We don’t yet know when Netflix is going to release season 3 of its show Narcos, which tells the tale of cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, but if you’re looking to get a hit of the good stuff in the meantime, perhaps a stay in the real-life hideout of Pablo Escobar will tide you over. Casa Malca is a sleek new boutique hotel in the Mexican resort town of Tulum, and it actually once served as a ritzy hideout for Escobar, before it was abandoned and left to crumble.
Lio Malca, an art dealer from New York, rediscovered the property and immediately saw its potential value. He’s been working since 2012 to transform the mansion into a 24-room hotel, filled to the brim with contemporary art from the likes of Basquiat and KAWS, and decorated in a way to tie the bold pieces together.
Escobar was born in Colombia in 1949. He had a goal to earn $1 million Colombian by the time he was 22, and worked his way up from stealing cars and fake lotto tickets to working as a bodyguard and thief for notorious smugglers. Escobar noted that the drug trafficking trade was, in the mid-1970s, a mostly untapped market, and he quickly organized a massive operation that brought, at its peak, 70 to 80 tons of cocaine to the US each month. Pablo’s brother claimed that he even employed the use of submarines to sneak the drugs into the country. He started to gain political control as well. It wasn’t long before his cartel was spending $1,000 a week on rubber bands to hold their stacks of cash together, and rumor had it that they wrote off a full 10% of their annual profit had to be written off because it was eaten by rats who got into the warehouses where the cash was kept.
Of course, Escobar was a hero to some, as he worked to cultivate a Robin Hood-esque image, but there was no denying that his smuggling was dangerous; Colombia became the murder capital of the world. He surrendered to Colombian authorities after he ensured that he wouldn’t be extradited to the US, and built himself a private prison (called La Catedral) with a Jacuzzi, a bar, a waterfall, and a soccer field, where he could serve his time. But, old habits die hard, and he kept running his operation from prison. This prompted authorities to plan to move him to a more secure prison, so he made his escape. He spent 16 months on the run before dying in a shootout with authorities (sorry to spoil the inevitable end of Netflix show, guys.)
So, basically, what I’ve gathered is that you can stay in this new boutique hotel, which is almost as nice as prison… but only if we’re talking about the prison Pablo Escobar built for himself. On the serious, Casa Malca really does look like an incredible experience that offers something far beyond what most resorts can.