For shorter stays where I have had limited exposure to the facilities (this stay was less than 18 hours) I will keep my review brief. On this stay I tried to explore a little bit of the Hilton Mexico City Airport Hotel, though work and sleep got in the way.
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The hotel is conveniently located to Terminal One just outside of the customs exit. From the exit (depending on from which exit you have cleared) take a short walk on the same level in the direction of “Hotel” (it’s not branded on the airport signs), then rise two escalators towards the large Hilton Logo and turn take an elevator up two more floors, “Hotel” is marked on floor 3. That sounds more complicated than it is, but if you don’t know where you’re going it’s very close and simple.
Terminals One and Two at the Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport are not conveniently connected. If you are flying AeroMexico or the other Terminal Two airlines, there is a monorail that goes between the two terminals. It’s not fast, it’s not easy to get to (lots of stairs, slow lifts if you are waiting for them with your bags) and the trains are slow and involve the same annoying disembarkation at the other terminal.
All of these minor inconveniences add up to a lot if you are in a rush and don’t know where you’re going. However, if you know what to expect it’s really not that bad, and if you are flying into T1 at MEX, the Hilton is about as convenient as it gets.
Tired But Dressed Up
The hotel looks tired (as does the rest of Mexico City International) but the Hilton has made efforts. Mexico City is building a new airport soon and I am sure the old one will become a discount carrier hub as all old national airports seem to do these days. There is not a lot of sense in sprucing up the exterior and I can understand that, but this hotel is dog tired from the outside.
They have put some money into the lobby, restaurant and rooms. Not a huge overhaul but there has been some effort there. There is a grand piano in the lobby (no one plays it but I presume one could). Bellman stations, helpful staff, a concierge, computers in the lobby for casual quick stuff or a full-on business center 10 feet away.
The lobby features great views of the parallel runways at the airport splitting the two terminals. I stood there longer than normal people would (#avgeek) to watch a stream of landing aircraft and others taking off constantly. There was so much movement in fact, that I was trying to figure out where they put all of the airplanes. You see traffic landing and taking off constantly at other major destination airports, but most of them have many more gates than MEX.
Did I get a Diamond upgrade? Nope. They had suites available for sale at the time of checkin but did not proactively upgrade me. I asked if there were suites available, was not really given an answer but then was given keys to the room I booked, which is fair enough because that’s what I paid for. However, if an Honors Diamond benefit is upgrades to suites if available at checkin, and there are suites available at checkin and you don’t get one, is that not the same thing as denying a Diamond guest free breakfast? What about if I was only awarded the general member amount of points, would that be different? I really don’t think it is but I will have more on this shortly.
This is as standard as it gets in terms of design. To the right of the entrance was the bathroom with a vanity and closet equipped with a safe. This Hilton uses the Peter Thomas Roth toiletries, which I like so much that bought the shower gel and put it in my own travel case.
The hotel took the time and effort to spend a lot of money on quality stone work for the shower, but then left it as a shower over tub with a the worst kind of curtain (the two of us shared things that only a marriage should). The advantage of this bathroom design which also had the toilet and the shower in the same room, was that it was separated by a closed-door from the vanity which would allow others to get ready while you shower or use the toilet.
The bed was a full king (some foreign hotels claim king but use alternative, regional king size bed definitions) and it was comfortable – I had no trouble sleeping. The bedside tables didn’t have a multi-plug system on top, apparently a modern amenity that I find at most Hampton Inns. I had to unplug a light to plug-in my phone bedside.
The desk offered plenty of space though two laptops would have been a stretch.
The view was… not good. It photographs fine, but in reality I am looking at an Astroturf outdoor corridor with other rooms on the other side. I would have hoped for a runway view as it would have been epic at this hotel. Terminal One is directly below the hotel and the runways are bunched quite close to the terminal.
Access to Terminal Food and Beverage
Food and beverage at Mexico City’s T1 are really all over the place. If you want a high end experience with farm to table cuisine, you can have that (Urban Kitchen) is offered throughout the airport. Or you can just grab some quick tacos outside of security for a couple of dollars for a meal.
There were plenty of sushi joints and pizza shops alongside taco stands and American chains like Burger King and Starbucks – certainly something for everyone. I took a five-minute walk down the corridor until I found a stand where someone was eating something that looked good. The house specialty appeared to be Verde Chicken Enchiladas with a glass of orange juice for 100 pesos ($5.50). It didn’t disappoint.
At breakfast is where a Hilton Gold elite status would really start to demonstrate outsized value. The hotel offers a fairly impressive breakfast buffet and the price for those not eating for free was really quite good, 239 pesos or about $13/person.
On the buffet were hot sweet breakfast favorites like French toast, pancakes (though they had neither maple syrup or honey) and a waffle station which my daughter would have loved. Link sausage, bacon and those frozen, then fried potato triangles were all kind of mailing it in, there was a lay-up opportunity for shredded chicken or chorizo (either in casing or minced) that was missed entirely.
Fresh-ish juices were also available. The orange juice was obviously fresh squeezed, and freshly watered down. “Green juice” which was not further identified than that, looked and tasted like the under carriage of a lawnmower. If there was a juice to dilute, that was the one to pick. I didn’t try the others available including grapefruit and carrot. The fruit, as expected, was very fresh and there was a reasonable variety.
The server supplied fresh espresso at my request and made tea for another patron. If a custom order was made, he would bring it to you instead of making you wait at the egg station for example.
Something they don’t advertise but offer if you ask are Chilaquiles. Made at the omelet station, the chef will ask if you want green or red sauce, cream and or cheese on top. About five minutes later a nearly perfect dish was delivered to my table. The crunch of the chips (made from scratch in-house), swimming in slightly sour verde salsa and covered in fresh cream and Oaxaca cheese could only been improved by one thing – shredded chicken. What a shame!
The value of this property is really for those who are transiting (especially T1) and have an extended layover. Far nicer properties in the city start around $100 USD or 10,000 Hilton Honors points for example. The Hilton Mexico City Airport was just mediocre, it shined in some places, missed the ball in others – it certainly wasn’t special. The last time we stayed in Mexico City, we were in the posh Polanco neighborhood and the Hyatt had a rate of just over $200 per night. So for 47,000 Honors points or $175 in cash plus tax, the hotel is not a good value for any stay other than a short one at the airport, but might be perfect for you in a pinch.
There is also a very nice Courtyard connected to the airport. Newer, better, cheaper and good staff
@Deltahater – I will give that a try next time.
Nice review. Thanks.
I agree about the Diamond upgrades. I’ve noticed Hilton is getting way worse about this so far in 2017. As a Diamond I don’t even notice much difference other than a once in awhile mention of free breakfast voucher. I know this can vary at locations but I’ve seen this across the world in 2017. Don’t even get me started on any perks at places like Hampton Inn. You might as well be elite with another hotel chain to them.
@Danin – I don’t know, I thought they were starting to get better about it actually,
Did you notice if there were cover charges for dining at the hotel restaurants? This was an annoying reality at the Intercontinental hotel in Mexico City proper!
@Andy – Not that I could see. I saw just one charge for breakfast in the morning and didn’t pay it anyway because of status. There is no way I would pay a cover at a hotel restaurant and certainly not as a guest. I can imagine you were pretty appalled by that. Did you pay it anyway, challenge the charge, or eat somewhere else?