Mexico City Insider: Hotelier Samuel Leizorek

Born and raised in Mexico City, Samuel Leizorek studied hospitality at Cornell before returning to open Las Alcobas, which has welcomed savvy travelers in Polanco since 2010. “The hotel started construction in 2003, but opened in 2010. And I have to say that during those years, that's when the city really transformed,” he says. “That’s when a lot of the artists and chefs and entrepreneurs from all disciplines gave the city a new vibe and put us on the map.” Las Alcobas itself was part of that transformation. “The idea was to redefine Mexico City’s art of hospitality through service touchpoints. It starts with the design—we worked with Yabu Pushelberg—which turned the space into an oasis of tranquility.” These days, Samuel continues to appreciate how Mexico City’s creative community continues to adapt. “It’s a metropolis of over 23 million people. There’s such a diversity of things happening at the same time, from a business perspective to the cultural perspective. For me, I love the the energy of the city, which all of these people are able to create together.”

Read on for Samuel’s recommendations of the activities, shops, restaurants and museums that he loves most in Mexico City.

Contact Indagare or your Indagare Trip Designer to plan your next visit to Mexico City.

Don’t Miss: Lunch on Saturdays at San Angél Inn

“Go to San Ángel, in the south of the city to for Bazaar del Sábado. It’s a weekly market with arts and crafts of a very high quality. After that you’re close to the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Studio Museum. You can walk all around the former studio, designed by functionalist designer Juan O'Gorman. After seeing all these elements of art, cross the street to have lunch in the garden at at San Ángel Inn. It’s a hacienda-style building with a large fountain, and there’s always a parade of Mexian families and visitors. It’s very high energy with a great sense of place.”

The New(ish) Arrival: Em

“With newer restaurants, I feel that we need to make sure they have a sense of longevity, right? Are they going to be here for a long time. Chef Lucho Martinez opened Em in 2019, so it’s not brand new anymore, but he does a very interesting take on Mexican fusion. He really captured my attention in a very unique way. I have not seen something like this—such exquisiteness in preparation and presentation—in a new restaurant in a very long time.”

The Dessert with a Heritage: Garabatos

Courtesy Garabatos

 “I grew up going to my grandparents’ house every Sunday, and my grandmother would have butter cookies with a chocolate scribble on top from a bakery in Polanco run by a Jewish immigrant couple. Their son decided to expand the empire and opened Garabatos (, which is Spanish for scribble. Now, it’s a chain with locations all over the city that still sells those famous cookies and the most delicious cakes. And the original pasteleria is still there in Polanco!”

The Art Gallery

“My favorite art gallery in Mexico City is Proyectos Monclova. It’s one of the top galleries in the country and they have incredible connections with up and coming Mexican artists—and also world-renowned Mexican artists who started within the gallery, including sculptor Ángela Gurría and Eduardo Terrazas.”

The Architectural Gem: El Convento de las Capuchina

“El Convento de las Capuchinas is truly a favorite of mine for modern architecture. You can visit by appointment only with a guide, but it’s a convent Luis Barragan built. It’s one of the most beautiful things I've seen—and completely unexpected. Even though it's small, the intimacy of what Barragan was able to do with the play of light and color is one of his most special projects. Everyone goes to his house and his studio. But this is unique.”

The Museums

“There are the usual suspects that you need to go and you need to see. We need to talk about Frida Kahlo’s house which is still very unique and an amazing experience. But there's also the Museo Kaluz, a new museum downtown with Mexican art from the 18th through 20th centuries inside an historic former hospital. And there's another museum which is Museo Anahuacalli which I love because it's almost inside a stone pyramid-like building by Diego Rivera. So it’s a bit of a crazy construction with a great collection of Mexican art inside a special place. And for Diego Rivera murals, a place that doesn’t get written up in many places is the Secretariat of Public Education building downtown. It’s home to some of his first murals, and since they’re indoors, the preservation of color is much better than many others. It’s absolutely incredible.”

The Experience To See: Ballet Folklórico at Bellas Artes

“I know ballet is not for everyone, but Ballet Folklórico at Bellas Artes not your typical ballet. The costumes, the talents of the dancers and various musical artists exposes you to Mexico’s unique cultural heritage. (Plus I love the theater’s original Tiffany stained-glass curtain.)”

Contact Indagare or your Indagare Trip Designer to plan your next visit to Mexico City.

Published onMarch 22, 2023

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