This article is from the February 1996 The Mexico File newsletter.
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Overnight in Mexico City

As mentioned earlier, it often makes sense to stay a night Mexico City even when your final destination is elsewhere. Not that Mexico City doesn't deserve several days! lf you don't have a breathing problem, there is plenty to see and do, as is well documented in any guidebook.

I have a couple of recommendations for hotels that I have enjoyed as recently as last month. First, if you want to save a couple of bucks on the taxi to your hotel, use the pedestrian overpass as you are leaving the airport and get one of the cabs on the street, rather than from the line-up of cabs on the airport grounds. You'll save about 25 pesos. The smaller the car, the cheaper the ride. There are no shuttle services from the airport. You can try the Metro, but that might seem a little daunt-ing after a long flight. Besides, luggage is supposedly not allowed on the Metro. However, this is rarely enforced. Anytime you do take the Metro. watch your wallet and belongings. It can be real crowded, making it a pickpocket's dream. Of course, that's true in any major city in the world.

Just a short walk from the expensive Zona Rosa, is Hotel Maria Cristina, Rio Lerma 31, Tel #: 01152-5-703-17-87. Rates start at $33.00. Make a reservation in advance. This a popular place for a good reason. In a quiet, safe neighborhood just two blocks off Paseo de la Reforma, the hotel has 150 rooms but seems much smaller. The restaurant and bar are terrific, serving a vari cry of food. The rooms aren't especially large, but come fully equipped. You'll find a color TV, radio, telephone, tiled bath and beautiful colonial furniture. Some have views of the manicured lawn, inner courtyard and a fountain. This is the best value I have found in Mexico City.

If you want to be near the historic center of town try the convenience of the Hotel Ritz, Avenida Madero 30. Tel # 01152-5-518-13-40, or for reservations (800) 528-1234. Rates start at around $40.00. Situated halfway between the Zocalo and the Alameda, the Ritz has an Old World feel even though it's now a Best Western. The bar/restaurant, which comprises most of the lobby area, is a good place to meet fellow travelers to share information. The rooms have TV and telephone, although the ones facing the street can be noisy.