Selina describes their properties as a “haven for nomads, travelers and explorers redefining what it means to travel, work and explore”. Sounds right up my Coworkaholic alley, eh? I first heard of Selina last fall and since then I’ve continued to hear more and more about this company.
About Selina (the Nomad)
Co-Founders Rafael Museri and Daniel Rudasevski opened the first location in Venao, Panama in 2014. Prior to that they had both traveled the world and begun managing real estate projects in the nearby fishing town of Pedasi starting in 2007. Their goal of changing the world of hospitality for a new community of travels has led them to open 26 locations in eight countries. The model has proven successful enough to land $95 M in funding ($23 M of the total coming from WeWork Founder Adam Neumann) in April 2018.
The company purchases old or vacated hotels, hostels or motels and up-cycles as much as possible when renovating the properties. Local artists are hired for murals, farm to table menus are offered and the price points have won a loyal base of customers who bounce between their Central and South America footprint. After spending a few nights at their Playa Del Carmen location, I stayed at their Mexico City property.
It’s easy to navigate their mobile site to find a private room within an hour’s notice. The Selina app works better for booking activities, but will score you a room for a few dollars less than third party booking sites.
I learned my lesson from my first booking and chose to book through Booking.com which earned me 5 AAdvantage miles per $1 (thanks to the AAdvantage eShopping Portal. Rather than saving the $6 for my stay by booking direct, I booked through Booking.com to earn 470 AAdvantage miles. (That Booking.com link will also get you a $25 credit 😉)
Checking In & First Impressions
My experience checking into the Mexico City location seemed a bit more streamlined than when I was at Playa Del Carmen. My reservation was all set, and I received the signature wristband and a room key. Still in the process of converting the property, the room key had the name of the previous hotel. Checking in later in the evening, there was quite a buzz on the main floor. The space was filling up with folks ready to have a good night. Music, lighting, drinks = it’s easy to make new friends on the dance floor.
The WiFi was much better at this property and I certainly appreciated being on one of the top floors. I knew I’d be able to get a good night’s sleep no matter how loud the party got on the ground floor. The property doesn’t appear to be fully handicap accessible. There are steps with a very steep ramp to enter. The elevator is also very old and requires staff to operate it.
The room I receive was awesome. Spacious, well designed, clean and incredibly comfortable. They have A/C, but I was happy to keep the beautiful window open to enjoy the cool temps of Mexico City, compared to the heat wave in Cancun.
There were really cool touches like having a record player, but unfortunately there were no LPs to play. I’m not sure how many folks travel with vinyl in their carry-ons.
I really enjoyed the views from the window. The beds are comfortable, the pillows are the perfect mix of soft yet firm. Unlike in Playa Del Carmen, this location provided basic amenities such as soap, shampoo and conditioner.
I didn’t have enough time to try as many of the items on their menu as I would have liked. Just like at the Playa Del Carmen location, the food was as good as it looked.
There were a few items that were also available at Playa Del Carmen. Their take on the chia seed pudding blended with a blackberry smoothie was DY-NO-MITE. The food is actually my favorite thing about the Selina properties so far. While some hotels have started offering creative healthy options, they’re usually more expensive. The cheaper the property, the lower the quality of food selection drops. Here, you can eat healthy and not spend an arm and a leg.
I cannot lie. I didn’t cowork. While in Mexico City I had back to back meetings, a dinner, and an early flight. I came. I slept. I ate. I left. It’s probably best that I didn’t plan on coworking, because I’m not quite sure what I would have encountered.
Here, the coworking space is open/connected to the other social areas such as the shared kitchen, the club space. The theatre is also on the same floor. Mind you it wasn’t a weekday, but by 8am, the space looked rough. Tables and chairs were askew, with some trash and empty bottles left from the night before.
There were dirty dishes in the sink, the trash can was full. It was empty. As I mentioned, it was a weekend so not surprised to see people working. That said, not an excuse for the mess that was there.
The Coworkaholic Says…
Being my second time staying at Selina, my experience and expectations were far more in line. At $97 for a private room, it’s still far less expensive than larger chain brand hotels in Mexico City. It’s the best value out there for someone who prefers a boutique look and feel, but is still on a budget.
I really enjoy their food and beverage offerings and pray that as they continue to grow, that the level of service rises to a consistent level. It’s hit or miss all around: front desk; coworking; bartenders. Then again, the clientele are as engrossed in their smart phones as the staff are, so do they even care?
If you are a new digital nomad or traveling with a group of friends, Selina delivers everything it promises: events, culture, local community, free drinks and WiFi (this location it worked). There’s a great, vibrant nightlife. This property has some pretty comfy (albeit poorly cleaned) amenities and space.
The post Review: Selina Mexico City was first published on Coworkaholic.