Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Sixth Stanza Was the Best of the Verses

(A more temperate version of this review will appear on TripAdvisor.)

We had stayed at the Hotel Stanza 5 times previously. For our 6th, most recent stay of six nights total, I had considered other nearby hotels, but in the end, I selected the Stanza. This turned out to be a good decision. 

This time, we chose a larger room on the basis of its size and configuration, not whether or not it faced a street. The windows must be double glazed, because we heard very little noise in our ample room, #222 (really more like a junior suite.) on the second floor, which has a modestly sized window facing Calle Morelia and the Jardin Pushkin.

King bed room
Over the years of traveling in Mexico, we have graduated upward from stays in minimal comfort budget hotels, to family run posadas, to nicer hotels like the Stanza.

There are several outstanding aspects that make the Stanza our hotel of choice when in Mexico City.

1. Location. The location is superb. The hotel is close to the eastern end of Avenida Obregón, the main artery of Colonia Roma Norte,  offering entertainment, restaurants and shops.  A MetroBus station is only a block away, and taxis are plentiful.

2. Comfort and cleanliness. The hotel is meticulously maintained and the rooms are comfortable, the bedding is above average quality, and the bathrooms sparkling clean.
Our bathroom was large, and there was a long countertop. The shower was fine, with plentiful hot water which arrived very quickly. Just a small quibble: the faucets don't have much "throw", or "range", so achieving the desired water temperature can be tricky.
A roomy closet, ample hangers, a dresser in the foyer, plenty of drawers for storage.

AC and heating. The AC was effective and welcome.

The only flaw in our room, #222, was that the wifi signal didn't reach the bedroom. When I sat closer to our door, it was better.

3. Staff service: On previous visits, numerous years ago, I found a few staff members (at the reception desk) to be occasionally supercilious. But that attitude is gone. I found the staff to be outstandingly friendly and helpful.

I am always interested in other TripAdvisor's reviewers' comments about English speaking staff and their degrees of friendliness. Many Stanza staff members speak English. But as Spanish is the official idiom of Mexico, most prefer to speak in their native tongue. As I speak fairly fluent Spanish, I enjoyed chatting with the congenial staff, especially the Bell Staff, which is headed up by Sr. Jesús. He and his crew went out of their way to be of help to us in several instances, in extraordinary matters not directly related to moving luggage in and out of our room. One bellman even went out to a pharmacy at about 11:30 p.m. to buy for me some Electrolit suero oral to help relieve my leg cramps. These gestures were greatly appreciated and, of course, we tipped them for their services. (The Reception Desk staff is almost always busy, and I did not chat much with very them.) They were always courteous, friendly and helpful. So, I'm a bit puzzled by other reviewers' reports of less positive experiences. In fact,if you read other TA reviews, you have to conclude that some of them hadn't actually stayed there.

Here's a sample or two:

“Hotel Stanza - Mexico City”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago
Very clean, great location, good Wifi but the only thing that left a slight bad taste in the mouth was the lack of warmth from the reception staff. Maybe it was due to me not being able to converse in Spanish (hoping that wasn't going to deter me from seeing this beautiful country) but I found the Hotel Stanza didn't have the friendliest of the reception staff. I just found they had an attitude of not really wanting to engage in my needs or even crack a smile. This is a busy hotel, so maybe they are used to seeing people check in and check out every day. Although, if you're working on the reception desk of a hotel, you are effectively the face of the business and I would think should have more PR skills. Maybe because it was in Mexico City and like most of capitals of the world, the people aren't as friendly as the rural areas, which I found to be the case in Oaxaca, where I found the staff in my hotel extremely helpful and willing to please."

And the following:
“Great location terrible service”
2 of 5 starsReviewed January 13, 2016 via mobile
The stanza hotel is located within the best neighborhoods of La Roma. On our stay, the hotel had an awful sewage smell that made it quite unpleasant for sleeping. The concierge lacks basic courtesies and customer service. For the price and location I would recommend this hotel but given that our trip had a business purpose, we did sacrifice the conforms that other hotels in area offer. Consider twice when booking if you're looking for a pleasant hotel experience in Mexico City.
Stayed January 2016

Stayed April 2016

And what is the opinion of my readers of this?

“Ok for a short break”
3 of 5 starsReviewed August 4, 2015
Starting with the positives, the hotel is clean and well presented and quiet at night so suitable for families. It's location is ok as you are quite close to 'Turibus,' if you are in the city for a few days but it is a bit of a walk to the regular bus stop and even further to the subway. It's not super easy to get around unless you want to use a cab, which are expensive from the lobby of the hotel.
The food is of a good standard but is probably a little expensive. Beware when having breakfast as not every item is included in the one off price as I found out when leaving the restaurant and received another bill. Price tags might have been helpful and fair to myself and other customers. There is a range of items local and international and the service is good and friendly.
The general level of service is good and the staff seemed to be committed to what they are doing. The rooms are cleaned promptly and the building is in good condition. You might stay for a day or two but any longer and you would quickly get bored as there is nothing much in the immediate area."
(Italics by Don Cuevas.)
Stayed July 2015, traveled with family

DC's comments: 5 blocks or less to the nearest Metro underground station, Niñoes Héroes, 1 block to the Jardin Pushkin MetroBus stop on Avenida Cuautéhmoc.

Cabs ordered from hotel lobbies are almost always more expensive than those hailed on the street.

If you can't find something interesting to see or do after a few days in the immediate area, then you might as well go bowling in Peoria.

I'll wrap up this bitch and whine section with this gem from a guest who stayed en famille:

“Clean & comfortable, but item disappeared in halls”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2015
I don't think we will be returning to this hotel. To its credit, the hotel was very convenient because we came to Mexico City last minute during spring break. We usually stay in the area because we like it. The hotel was a little more expensive than we customarily pay, but it was clean and comfortable. The wifi is pretty poor, though.
The reason that we will not return is because we dropped a windbreaker in hall somewhere between the room and the parking garage, and upon returning 5 minutes later, it was gone. We reported it to the front desk, and they said to check back later. When we checked back later, the new staff asked why we hadn't reported it right away and said that it probably wouldn't turn up. The staff had a very unconcerned attitude about the whole affair, despite the loss happening inside their hotel. Overall, it was a very frustrating experience.
Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
DC: I'll refrain from replying because if I did, it would be ugly.

4. Restaurant. The previous restaurant, Wings, is gone. In its place is El Maíz y La Oliva, which bills itself as "Mexican Fusion". They may be overstating their new style, but the food is good although not extraordinary, and the service quick and usually accurate. We had a couple of breakfasts, both a la carte and from the buffet, and both were very nice. The hot, butter nut muffins are special. Yes, they are extra cost.

If the hotel restaurant doesn't appeal to you, then are are dozens of choices nearby, on of which, La Docena Ostionería y Grill, a block away, is outstanding, and worth a full review by itself. Coming soon.

Our stays in years past had been good, but this time, we splashed out a bit, and it was well worth it.

Overall Rating:

Room: 8

Cost: variable. Our king bed room was $850 pesos a night, substantially less than the rate posted on the Stanza web site of $1,340 pesos. I have no explanation for this, but we are grateful.

CLeanliness: 10  The friendly, hard working camaristas do a very thorough job.

Service: 10  Probably the best and most generously given service we've had in any hotel, anywhere.

Location: 10

Avenida Álvaro Obregón 13, corner of Calle Morelia, Colonia Roma Norte, México, D.F. (Oops, I mean CDMX.)

Hotel website:

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