As a social entrepreneur frequently on the road, I get to visit diverse places. However, often on a hectic schedule and weird hours. Selina describes their properties as a “haven for nomads“. “Travelers and explorers redefining what it means to travel, work and explore”. My recent visit to Oaxaca was no exception.
A Digital Nomad/Road Warrior Oasis in Oaxaca
In town for a training program a half an hour outside of the city center, I was looking for a comfortable place to stay that would was well-located. Having worked out of Selina in Downtown Cancun, I was excited to check out Selina’s Oaxaca location.
The property is close to Santo Domingo Temple and a ton of other attractions nearby. A brief walk away from the pickup spot for the training program I was in for, meant this was a winner!
Flying into Oaxaca from Cancun is not a particularly comfortable feat, with two far-apart connecting flights that would have me touching down at Oaxaca International Airport at 9:00 pm. Add to that, my airline managed to lose my bag, meant I actually left the airport around 10.
Oaxaca is an Uber- and Lyft- free zone as I discovered soon after landing, so factor that into your plans. My next best choice was to take a cab. You get two options: “Especial” (private) and “Colectivo” (shared). For around $5 USD per person (1/4 the “Especial” rate) and a minimum of 4 passengers, the “Colectivo” will drop you off at the door of your desired destination. Great if you’re keeping eyes on your budget, thought it will take a little longer.
As Mike the Coworkaholic has reported, Selina has a new loyalty program encouraging booking directly. Until they have additional benefits clarified, it’s probably best to still book through Booking.com, earning you bonus AAdvantage miles. (Plus you can also score points on cards with travel bonus categories like the Chase Ink Business Preferred.)
The “Colectivo” dropped me off at the location, and it took me a minute to get my bearings on where Selina was. Due to the fact that there’s a modest sign outside that’s a bit hard to find. The late check-in made no difference on the warm greeting I got from the kind lady at the trendy front desk.
Checking in was a breeze thanks to Diana, who let me know that they were hosting a local Hospitality Training Program. In a couple of minutes I had my keycard and Selina bracelet to identify me as a guest. However, not before letting them know I was expecting a call or my bag to be dropped off.
The relatively tight entrance opens up into an inviting, cozy courtyard for its guests, with hammocks, chairs and bookcase giving me a flashback to college days and a cafeteria-type setting. That is if you can picture a cafeteria with a western feel, funky art and blues on the speakers.
For a second I though Selina had done its homework about me, as I arrived to a delicious mix of Janis Joplin, Jamiroquai and Pink Floyd caressing my ears.
Guest Rooms at Selina – Oaxaca, Mexico
I stayed in a Standard room, equipped with a bed and desk. Lights, A/C, and fan worked without a hitch. The bed was quite comfortable although the mix of too-firm cushions and softer pillows resulted in me throwing the cushions off to the side when going to sleep.
The light and fan switches were distributed strangely toward the far side of the bed and had no switches on the near side, which was a surprise and a slight inconvenience.
The private bathroom was neither too big nor too small; and I was glad to see there was soap and shampoo waiting for me. No floor mat for when getting out of the shower, though. The hot water was quick to turn lukewarm.
Amenities at Selina – Oaxaca, Mexico
When traveling, I like to bring clothes with me. So, it was a surprise to see that the room was only equipped with a clothes hanger rack and a spot to place your shoes on. No drawers or shelves means that any kind of stay will have you partially living out of your suitcase.
The room I was in overlooked the street, so it was a bit noisy at times. While curtains did a decent job keeping light out, they aren’t fully blackout. The walls could have used some more décor to bring it to life as they were a bit bare.
The WiFi password was readily available on signs posted on the columns around the courtyard at every level. It’s nice to see it so you don’t even have to ask. The signal itself was strong and I was able to peruse with no hassle.
Customer Service & Staff
Once I was settled into my room; I got a knock on my door letting me know the airline had called and would be dropping my bag off. Sure enough, less than an hour later it arrived, and the night guard went above and beyond, bringing the bag to my room.
Over the next few days I would notice that the Oaxaca team is at the same time chill and kind, yet professional and efficient.
My checkout was at an ungodly 5:30 am, to catch a 7:30 am flight. I let the staff know a couple of days ahead, and they even scheduled a cab to the airport at a special fare. Very nice.
Selina Oaxaca’s Environment
The hotel’s small footprint houses a lot of very cool art from local talent painted right on the walls giving it a unique flavor. There’s also a roof garden/rooftop bar although it was under repair at the time.
I can’t stress enough how important music is for creating an ambiance. While the Selina Cancun property feels like a tropical electronica party, the Oaxaca location feels like a haven for motorcycle-riding archaeologists. It offers a 70’s/80’s blues and prog-rock soundtrack, complete with a Saloon (yes, a Saloon!)
The courtyard connects to this petite bar and restaurant with cool neon signs, comfy chairs and space. At one point in time I witnessed a tiny salsa lesson happening.
It may have been the dates I went on but except for one day, I saw few people in both the common spaces and the bar. Selina promotes their community, but in fact, I felt a lack of communal experience. While there were a couple of tours and experience opportunities posted near the front desk, very little effort was done to communicate it or involve guests in them.
In case you need supplies, a stocked, 24-hour pharmacy and street food is around the corner. During the day, you’ll find diversely stocked shops. The front desk itself offers only a small menu of essentials like cookies, breath mints, local crafts, and info.
Food at Selina – Oaxaca, Mexico
The Saloon-restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, starting at 7 am.
I didn’t get to try breakfast as I was in a rush, but I did try dinner. Craft beer and dishes reminiscent of traditional Oaxaca cuisine are the norm. I tried the mushroom tostadas, and Marel’s Balsamic Fish, both of which sounded good on paper. The kitchen’s performance wasn’t spectacular though. The dishes felt uninspired and bland. The two craft beers I tried made up for that. My total was just under $19 USD. Pricey for not awesome food.
I was also surprised to see only a tiny variety of dessert options (three, and they were out of one). More so, while this was quite off brand, they lacked vegetarian or vegan options. Unless you call the salad section enough options for veggie lovers like me.
Coworking at Selina – Oaxaca, Mexico
On my last day I returned to the hotel a little earlier than expected and checked out the coworking space. I found a cozy little space complete with two small private rooms. In addition to a larger space with shared desks and booths. There I met two lovely and quirky travelers from South Africa and South Korea. I became fast friends with them while a couple of people popped in and out.
A printer and microwave rounded out the equipment available. However, there was no coffee was to be found. (Much like Mike’s experience at Selina Playa del Carmen.) You have to go next door to the saloon for it.
If I were returning to Oaxaca, I’d definitely return to this location. Even if just for the ambiance and the convenient location. Whether traveling on your own as a digital nomad or with a group, Selina is a good place to start. It’s youth-oriented feel and quirky setup provide fun adventures, comfort and cleanliness. All without being corporate, or opulent like some nearby hotels. You’ll need to actively look for the events and community engagement to take full advantage of that. While the staff is super kind, they are a bit shy. All in all, I leave this visit satisfied. And more importantly, happy to get to explore other locations.
The post Hotel & Coworking Review: Selina – Oaxaca, Mexico was first published on Coworkaholic.