Published on February 5th, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut
Hotels Where the Stars Slept in Acapulco
Sure, years may have passed since the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy graced the swimming pools along Acapulco’s beautiful bay. But Mexico’s first jet-set destination is regaining some of its retro-chic, thanks to the imminent re-opening of Boca Chica, a 1950s-vintage beachfront hotel re-imagined by the folks at Grupo Habita, the company responsible for making boutique chic a Mexican phenomenon. A member of the Design Hotels consortium, the relaunched property — which once welcomed Mexican actor Mauricio Garcés and Hollywood star Rita Hayworth — is one example the new breath of life coming to this classic beach destination.
Also in the works: the Banyan Tree Marques, a secluded, Asian-managed resort tucked into the hills, and a new 800-room luxury hotel planned for the Mundo Imperial event and entertainment complex, which is already attracting international pop singers to its stage in a Las Vegas-style flurry of publicity.
And it’s still possible to sleep where legendary stars once hung their hats. Here are some of the best choices:
• The Fairmont Pierre Marques: In 1958, oil magnate J. Paul Getty visited this undeveloped beachfront just outside the city limits and decided to build his own private paradise, which hosted the likes of John F. Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor and Aristotle Onassis. Today, that property is known as the Fairmont Pierre Marques.
• The Fairmont Acapulco Princess: Howard Hughes spent his last days alive in the top two floors at this expansive resort, before passing away during a flight to Houston.
• Las Brisas: Built in 1954, this luxurious hilltop getaway is dotted with the handprints of a never-ending flow of famous guests, including Brad Pitt, Liza Minelli and Ricardo Montalban, to name a few.
• Los Flamingos: This classic, simple property, built in the 1930s, was purchased in 1954 by a group called the Hollywood Gang — which included John Wayne, Johnny Weissmuller, Cary Grant, Fred McMurray, Erroll Flynn and Red Skelton. Today, it’s the most reasonably priced option for people who want to sleep where the stars once laid their heads.
• Quinta Real Acapulco: This attractive upscale property opened long after the initial boom in celebrity visits, but has hosted several of Mexico’s brightest musicians, including Luis Miguel and Vicente and Alejandro Fernández.
• Villa Vera Acapulco: This attractive property, set on 15 acres of hilltop gardens, was built in the 1950s as a private villa by a businessman from Nebraska. In the years following, the property welcomed an impressive array of guests. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower vacationed here while Elvis Presley used it as a setting for his film, “Fun in Acapulco.” Elizabeth Taylor married Mike Todd here, with Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher as attendants. Film star Hedy Lamar married Teddy Stauffer here, and Lana Turner lived at Villa Vera for three years. And Richard and Pat Nixon celebrated their 25th anniversary here.