In Roma Norte, there’s a special place on Jalapa among colonial treasures. Once home to a local Mexican family, Ignania Guesthouse is a century-old conversion offering a peaceful oasis in one of Mexico City’s most bustling districts. At first glance, it may seem like a hotspot for the traveling elite, but with a closer look you’ll discover that the heart of Ignacia Guesthouse is much more ingenuous, and even more personal.
I toured the bed-and-breakfast on a busy Tuesday afternoon. After buzzing the intercom system, I was met by Magda, the property’s manager. From the entrance, the greenery climbed around the former carriage-way to the rooftop planters. As we made our way inside the sounds of the city began to disappear, and it wasn’t until we were standing in the foyer that I realized how special the place really was.
It was, as Magda put it, a modern set of Mad Men-meets-Wes Anderson. While I agreed, I would’ve suggested something more favorably individual. The interiors were designed by the brilliant A-G Interiorismo — whose previous projects include Bronson, the speakeasy bar, and El Quinto Sol, the Architectural Digest collaboration — and furniture by Eileen Grey, Eero Saarinen, Serge Mouille, Sean Dix, and James Tan.
As it goes, I considered Ignacia Guesthouse one of A-G’s more conservative commissions. It offers warmth and neutrality while displaying the very best of the property’s historical character.
In the library, there are local and international collections for guests to enjoy. On the shelves are ceramics and pottery from the legendary José Cervantes. While discussing these artifacts, Magda introduced me to the most important ingredient to the property’s identity — its infamous housekeeper, Ignacia, whom the property takes its name after.
Born around 1914, Ignacia came to Mexico City from her home state of Guerrero in the late 1920s. She first helped with cleaning and taking care of the children, and eventually became the head housekeeper until her departure in the year 2000. Ignacia was essentially part of the family, I was told — she took care of the house as if it were her own. She was devoted, disciplined, and very much liked by everyone who knew her. From the property’s name, its kitchen’s recipes, and its Guerrero-inspired gardens, the property was conceived with her at the forefront.
While no photograph exists of Ignacia today, the owners had a collection of paintings made in her honor. They hang like centrepieces in the decorated rooms and hallways. Unfortunately, Ignacia wasn’t able to see the project come to life, but her nephew, I was told, had made a visit with much delight.
To get around, the property is separated by two structures — the main house and the addition. On the backside of the gardens, you’ll find guest rooms converted from the former horse stables of the 1940s. Here, each suite is fitted with its own unique color scheme and ambiance. In the main house, you’ll find the upper-level master suite with its own sitting area, large ensuite bath, and private balcony overlooking the gardens. Outside of the master, there’s an incredibly beautiful glass hallway popular for catching the first morning light. It was here that singer-songwriter, Bjork, had called home for a month during a trip to Mexico City.
For its early service, breakfast is served using only the finest ingredients from local markets. Each dish is home-cooked using salsas, artisanal bread, fresh fruit, and uniquely prepared Mexican juices. Throughout the day, there are pastries and delicacies offered within a hand’s reach.
As our visit concluded, I wondered about the secrets the property must’ve held. From the early days of the Condesa horse races to Bjork’s recent month-long hiatus, there’s the undeniable essence that Ignacia has succeeded time and space, much to the benefit of anyone who has the pleasure to visit.