In a nutshell: The location is excellent, the staff are great, and I love the historic charm of the Hampton Inn Centro Historico. But the noise. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a noisier hotel. If you struggle to sleep (or even if you usually don’t), this is not the property for you.
Mexico knows how to throw a party. Their Día de la Independencia celebration is something worth experiencing. From a crowd of over 100,000 people out in the square for “El Grito” to hours of parades the following day, Mexico’s capital celebrates in style. I was in town for a meetup with members of the Miles to Memories Diamond Community, and we had an amazing time. Many of us decided to stay in the historic city center, at the aptly named Hampton Inn Centro Historico Mexico City.
Points were solidly the way to go for a stay in Mexico City over the Día de la Independencia weekend. The Hampton Inn Centro Historico was asking a cash rate of $839 for five nights at time of booking, which made paying just 80,000 Hilton Honors points a great deal. I extended the trip by a day to take advantage of Hilton’s fifth night free benefit on award stays, using my last full day for a day trip to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan.
I’m happy when I get 0.5 cent per Hilton point, and this redemption gave me just over 1.0 cent each. There are a lot of other points hotels to choose from in the CDMX, but few in this particular area. You can find most others to the west along Paseo de la Reforma.
Arriving at the Hampton Inn Centro Historico
I arrived in Mexico City in the midafternoon, electing to take the metro to the hotel. Things were not especially busy in the capital yet, although this would change as the evening’s festivities drew nearer. The one bummer was the closure of the Línea 1 Pantitlán – Observatorio metro line for a couple days. I had to take a more circuitous route to get to the Hampton Inn Centro Historico, easily costing me 15-20 extra minutes. Might not have been worth it. However, the metro is $0.50 USD versus $20+ for taxi or Uber, or even more for a private transfer.
You also have to walk a few blocks from either metro station to get to the Hampton Inn. The hotel is just two blocks from the Zócalo, giving you easy access to many of the central CDMX sights and the pedestrian shopping street that runs to the Alameda Central.
Check-in at the Hampton Inn Centro Historico was quick and easy. The front desk confirmed my five-night stay, informed me of the breakfast hours, and handed me two bottles of water before sending me up to my first floor room. No upgrades were offered, which was what I expected. The hotel had appeared sold out at multiple points leading up to the stay.
While the lobby has modern furniture and central elevators have been added, the Hampton Inn Centro Historico has kept much of its charm. From the railings, to the blue tile work adorning the walls, to the colorful glass ceiling shining brightly above the atrium, the building maintains an interior and exterior from a previous era. Even though I had a first floor room, I enjoyed wandering the hotel to take a closer look.
The main staircase follows the old elevator shaft. You can see the metal cage doors still installed. If only the hotel could have kept those in working condition. It would be so much cooler.
Standard Single Queen Room
My reservation was for a standard single queen room, and that’s exactly what the Hampton Inn Centro Historico gave me. The room was small, smaller than most Hampton rooms I’ve stayed in, rivaling New York City rooms in terms of its compactness. The bed fills most of the room, with a closet on the inside next to the bathroom, an exterior window to the outside, and the combined desk-dresser-TV stand opposite the end. Small, but functional.
The desk is small, but it was comfortable enough to get the few hours of work completed that I had planned during the stay. The lamp with working power outlets was vital, as outlets are otherwise few and far between around the room.
My passport stayed in the hotel safe for the duration of my stay. Wandering around with it seemed risky, and it was ultimately the right call as my iPhone was stolen during my first evening in town.
I didn’t use the in-room coffee, but water is always appreciated.
I don’t have any photos of the bathroom, but know that it is small. There is a single sink and mirror about two-and-a-half feet wide. A Hampton Inn Centro Historico room only offers a shower, no tub. But this is my personal preference anyway. I found the shower pressure to be good, but the water temperature wasn’t ever much beyond tepid. It’s always rather frustrating to stay at a typically solid chain hotel brand and not be able to enjoy a shower.
One great room feature was the exterior balcony. It’s not very big, but it was a great place to enjoy a view of the military servicemen and police lining up for the parades on Día de la Independencia.
While the room had the essentials, there was one major issue that colored the entire stay: the noise. I knew that the festivities would impact the experience, and this was understandable the first night, as fireworks and music were the order of the evening. However, it soon became clear that the Hampton Inn Centro Historico rooms are just noisy in general. The balcony doors are not soundproofed in any way, and street noise is very noticeable. You’ll also need to factor in the rooftop restaurant and bar at a hostel across the street.
The bed was reasonably comfortable, not the greatest. But add in the noise and AC that would barely keep things cool enough, and you have a recipe for poor sleep. By the final day, I was glad to be checking out.
The Hampton Inn Centro Historico offers free breakfast every morning in an area adjacent to the lobby. The spread was decent, including eggs, beans, and a meat and a vegetable option each morning, but of mediocre quality. Things varied a bit from day to day. The eggs were clearly powdered and not fresh. Other offerings included cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, and a selection of fruit. I feel that the hotel could do better in the breakfast department, especially as an international brand. I stuck with the eggs and beans most mornings.
The one unique option was the Mexican cinnamon coffee. It was sweetened, but good, and better than the standard coffee offered in the carafes.
Beyond the complementary breakfast, the Hampton Inn offers two restaurants: Fisher’s Centro and Garabatos Centro. Fisher’s is a seafood restaurant offering fish and shrimp tacos and tostadas, seafood rice plates, soups, and other dishes. Prices are quite high for Mexico standards, but the food I tried was tasty. Even at an eye-watering $4.50 USD for a single taco, I do recommend trying their original Taco de Camaron a la Diabla.
I don’t know what Garabatos Centro offers. It appears to be a mid-range restaurant and I’d expect prices to be elevated as well. Both places are clearly profiting from tourists staying at the hotel.
The Hampton Inn Centro Historico has a small exercise room, but no pool. I was glad to have a facility to keep up with my workout schedule even on vacation. This was the first trip in a while I did not gain weight over a matter of a few days. Too much delicious food and not enough pumping iron is a bad recipe these days.
We hung out on the hotel roof during the final evening of the meetup. It is often set up for the Fisher’s Restaurant and would be a nice spot when the weather is nice. The couple times I ventured to the roof during the stay, the chairs were all put away. The views also weren’t quite what I’d hoped they’d be.
Location: Selling Feature of the Hampton Inn Centro Historico
One thing I can’t fault the Hampton Inn Centro Historico for is its location. If you want to be in the historic city, it’s difficult to do better than this. The hotel is a 1-minute walk from the Zocalo. There is plenty of shopping, many historic sights, and lots to see right around you. You can still easily access the metro to take you to Reforma, Polanco, or some of the other popular neighborhoods.
It is also a great place to stay to watch the Independence Day parades. This is from the morning of Friday, September 16, 2022.
Final Thoughts on the Hampton Inn Centro Historico
I’m split on my stay at the Hampton Inn Centro Historico. While the hotel has some favorable aspects, like its location and value, the lack of sleep over five nights caught up with me. That, plus the tepid shower and mediocre breakfast, would likely make me look elsewhere for my next trip to Mexico City. I’d look for a more upscale property, such as the Condesa DF Hotel, an excellent choice from my previous visit. But it is in a totally different neighborhood. There’s a lot to balance when visiting the Mexican capital. But I do hope to be back soon.