It's a cliché to say that
God is in the details, but it really is the small, thoughtful touches that set
a hotel apart from its competitive set. I recently stayed at a new luxury hotel
in Mexico City that proved just that. There are other hotels in Mexico City
that provide spacious rooms, gorgeous design, excellent food, and responsive
service. Las Alcobas ticks all of those boxes, but it was the small amenities that provided the real delight. At a time when luxury leaders like Four Seasons are cutting back on fresh flowers and restaurant hours to save money, it's nice to see a hotel come up with innovative ways to improve the experience. At Las Alcobas, these included some points of service that I've never seen before at a hotel:
- When you get a wakeup call, the operator asks if you want tea or coffee sent up to your room. Two minutes later there's a knock on the door. Sure beats having to call room service yourself and wait 20 minutes for your caffeine fix. Better yet: It's included in the room rate.
- There's a minibar stashed with water and Mexican sodas, plus little packages of Mexican candies and snacks—all of it free.
- Open the desk drawer and, lo and behold, you'll find a small collection of useful office supplies: paper clips, rubber bands, tape, a glue stick, even a tiny stapler. The other drawer contained a cute little puzzle map of Mexico.
- The beds are not just comfortable but spotless: every textile, including the duvet and headboard cover, can be removed and laundered. So you don't have to wonder about who has slept in that bed before you, or what they might have been doing there.
- One section of the rosewood-paneled wall opens up to reveal a full-length three-way mirror. I've stayed in plenty of luxury hotels that don't have full-length mirrors at all, so this is a welcome touch. (The interiors were designed by Yabu Pushelberg, a firm that consistently delivers the goods.)
- You can choose from a variety of handcrafted Mexican soaps in the bathroom. And every room has a deep whirlpool tub and a shower stall with spa-style jets. When you book a session in the spa, you get a vial of nice-smelling body wash so you can "start your spa treatment in your room." Sure, it's gimmicky, but it's a creative touch.
- Opening the closet door activates an aromatherapy cartridge that sprays a fresh scent. That sounds gross in theory, but it's so subtle that I didn't even notice it until the hotel owner pointed it out.
To be sure, there were details I didn't like, such as an overly complicated lighting system and the lack of towel bars in the bathroom. But the overall impression was that someone—a real person, not a committee—put a lot of thought into how to provide guests with moments of pleasant surprise. Las Alcobas has the advantages of being small (35 rooms) and independently owned, and therefore less focused on how every tiny detail affects the bottom line.
For Las Alcobas's owner Sam Leizorek (who, for the record, hosted me at the hotel as part of a group of travel journalists), the hotel is clearly a passion project that he cares deeply about. The result is a hotel that I think guests will feel passionate about too.