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“Hotel Catedral - mostly fine but with some big caveats”
Review of Hotel Catedral

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Hotel Catedral
Ranked #16 of 313 Hotels in Mexico City
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 November 2007

I recently returned from a 5-night stay at Hotel Catedral. The rooms are by no means luxurious, but for about $45 a night, there wasn’t much to complain about. I will say that the beds are extremely hard (my friend, in a different room, compared it to sleeping on a set of 2 boxsprings, but I wouldn’t say it was that bad) and the pillows very uncomfortable. I was never sore from the bed, but the pillows were another story.

The rooms were cleaned well every day, and the front desk was always helpful and friendly whenever approached. If you want to stay in the Centro, then you pretty much can’t beat the location of the Catedral. It was so easy to walk to many things, and to go further afield, the Turibus stops at the Zocalo, as does the metro. Piece of cake. Breakfasts each morning were good – if you opt for breakfast there, you go to the front desk and request your breakfast coupon, then take the coupon into the hotel’s restaurant, present it to the waiter, and order what you want from one section of the main menu. There's a choice of maybe 12 things. It was a decent enough variety and they had a nice mix of breakfasty items like eggs and pancakes mixed with more lunch-type fare of chicken tacos and the sort. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and coffee were also included. Another nice thing was that they didn’t stop serving the free breakfast/brunch until noon, so there was no rushing around in the mornings, trying to get downstairs by the typical 9am deadline.

The hotel also offers 2 computers with internet access for a nominal fee + currency exchange at the front desk at a surprisingly decent rate + a taxi service. There’s a travel agency right in the lobby as well, though I don’t recommend using them (more on that in a sec). All in all, a nice stay and a great price. BUT, there are some caveats…

The negatives: I found a roach in my bathroom on the first night, and was quite upset about that. By the time I found a shoe to kill it with, it was long gone and I had to worry about it running free in my room all night. In fairness, I didn’t see another roach for the rest of my visit, but then, I also slept with the lights partially on all night long to discourage any, so…

If you get a cathedral-facing room, don’t expect there to be any nice view at all. You may see the top of the Catedral poking up from behind the building directly beside you, but most of you view will probably be of the tenement building just next door with missing walls and re-bar everywhere. Definitely not nice to look at, but I didn't care at all.

If you go on a Friday or Saturday, expect the nearby disco/night club to keep you up unless you are an easy/deep sleeper or bring earplugs. I can’t wear earplugs, so I was up until at least 2:30am until I finally was exhausted enough to fall asleep. Don’t underestimate how loud it can be. I was really surprised given that the club wasn’t *that* close to the hotel. I could feel the vibrations of the base and in many songs, could even make out which song it was.

Finally, the travel agency. This one bothered me a lot, so it's going to be a long rant so that you'll know what to expect if you book a tour with them. We wanted to go to Teotihuacan and the travel agency set us up with one of their tours for $25 each. She said that the tour included transportation (in a van) to and from Teotihuacan along with the entrance fee into the sight, but that lunch would be “on our own”. We asked her how much time we would have at the site, and she said around 4 hours. The tour left at 11 and returned by 5, so that seemed to make sense given that it would be an hour’s drive. Everything sounded fine. Here’s what actually happened:

The guide picked us up and after waiting around awhile gathering more people (which was fine, and expected), we set off for the pyramids. When we got to Teotihuacan, they stopped off at a tourist souvenir trap. We listened to a brief lesson on how pulque is made, and then were shown around the different stations where men were making obsidian figurines. After the tour we were brought inside a *huge* store selling tons and tons of stone figures, chess boards, jewelry, blankets, tequila and pulque, etc. It was very high-pressure sales, and you could tell the items were greatly overpriced even without having some other experience to compare it to. Luckily our actual travel agency guides were not putting pressure on us to buy things, but the guides at the ranch who’d given us the tour of their facility were constantly hovering. I didn’t buy anything, but my friend gave in and got a couple of the smallest, least expensive items they offered.

After this 45 minute stop, we finally were on our way to the pyramids. (It had been frustrating seeing the pyramids rising in the distance but being stopped for 45 minutes at the tourist trap.) Our guide started to lead us around Teotihuacan, which we hadn’t expected. Apparently he would guide us for awhile and then we would have some free time to explore on our own. The problem was, we were running out of time. His guiding took too long and we knew if we didn’t break off, we wouldn’t have enough time to climb the pyramids (slowly, because of the altitude’s effect on us!). Why? Because we didn’t have 4 hours there; we had about 2 hours there. We had been told to meet the van back at 3:15 for lunch, which was a big surprise. We’d thought that lunch “on your own” not only meant that we’d pay for our own lunch, but would be free to actually find it on our own as well. Nope. When we only had around an hour and 15 minutes left, we broke off from the guide and started our free time a bit earlier than the rest of the people. We climbed the Pyramid of the Sun, enjoyed the view awhile, walked around a bit more and peeked at the souvenir shops by each gate, and then it was time to go. Oh, and those souvenir shops? They were selling many of the exact same things that we’d seen earlier, only for much lower prices! It made me wonder if they even made anything at that place, or if they just had machinery out and hired people to look busy when tourists came, meanwhile re-selling things that they themselves probably bought from elsewhere, like China.

Lunch was of course at a very mediocre, fairly overpriced place the guides shuffled us to. They didn’t eat, probably because of the cost/quality, all the while getting a kickback from the restaurant. In the middle of our meal, we were “entertained” by an “Aztec” dancer and drummer. Please. After lunch, we were taken back to our hotel and arrived there by 5:30. We did not tip our guides. We figured they’d probably gotten enough tips from the places they’d brought us.

My conclusion: avoid the Hotel Catedral’s tours at all costs, even if you have to pay more. The Turibus offers a tour to Teotihuacan for $45, substantially more expensive, yes, but at least we would have had enough time there and not had souvenirs and bad food pushed upon us. Even a private driver doesn’t cost that much. One of the Catedral’s drivers charged 100 pesos an hour with a 200 peso minimum. That’s about $10 per hour.

If you can deal with the negatives, then the Hotel Catedral is well-located and a good value.

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled with friends
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6  Thank Tara3056
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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547 - 551 of 1,315 reviews

Reviewed 13 November 2007

i have stayed at this hotel 3 times in the span of about a month and have had good experiences each time. The rooms are clean, if a bit worn, and the lobby and restaurant are nice. Breakfast comes with the room and you have a broad selection of items to choose from ranging from hot cakes to tamales!

Many reviews state that there is a filtered water tap in the room, but I have only had this once. The other times there was a bottle of water provided each day. There are also not hairdryers in all the rooms. Hand towels and wash cloths seem non-existent. I had a horrible hard pillow, but a polite request to housekeeping for something a little softer landed me a nice, plush feather pillow.

The only complaint I have is that I canceled a reservation but the hotel 'accidentally' charged my card. They requested my credit card number, I sent it, but the problem is still not resolved 2 weeks later.

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled with family
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1  Thank Melinda K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 November 2007

The visit was good to the hotel. We stayed there 5 nights. The rooms were fine, a little worn, but not bad at all. Most of the staff could speak and understand English. The restaurant onsite was ok, nothing great, but still good. We opted to include breakfast with the room price. This limits your choices on the menu in the morning. I would probably say just pay for the room and do breakfast on your own. The beds were very firm and there were no hand towels or washcloths in the bathrooms. My room didn't have a water-filter in the bathroom, so they put a couple bottles of water in the room.

On a side note, the travel agency in the hotel is convenient, but not the best choice. The tour of the pyramids we booked wasn't too expensive, but we kind of felt mislead. We were told we would have 4 hours at the site. Well, not really. When we got there, we had to spend almost an hour at this gift shop looking at overpriced souvenirs. We had less than 2 hours at the pyramids because we had to meet for lunch. So, then we have to go have lunch at this overpriced restaurant. I wonder how much in kick-backs they got from all that. We felt really rushed at the pyramids.

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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Thank westashleyguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2007

We travelled from Sydney to Mexico City and were so happy we booked this hotel for 6 nights. From check in to check out nothing was too much trouble for the staff. We had no problem with the language, our room was clean, we had a balcony with great views and there is even a filtered water tap in each room. The hotel is in walking distance of the major sights in Centro Historico and there are great places to eat and shop nearby. The travel agent at the hotel booked trips to the pyramids/shrine and Taxco for us and we had the best time-very professional. We had breakfast included and the food was delicious and authentic. If you reserve your room using their website, pay when you leave you get a 10% discount by paying in pesos.

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled as a couple
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Thank Persia69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2007

We stayed here for 6 nights while visiting our daughter. The hotel is centrally located to many of the City's sights and the staff, as others have mentioned, were outstanding.
Unless you have the ability to sleep through all kinds of noise, I would strongly advise you to ask for an interior room. We spent the first couple of nights in a room that faced the street and it was really noisy. After switching to a room facing the large interior airshaft (that sounds icky but it really wasn't -- the "view" of the street is actually less attractive than the airshaft) we were rewarded with a truly quiet nights' sleep. The staff was very pleasant and efficient about making the change for us.
The room rate included a choice of breakfasts in the restaurant that were tasty and plentiful and the coffee was great.

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank DevelopmentGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Catedral

Address: Calle Donceles # 95, Mexico City 06000, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Central Mexico and Gulf Coast > Mexico City > Centro Historico
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#15 Romantic Hotel in Mexico City
#26 Best Value Hotel in Mexico City
#36 Business Hotel in Mexico City
Price Range: ₹ 4,679 - ₹ 7,179 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 116
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Catedral Hotel Mexico City
Catedral Mexico City
Hotel Catedral Mexico City

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