Just a block west of the zócalo, find the longtime Hotel Francia (20 de Noviembre 212, tel. 951/516-4811 or 951/516-4120, fax 951/516-4251, reservaciones [at] hotelfrancia [dot] com [dot] mx, www.hotelfrancia.com.mx, $50 s or d, $60 t). Savvy new managers have brightened up the Francia with fresh white paint, a bright chandelier, potted palms, shiny lobby tile, and a new restaurant. They have also added a renovated colonial-era section (once a separate hotel next door) built around an invitingly traditional interior patio. Rooms are clean and spacious, with high ceilings and old-world dark wood furniture. The 62 rooms feature baths, hot water, fans, TV, phones, and credit cards accepted; parking $5/day.
Although somewhat removed (three blocks south, three blocks west, ten easy minutes) from the zócalo, the Hotel Rivera del Ángel (Mina 518, tel. 951/516-6666, fax 951/514-5405, hotelriveradelangel [at] prodigy [dot] net [dot] mx, www.hotelriveradelangel.com, $48 s, $55 d, $60 t) offers a number of advantages. Downstairs, an airy, shiny, but busy lobby and restaurant area offers nothing special, but through the lobby windows, feast your eyes on the inviting big blue pool and sunny central patio. Upstairs, you’ll find the rooms semi-deluxe, clean, spacious, and comfortable, several with private terraces overlooking the pool patio. The hotel’s main drawback, besides the questionable neighborhood (streetwalkers, low-life bars, and drunks at night), is street noise from buses along Mina. Avoid this by reserving a tranquilo off-street room, next to or above the inner pool-patio. Amenities include cable TV, fans, phones, passable restaurant, secure parking, travel agency, and tour buses to Mitla and Monte Albán. Credit cards accepted but discounts are available for cash.
Just a few doors south of the zócalo’s southeast corner, consider the popular 1980s-mod Hotel Gala (Bustamante 103, tel. 951/514-2251 or 951/514-1305, fax 951/516-3660, Mex. toll-free 800/712-7316, galaoax [at] prodigy [dot] net [dot] mx, www.gala.com.mx, $60 s, $68 d, $76 t, $86 junior suite). Here, guests enjoy comfortable, modern, deluxe accommodations at relatively moderate prices right in the middle of the zócalo action. Rooms, although tastefully decorated and carpeted, are smallish. Get one of the quieter ones away from the street. The 36 rooms rent have offers phones, TV, fans, and a restaurant, and parking 9 p.m.–9 a.m.; credit cards are accepted.
Return just two blocks west of the zócalo’s northwest corner to the class-act Parador San Miguel (Av. Independencia 503, tel./fax 951/514-9331, sanmigueloaxaca [at] hotmail [dot] com, www.paradorsanmigueloaxaca.com, $74 s or d, $100 t). Here, little seems to have been spared in transforming a colonial-era mansion into a lovely hotel. Inside, a plethora of old-world details—leafy, tranquil inner patio, sunny upstairs corridors, brilliant stained glass- decorated staircase, scrolled wrought-iron railings, handsome hand-carved wooden doors—are bound to please lovers of traditional refinement. A correspondingly elegant restaurant, the Andariega, completes the gorgeous picture. The 19 rooms and four suites are no less than you’d expect, attractively furnished with custom-woven bedspreads and curtains, handcrafted bamboo and leather furniture, elegantly tiled shower-baths, and a choice of king, single, or double beds. If the Parador San Miguel has a drawback, it’s the traffic noise from busy Calle Independencia just outside the front door; ask for a room away from the street. But never mind, the place is simply exquisite and prices are not unreasonable; add about 50 percent during festivals and holidays. All with air-conditioning, cable TV, and credit cards accepted.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition