At the peak of Colombia’s Medellin drug Cartel, Pablo Escobar and his crew were pulling in a staggering $70 million USD per day. Needless to say, the one-time drug kingpin — and accidental Netflix series star — was living rather well. Now, one of his former Mexican mansions has been converted into a boutique luxury hotel, and it’s every bit as awesome as it sounds.
Located in the beachfront tourist town of Tulum, Casa Malca is equal parts “contemporary art gallery” and “living history.” Upon entering the hotel, guests are greeted with tiki torches and swaying palm trees book-ending an ornate, one-of-a-kind wooden entryway. Inside, the 24 spacious rooms are individually designed with bold pops of color, ultra-modern materials and furnishings, and unique, contemporary artwork. Common amenities include a beautiful outdoor pool, a steam room, and a rooftop deck. The 360-degree views from the latter extend to the hotel’s private white sand beach in one direction, and to Tulum’s verdant green jungles in the other.
Escobar’s actual net worth is anyone’s guess. But, the so-called “King of Cocaine” was believed to be the wealthiest criminal ever, worth a staggering $30 billion (USD) by the 1990s. He boasted a dizzying portfolio of cars, homes, and toys throughout Colombia and beyond. After his dramatic death in 1993, his entire estate, including the Tulum mansion, went dark and fell into disrepair.
It wasn’t until prominent New York art dealer Lio Malca stumbled upon the abandoned property in 2012 that he realized it was a gem worth restoring. Now, in a town well-known for its heavy-handed brand of all-inclusive resort-style tourism, the property easily stands out. It’s the area’s only art-centric hotel and, toward that end, has been given the certified approval of Design Hotels. Malca also promises the property is eco-conscious with a distinct nod to its surroundings, noting that it, “honors Tulum’s precious resources and unparalleled offerings, from local fresh produce to artisan crafts.” Indeed, the on-site kitchen also promises an authentic menu of Yucatan-inspired cuisine via farm-to-table practices whenever possible.
Living like one of the world’s richest, most notorious criminals doesn’t come cheap, however. Rates start at £388 (approximately $500 USD) per night. But, how often can you brag that you spent last night at a billionaire drug kingpin’s house?
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