Ambrosi Etchegaray: Círculo Mexicano

Martyn White

Posted on August 16 2020

At the heart of Mexico City, Grupo Habita transforms a 19th-century residential building into a luxury boutique hotel, unifying the worlds of contemporary and traditional design.

Located in the heart of Mexico City’s downtown, where pre-hispanic ruins intersect with the National Palace and the first cathedral in the Americas, Grupo Habita launch their twelfth hospitality project; a luxurious boutique hotel designed by art and architecture studio Ambrosi | Etchegaray. The architectural project reimagines the 19th-century residential building as a modern marketplace on the ground floor and a boutique hotel that contains twenty-five rooms and suites on the second and third floors. The studio respectfully strips back the interiors, exposing the fabric and heart of the building. This respect, paired with a fresh, minimalist design, creates a personal and connected experience for all guests and visitors to the hotel. 

Círculo Mexicano Hotel Reception DeskCírculo Mexicano Hotel Stairwell and Lobby

Firmly embedding itself into the community, the interior spaces showcase the best of what the city and local talent have to offer. As the birthplace of Mexico's most celebrated photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo, his works feature prominently throughout the hotel rooms and public areas. Other links to local craft and design feature in the furniture selection with beautiful handcrafted pieces from Mexico City-based design studio La Metropolitana, many inspired by the Shaker movement. Oaxacan textiles and weaved palm also feature prominently throughout the property, referencing the local design heritage.

The layout of the hotel takes inspiration from the continual evolution and change seen within many historic Mexican elite residences. Large homes and buildings were often segregated and converted into smaller dwellings for multiple families. The architectural studio has maintained this 'patio-centric' design, allowing for the rooms and suites to have greater privacy while still maintaining a connection of the community to the structure through a central open space and rooftop destination. 

Círculo Mexicano Hotel Suite BedroomCírculo Mexicano Hotel BedroomCírculo Mexicano Hotel Suite BedroomCírculo Mexicano Hotel Suite Bathroom

Each of the 25 rooms and suites exhibits a parred back, minimalist design that accentuates fine craft and premium materials. The spaces feel tranquil, private, and calm, providing an escape from the busy city streets that surround. Eighteen of the rooms contain their private skylit courtyard patios while the others feature balconies. The selection of materials plays a crucial role in the story and experience of the hotel, many referencing the surroundings of the city, reaffirming the deep connection to the city and local culture. Clad in basalt stone, the central patio floors refer to both the Centro Histórico district and the volcanoes surrounding Mexico City. The plastered interior walls are colour matched to the beautiful natural stone that surrounds, providing a clean canvas that is softened by the natural ash-wood used in the furniture, doors, and fixtures. Other architectural details such as brick barrel ceilings, exposed beam work and wooden shuttered windows feature in select rooms, adding individual character to every space. 

Círculo Mexicano Hotel Terrace and viewsCírculo Mexicano Hotel Rooftop Hot Tub

The rooftop terrace is designed as a social destination, allowing guests and families to come together. The terrace includes a swimming pool, bar and lounge that offer spectacular views over downtown and the metropolitan cathedral, the national palace, and the Templo Mayor. Foliage and planters blur the boundaries between the city and the terrace, providing privacy while still allowing the silhouettes of the surrounding historic architecture feel present. Low-level seating provides a comfortable and relaxing setting to soak up the atmosphere while the adjacent restaurant allows guests to sample delicacies that explore the rich cultural heritage of Mexico.

Círculo Mexicano is a member of Design Hotels. To book a visit, discover more on the hotel or to view other members, click to view the official Design Hotels website. For information and further projects from the architects and designers, click to view the  Ambrosi | Etchegaray website. 


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