Polanco and the Soumaya Museum: A Day of Luxury in Mexico City

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When there is only one day to visit a place that offers many attractions, it is often difficult to decide on a satisfactory itinerary.  Usually, the best route is to pick the type of activity, or a specific area of interest to visit, in order to help narrow down the choices.  After careful planning it is possible to decide between visiting a city’s historical center and its monuments, or to check out the collections in its museums, or even try a combination of itineraries that might include a walk through parks and green areas.


Aeroporto Internacional da Cidade do México


Mexico City is certainly a place where the quantity and variety of attractions is vast and tourists might be, at first, intimidated and disoriented.  The city is spread out, the traffic is intense and the options of what to do and see are countless.  Having visited Mexico City in other occasions, I had previously experienced some of the capital’s top attractions such as the Zocalo, the historic center, which has been designated as world heritage site by Unesco.


Palácio do Governo, Capital Federal


In March 2016, with only one day to spend in Mexico City, I decided to narrow down my visit to the luxury neighborhood of Polanco.  Knowing that I wouldn’t have a chance to visit every attraction in the district, I traced a path that would lead me from the metro station to the Soumaya Museum, thus seeing everything I could in between. Equivalent to Jardins district in Sao Paulo or Ipanema in Rio, Polanco is an area with luxurious mansions that sit behind high walls and manicured gardens, some built with traditional old-world architectural elements while others in contemporary glass and steel style.  Polanco also concentrates a high number of modern office towers and luxurious shopping malls.  The Presidente Masaryk Avenue is the most expensive address in all of Mexico and houses the most luxurious stores of all of Latin America such as Cartier, Bulgari and Burberry.  This area is often compared to the sophisticated region of Beverly Hills in California with its high concentration of luxurious brands.

Even if one is not a big fan of shopping malls, a visit to Palacio de Hierro is a must see.  There is nothing like it in all of Latin America as luxury abounds.  The experience of visiting this mixture of sophisticated stores, starred restaurants and food stands is a feast to the eyes.  Comparable to the London department store Harrods, the Palacio de Hierro takes the shopping experience to the next level.  It is worth arriving around 11:00 AM when the complex opens to the public.  Like department stores in Japan, employees dressed in tailored suits welcome guests with a polite Buenos dias.Several stores do not have doors, as they are spread throughout the heavily guarded complex.  This creates an interesting shopping and gastronomical experience unlike anything else seen throughout the world.



Last but not least, the top attraction in Polanco is the splashing Museu Soumaya.  The Soumaya is a private institution with 66 thousand art pieces housed in a building that has been described as an iconic piece of contemporary architecture. Designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero, the museum is always free to the public.  Its 6 floors, inside an assimetrical tower covered by 16 thousand hexagonal aluminum pieces, are a gift to Mexico by its founder, the Mexican magnate Carlos Slim.



Through a small exterior opening, the museum houses multiple art pieces grouped in specific themes, such as European landscapes, Mexican calendars, and a Rodin wing on the rooftop with more than 100 sculptures by the French master.  The Soumaya is impressive inside and out, as is the case with the whole district of Polanco.



A return to the Mexican capital is always a pleasure. To discover Polanco and the Soumaya Museum is to travel to a world where culture and luxury are fused and certainly add style and sophistication to a country already rich in culture, history and fascinating landscapes.



Gus Dantas, publisher gusdantaslife, traveled to Mexico on his own account in March 2016 and visited, besides Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Monterrey e Cancun.




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