Best budget value hotel in centro Oaxaca
I stayed here on two separate occasions in late January 2008. It gets a lot of good press as a top choice for budget travelers. I'd like to join the choir in its praise.
The rooms are basic, i.e., no TV, no telephone, no A/C. It had a floor fan for ventilation which kept me comfortable. The one thing that I liked about Hotel Principal was the very spacious room because of the high ceiling (11-12 ft). It had a writing desk and chair which was a big plus for me! It also had a closet and dresser drawers which allowed me to unpack my duffel bag. The mattress was firm and the shower had hot water all-day with good pressure.
The hotel is located on a street that is closed to traffic for most of the time so street noise isn't a problem. It's a quick and easy walk to the Zocalo (downtown center).
The Hotel Principal is located directly next to 4-star Hotel Casa Antigua (MXN$850) and 1/2 block south of the incredibly expensive 5-star Hotel Camino Real. Instead of paying the BIG BUCKS for these hotels, I paid MXN$295 for a single room and slept just as comfortably.
The hotel has no website. Their business card has an e-mail address, but my experience is that getting a response from any budget hotel in Mexico is slim-to-none. Your best bet is to call the hotel to make a reservation, but Spanish speaking skills are necessary. There is an attractive desk clerk who works during the day named "Fernanda" who speaks some English if you don't speak Spanish. For me, location, location, location, and a good rate are important. I could careless about having flowers, cable TV, wall painting, etc. in my room. It does, however, have character since it's located in a "colonial" style building. You really can't appreciate the Hotel Principal unless you've stayed or seen other similarly priced hotels in Oaxaca.
I normally don't stay in the same hotel more than once since I like to experience change. However, Hotel Principal is an exception. I've stayed here on repeated visits and will continue to do so.
The hotel does not serve breakfast or have a restaurant. This isn't important since there's a glut of nearby restaurants.