Photos: Second-Half Travels, CC BY-NC 2.0 DEED
The Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México is a rare and unique spectacle. The hotel survives from the Porfiriato period of the late 19th century and remains one of the City’s oldest. It’s today most popular for the terrace restaurant on the upper floors that allow exquisite views of the Zócalo and the entire area.
The Centro Mercantil was opened by President Porfirio Diaz in 1899 offering mostly merchandise shipped from Europe. The stained glass ceiling is modeled on the Arte Nouveau works so prominent in the Paris of those years. One of the hotel’s most striking features even today, it was the work of the French artist, Jacques Grüber and finished only in 1908.
Remarkably, the Centro Mercantil continued operations until 1958. It then took some ten years for the Howard Johnson’s company to retrofit the building to re-open as a hotel in time for the 1968 Olympic Games. That partly explains the hotel’s often surprisingly affordable rates, too. Even today.
It was remodeled again between 2003 and 2005. During that remodeling, the enterprise was renamed the Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México. The total number of guest rooms was reduced at that time to the 60 that remain today. The same rehab also improved the rooftop terrace and restaurant that’s one of the best ways to get to know the hotel. And with the views, it’s also among the best places to take in the Zócalo, the National Palace and the Cathedral.
This luxurious building of eclectic style was inaugurated in 1899 as "El Centro Mercantil", one of the first department stores in the city that caused a sensation among the elites of the time since it offered all kinds of articles brought from Europe. Its interior is the best example of Art Nouveau in the city, the elevators, the stained glass of Jacques Gruber and the main staircase (demolished in the 1960s) achieved a remarkable set. In 1968 it was transformed into a hotel for the international visitors of the Olympic Games held in the country.
Ruta del Corazón de México - Zócalo - Ruta Templo Mayor
Proyecto “Corredor de Cultura Digital”.
Nombre de la investigación: Investigación Centro Histórico, Monumentos, Edificios y Puntos de Interés (2023)
Dirección de investigación y diseño de Rutas: Acércate al Centro A.C. Guadalupe Gómez Collada
Coordinación e investigación histórica: Fideicomiso del Centro histórico Dir. Maestra Loredana Montes