Dowager down at the heels



About eight or nine years ago, I spent one of the happiest weeks of my life in the Hotel Bamer on Avenida Juárez. I was in a suite on the 13th story, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Alameda Park. This was the most well-appointed hotel of the city when it was built, sometime in the 1950s.


By the time I got there, however, the Bamer was a dowager down at her heels. The elevator only worked intermittently, the furniture was in sore need of reupholstery, and when I pulled the cord to open the curtains, they fell to the floor. The view was spectacular, though.


At the time, much of the area was in a shambles, never repaired after the 1985 earthquake. But in the intervening years, Carlos Slim, the wealthiest man in Mexico (and one of the two or three richest in the world), bought much of the surrounding property, took away the rubble and rebuilt, bringing it into the 21st century. (The modern building to the left of the hotel in the photo, part office and part residential, belongs to Slim.)


I imagine that the owners of the Bamer are hanging tough and waiting for someone to buy their now presumably much more valuable property. It is a shame that it is dormant, but would be a worse shame if it weren't remodeled and put to use again as a hotel. The rooms are huge, and those views of the Alameda are unbeatable.