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Achy bones, heavy eyelids and tongues too twisted to speak Spanish, Dani and I lumbered slowly to our room at the Casa Roa Bed and Breakfast after midnight, falling almost immediately into bed and taking in nothing of our surroundings at all. Luckily Casa Roa’s Mi Casa es Su Casa motto is in full effect and we were welcomed with open arms, even at that ungodly hour.
Our true first impression of the B&B was waking up in our room – possibly the best way to take it all in for the first time. The sun shone in through tiny cracks in the heavy dark curtains, which, when I opened them, revealed bright pink, yellow and orange light filtered through the city smog on a quiet morning in the peaceful Satellite neighborhood far outside the buzzing center of Mexico City.
The sleek and chic split level Casa Roa house is just one in an entire area of upscale suburban homes. Our sunny upstairs room is spacious, with a comfortable Queen bed, 50in flat screen TV with Netflix streaming included, an en-suite bathroom and a closet with enough room for a diva. The simple green garden below is lined with comfortable lawn furniture and fruit trees.
From the fig trees we eat fresh fig jam for breakfast in the morning, along with a delicious homemade Mexican breakfast of chilaquiles, strong coffee and other exotic fruits. The table in the shiny modern kitchen is right in the heart of the room and feels casual, like we’re visiting friends rather than being guests at a hotel. The television is on whenever we are in there, in the morning we watched cartoons, and then a very strange 1970s Mexican film with a Lucha Libre wrestler and some rather dramatic women. It made for a bizarre backdrop to breakfast, but most definitely an authentic, if quirky, Mexican feeling.
Being so far outside the city center we decided to explore the Satelite neighborhood and recover from a long trip the day before. We picked up wine, cheese, bread and other nibbles at the supermarket nearby to have a quiet night in the room watching a film. Otherwise we spent the day catching up on work and sleep.
The hotel’s location is far from Mexico’s Centro Historico, beyond the reach of the city’s excellent subway system. This makes Casa Roa a better spot for business people working in the area, longer-term students, frequent visitors to the city who know their way around, and digital nomads who prioritize work. The wi-fi here is as high speed and dependable as it gets for that. First time visitors to the city might also prefer Casa Roa and the feeling of having a ‘home’ in a city of 22 million people, especially one that is so warm and friendly to guests. Just be prepared to take a lot of cabs or navigate a very ‘local’ bus experience.
During our stay, we gobbled down Gabi’s truly traditional Mexican breakfasts of chilaquiles and huevos rancheros, everything made fresh right into the kitchen as we drank coffee and chatted together. Later in the day, Gabi happened to be making Rajas con Papas, or grilled poblano pepper and potato salad. She made us a whole plate full, just so we could try it and it was so delicious. She showed me how they grill, then sweat the peppers to get the skin off, and I walked out of the hotel stay with an amazing new authentically Mexican recipe. The fridge is open for guests to use, as is the stove and all the dishes, and there even a couch and TV in the kitchen, encouraging you to spend time together in there. If the way to our hearts was our stomachs, Casa Roa won us over in the kitchen.
The owner of the hotel, Isabel, is the matriarch and head of the house. In fact, it was her warmth and friendliness mentioned on Tripadvisor that encouraged us to stay all the way out in the Satelite area. Unfortunately, a family emergency kept Isabel away that weekend, along with the little things we had read about, like how Isabel is always in the kitchen and around the house, helping guests with recommendations and information and calling cabs and basically making everyone feel at home. In her absence, however, we felt a little bit stranded. Our suggested solution is a folder filled with information, for those cases that Isabel can not be available. In it we would include maps of the local area pinpointing restaurants, food, stores and walks to do in the neighborhood and local tourist attractions. We would add clear directions, a map and instructions to the nearest buses to the city center, as well as little pieces of paper with the Casa Roa address and directions in Spanish from the center for the cab drivers, plus average taxi rates to main points of interest. We would have also really liked a welcome letter explaining the history of the house, how it became a bed and breakfast plus details on when breakfast is served, when the gates get locked, and other little things we felt were otherwise missing in her absence.
Casa Roa is an extremely comfortable, gorgeously decorated home away from home offering a glimpse of authentic Mexican life in contemporary, upscale surroundings.
Location: Fernando Gonzalez Roa #8 | Cto. Juristas, Satelite. Edo de Mexico | Mexico city, 53100
Price: Starting at $75.00 for a double room; breakfast included.
LGBT Friendly: Yes
Digital Nomad Friendly: Good wi-fi connection and work space in the communal kitchen as well as a living room
Amenities: Free wi-fi, complimentary breakfast, Netflix, laundry service