Thursday, August 15, 2013

Two Hotels of the North. Part 2

We'd long considered Nuevo Laredo a sort of ugly necessity when crossing the border into Mexico from Texas. We recently had to go there to nationalize our vehicle. It wasn't fun to do, the distance from home is great, and the temperature in the Rio Grande Valley in August at times reached 109º F.

So it was important to have a conveniently located, comfortable hotel for our sanctuary. We chose the Hotel Colón Plaza in which to stay two nights on our recent trip to Nuevo Laredo, based on TripAdvisor reviews and personal recommendations. It's located in a surprisingly attractive, upscale part of the city. We were comfortable, except for the heat when walking to and from Los Ajos restaurant and nearby branch banks. Note that if you go to Los Ajos, the heavily fortified and guarded building next to it, immediately to the north, is the U.S. Consulate. I recommend walking on the far side of the street, as the security guards are justifiably vigilant, especially after a bomb attack of April, 2010.

It was easy to find and the rate was a reasonable $715 pesos for a double room. The room was a little small, but very well outfitted and ample for our needs. The style is serious "Business Class", and while it didn't warm my heart, it was fine. Parking was in a walled lot behind the hotel with access to the lobby.

The service environment seemed "correct" and a bit "stuffy".

The main things were that the elevator, AC, and bath worked. There is an attractive swimming pool, but we never had time to use it. Although our room faced a busy avenue, the interior was quiet, as it was set back from the street and had heavy curtains as well.

On Sunday evening, the desk clerk told me that the hotel restaurant "Triskel" was not open and was not open for breakfast on Monday. This was not a big issue for us, as we took all our meals at the Restaurante "Los Ajos", an inexpensive, pleasant and informal restaurant 800 meters east, at Calle Álvaro Obregón and Paseo Colón. I will review that separately.

The bathroom was a bit small, but worked fine and like the rest of the room, spotlessly clean. The shower was o.k. but not positionable as it was fixed directly above in the shower stall. The hot water arrived fairly quickly but with only moderate pressure. The bath amenities were above average.

The Wifi worked very well, and there was a large and comfortable desk, plenty electrical outlets, drawers, shelves and adequate but not generous closet space.

The only notable glitch was that the electronic key cards would not work at times. The receptionist got one to work, but a second never did. One is needed to place in a slot inside the room to keep the electricity going. Another is useful if one guest wants to go out while the other stays in. On our return one evening, neither card worked and I had to go to Reception to have them reactivated.

There were the standard two bottles of purified water in the room each day, but on Sunday, when I requested more, the desk clerk told me that there weren't any. What he failed to reveal is that there is an alcove on our floor, close to our room, with a big jug of purified water. It's there for the guests to use to refill their water bottles.

I would have given the hotel 5 stars but for these small annoyances.
(A version of this review appeared on

I don't have any photos of the hotel, but you can look at these.)

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