We give this hotel its separate section because of its uniqueness as being the oldest hotel in the Western Hemisphere. This hotel is found in the heart of Guadalajara’s downtown historic district, located very close to the main zocalo. It is located at Maestranza 35. Hotel Frances was founded in 1610 and was renovated and restored in the early 1980’s. For a good price and old world charm, this place can’t be beat. The only drawbacks we found when we stayed here were the rooms and hallways weren’t well lit and you never knew when the elevator would work.
Furthermore, you never knew when the cable holding the elevator was going to break. The elevator is an attraction in and of itself. Many times, it would stop in between floors and you would be staring at wood, or it would stop several feet below one floor and you would look up and see people waiting and you would wonder to yourself, if the elevator would move the extra few feet once you pushed the “start” button again.
Once the elevator stopped several feet short of my floor and I crawled out of the elevator just underneath the bars that raise each time the elevator stops! We considered this elevator just part of the charm of the hotel! The hotel is 3 stories tall. The lobby adjoins a restaurant and a small bar. From the courtyard in the middle of the hotel on the lower story you can look up and see all the other levels of the hotel above you. Hotel El Frances, El Frances Guadalajara, Old Hotel Guadalajara, El Frances
There are many wood chairs on the lower level and this is a great place to enjoy a drink and listen to the piano player. This is also a good place to relax and wonder about all the people that have been through the doors of this hotel since 1610.
The top story of the hotel offers a wonderful open air patio for sun bathing, relaxing, or reading a book. The views of historic Guadalajara from this patio are incredible. You are surrounded by ancient churches, buildings, museums. This is a great place for a photo opportunity.
NOTE: Please be aware that depending on where you stay in this hotel you may find your experience quite noisy during the night time. This is because there is a disco located next door that stays open until 5am. Bring your earplugs. Everyone who has written to me about this hotel mentions the noise at night.
One person who recently stayed at Hotel El Frances stayed in the Pent House which she said was beautiful, clean and fairly inexpensive. It included 2 very large rooms, a sitting room, kitchen w/ fridge, 2 bathrooms and 3 balconies overlooking the city. She did caution to be extremely careful in the restaurant. Her purse and camera was stolen by professional thieves when she was dining in this restaurant.
Phone Number: (3) 613-1190
Fax: (3) 658-2831
The web site listed above is an excellent source of updated information including latest pricing, the history of this hotel and other information. Their web site is available in Spanish also.
The room prices below (in Pesos) are updated as of 2014. Please also view their web site for current pricing.