and Meditative at the Círculo Mexicano

Starting in the late 1800s, Mexico City’s center began a rapid and far-reaching period of industrialization that would transform the city’s landscape. The urban expansion would eventually compel an upper class exodus, resulting in numerous former multi-storied residences of the wealthy to be sold or abandoned, soon to be adopted and adapted into what would become to be known as vecindades – affordable multi-family tenements divided into individual rooms. The Círculo Mexicano is one such building, a vecindad given a serene modern makeover by architectural firm, Ambrosi | Etchegaray. The resulting contemporary renovation marries elements of the 19th century residential building’s past with a newfound contemplative treatment characterized by its restrained Shaker-inspired interiors, the sum operating as a luxurious domicile for travelers with an almost monastic commitment to simplicity.

Hotel developer Grupo Habita’s portfolio of design and lifestyle hotels in Mexico are characterized by their organic and intimate details, each added respectful of the buildings’ past and operating beyond mere veneer. It’s a design philosophy we also noted with one of Grupo Habita’s other Mexico-based properties, the Escondido Oaxaca. And like its sister Oaxacan hotel, the Círculo Mexicano in Mexico City builds upon a historical architectural framework with just enough contemporary detailing to refreshingly modernize the space without subtracting the inimitable texture and patina only time can impart.

Ambrosi | Etchegaray’s Jorge Ambrosi and Gabriele Etchegaray play a reductive game within both public and private spaces inside the former residence of renown Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Rooms reveal an ascetic tonality, pairing cool granite and basalt stone floors and walls with simple Shaker-inspired carpentry credited to Mexico City furniture studio, La Metropolitana.

Accented by warm points of lighting and a few choice wall-hung utilitarian accessories, each room presents a pared down calm as the sum of any stay – a refuge and respite from the kinetic energy of one of the world’s most vibrant creative capitals.

All rooms include access to free Wi-Fi, organic bathroom amenities, wireless speakers, rain shower fixtures and a safety box. Eighteen of the twenty-five rooms have their own skylit patio, while the others feature a balcony overlooking the Metropolitan Cathedral. Other amenities include an Audi House Car, concierge services, co-working space, valet parking, 24 hrs security, room service, barber shop and bicycle rental.

King-size beds are standard in all rooms, ranging in size from 65–246 square feet. Photo: Sergio Lopez

Rooms with more intimate floor dimension are expanded perceptually by details such as scalloped barrel-vaulted ceilings and uncluttered furnishings. Photo: Sergio Lopez

The Top Suite boasts a freestanding bathtub, while all other guest rooms feature minimalistic rain showers. Photo: Sergio Lopez

Photos: Sergio Lopez

Patios open to the sky welcome natural light while retaining an intimate and cloistered feeling of privacy. The rooftop operates as the primary social hub for all guests, tempting long days poolside with a picturesque and panoramic view of the capital, most notably Latin America’s largest and oldest cathedral, the Metropolitan Cathedral seemingly an arm’s length away.

Photos: Sergio Lopez

What: Círculo Mexicano
Where: República de Guatemala 20, Centro Histórico, Ciudad de México
Cuauhtémoc, 06000, CDMX
How much: From $182 per night, double occupancy
Highlights: The hotel’s rooftop terrace operates as the social centerpiece, with a lap pool and adjacent restaurant offering views of the capital’s Metropolitan Cathedral, National Palace, Templo Mayor and Torre Latinoamericana. Guests are offered a selection of organic wines, traditional mezcals, freshly made fruit infused waters and juices from the terrace bar.
Design draw: Each of the Círculo Mexicano’s 25 rooms are furnished with pieces sourced from local Mexican artists and artisans, including hand-stitched textiles sewn by Oaxacan artisans and the pared down simplicity of wooden furnishings by Mexico City’s own, La Metropolitana. Also, guests should take note to observe the photography upon the walls, credited to one of Mexico’s most renown photographers, Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902 – 2002).
Book it: Círculo Mexicano

Photos courtesy of Grupo Habita.

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Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at