Design + Architecture

Hotels With A Past

by Cathay Che

Where: Tulum, Mexico
What it is: Beachside retreat on the Mayan Riviera
What it was: Party house of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar

The story: Pablo Escobar, one of the most ruthless criminals of all time, was not a nice man. But his digs on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula were pretty sweet. Just one of his many lairs, this 22,000-square-foot mansion and adjacent 15,000-square-foot guest house is where Escobar—whom Forbes once declared the seventh richest man in the world—threw parties that drew celebs, underworld figures, and the occasional government official. He abandoned the property before meeting his spectacular end at the hands of Colombian police in 1993, and it fell into disrepair. But it's located on what is now primo beachfront real estate, and in 1996 New Yorker Melissa Perlman—cofounder of Amansala, a yoga and eco-resort nearby—turned it into a luxury boutique hotel. The eight-room guest house opened last spring, decorated in bohemian-chic style with lots of throw pillows, mosaic tiles, and oversized tubs; the mansion is slated to open at the end of 2007. Perlman even brought in a shaman to do an energy clearing and blessing of the site.

Be sure to check out: The roof atop the mansion when it opens. Once used as a helipad for Escobar's quick escapes, it will instead be the site for Amanasala's yoga sessions.

Casa Magna
Tel: 529 841 000 717
Villas from $185 per night; entire house for $26,000 per week

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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