Getting to the Hotel Arcada

Games of the Bridge Studio are played at the Hotel Arcada shown in red in this map. The main street running through the map is called “Calzada de l’Estacion” and the road in yellow is the peripheral highway, MX111, known locally as the “Libramiento” or freeway. In this map Calzada de l’Estacion is the East-West street under the word “CONSTRULANDIA.” Any cab driver can take you to the Hotel Arcada (especially if you remind them that it is on Calzada de l’Estacion). Cab fare is 60 or 70 pesos, on the order of US$ 3.25 to $ 3.70 depending where and when the driver picks you up. Tipping is not expected. The game fee at both clubs is 100 pesos per session (about US$ 5.75 at current rates).

If you are fit you can also walk there (mostly downhill from the Parroquia), but it helps to understand the miracle of street names in San Miguel. A street — a single street  — can be named differently according to where you are on it. An example is the very East-West street containing the Hotel Arcada..This street, roughly a mile to the West of the center of town has the name “Calzada de l’Estacion.” Heading on it toward town center its name changes to “Calle Conde de Canal” or just plain “Canal” to the locals. until further uphill, the name changes to “Calle San Francisco.” That’s the (no doubt deeply conflicted) street you want if you want to walk to the bridge game.

Walkers only need to follow this procedure once, since thereafter you will know how to do it. Go to the Starbucks in the square across from the Parroquia (the immense church across from the central garden of San Miguel). Stand with your back to the corner of the Starbucks building and face the Parroquia. If you go to the right, that puts you on Canal. That’s the street you take, being sure to confirm that the street name soon changes to “Canal.” Walk that direction for a while, walking under one overpass, walk over a bridge, and its name will change to “Calzada de l’Estacion.” Eventually, as you keep walking, you will see a white hotel, Hotel Arcada, on the right side, just before the overpass that forms part of the “Libramiento,” the circumferential highway that keeps transiting traffic out of downtown San Miguel.

For visitors interested in the adventure of taking a local bus (8 pesos) to the bridge game, follow these directions to go to the dispatching point for the buses. Go to the corner of the Starbucks building, again facing the Parroquia. This time, go down the street labeled “Calle Hidalgo.” Go two blocks (downhill) until you come to “Insurgentes,” a busy street with much of the bus traffic on it. Turn right and walk uphill for two blocks or so until you come to a collection of buses loading people or sitting and waiting to load. Take any bus with the label B. AURRERA on its front windshield. You can also take #1 bus provided it doesn’t also list San Felipe as one of its destinations. Pay as you get on, but for extra assurance before paying ask the driver, “Calzada de l’Estacion?” B. AURRERA, the Bodega Aurrera, is a huge Costco-like bulk seller and if the driver lets you off there just look under the overpass to see the white hotel across the way. That is the Hotel Arcada, and once you cross the street (carefully) in two orthogonal directions you will be able to enter the hotel. The next time you go you’ll look out for the hotel and if you alert the driver he will stop just in front of the hotel, saving you the need to dodge the traffic. Don’t be put off if the bus meanders through some residential neighborhoods. It will eventually go where you want it to. Bus service is contracted out to private companies, and to raise as much revenue as possible they troll the streets of the residential neighborhoods on the way to their destinations.

When you get to the Arcada, there is either a ramp or 5 steps up to get into the hotel. If stairs give you trouble, the front desk or other bridge players will help you up the second flight of stairs to the game site.