We highlight this hotel on its own page within our Guadalajara guide because of its uniqueness as being the oldest hotel in the western hemisphere. Hotel Frances Guadalajara is located in the heart of Guadalajara’s downtown historic district, within a short walk of Plaza Tapatia, address: Maestranza 35. Hotel Frances was founded in 1610; it was renovated and restored in the early 1980’s. Priced reasonably with plenty of old world charm.
During our stay in Hotel Frances Guadalajara, we found the rooms and hallways weren’t always well lighted and discovered the spooky looking elevator would only work some of the time. In the back of one’s mind, one would always wonder when the old cable holding the elevator was going to break. Hopefully not during a ride between floors.
Speaking of the elevator, it is an attraction in and of itself. Many times, it would stop in between floors and passengers would be left staring at wooden beams, or it would almost reach the desired floor but would stop agonizingly close. Passengers would look up and see people waiting and wonder if the fire department would need to be called to make a rescue. But usually the elevator would move a few more feet once pushing the start button – and if not, one would keep pushing the start button over and over again until it resulted in some movement of the elevator.
Once the elevator stopped several feet short of my floor and I crawled out just underneath the protective metal gate/bars! We considered this elevator simply a part of the charm of the hotel.
Hotel Frances is 3 stories. The lobby adjoins a restaurant and a small bar on the first story. From the courtyard in the middle of the hotel on the lower story one an look up and see all the other levels of the hotel above you.
Numerous wooden chairs are located on the lower level; this is a great place to enjoy a drink and listen to the piano player. When one starts listing to the music, one’s mind begins to drift off and think about the diversity of personalities that have walked through the doors of this hotel over the past 400+ years.
The upper story offers a wonderful open air patio for sun bathing, relaxing or reading a book. The views of historic Guadalajara from here are exceptional – surrounded by ancient churches, buildings and museums. It is a visual glimpse through layers of architectural history.
NOTE: please be aware that depending on the location of your room, you may find your experience quite noisy during the night. This is because there is a disco located next door that stays open until 5am. Bring earplugs. Everyone who has written to me about this hotel mentions the noise at night. During my stay, it was more of a thumping in the background – but my room was as far away as possible from the disco.
One person who recently emailed us, stayed in the hotel’s Pent House. She said it was beautiful, clean and fairly inexpensive. It includes 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 during lunch.
Phone Number: (3) 613-1190
Fax: (3) 658-2831
The bilingual web site is an excellent source of updated information including latest pricing, the hotel history and other particulars.
Room prices below are listed in (Mexican pesos) and are updated as of 2020. Visit their website for the most up to date pricing and avaialbility.