An escape to Mexico can take many different shapes. Of course, you may think of a criminal absconding across the border never to be heard from again, but you don’t have to be a wanted man (or woman) to want a little escape. In the spirit of luxury, relaxation, and culture, hotelier Lio Malca has created the perfect setting for a short-term escape. Casa Malca is located just off the beach in Tulum and features 35 luxury rooms, decorated with hand-chosen art, as well as top notch cuisine and atmosphere. Most interestingly, before it was a hotel destination, this property was owned by notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.
As you might expect, it was not exactly a simple task to buy the home of former Narco, a feared and revered figure in Mexico and around the world.
To make this beautiful home his own (and it was simply his vacation home at first), Malca had to jump through a number of hoops just to find out who owned the property since it had been seized.
Once he was able to make the deal, the dreamy villa began to take place, starting with just 9 rooms for Malca and his friends.
Because of his connection to the art world, the art of the villa is incredibly important.
Throughout the space, visitors will see works from Keith Haring, Basquiat, and KAWS.
Of course, the artwork has a beautiful backdrop with each room in the hotel designed and furnished in bright colors and carefully chosen natural materials.
It is easy to see the artistic influence in the space, with colorful cartoon dining chairs and large pieces of artwork on the wall.
Contrasted with the natural wood, the colorful designs pop that much more.
Though the hotel is not an all-inclusive resort, it would be easy to spend all your meals here.
The Haring-inspired bar is breathtaking and features signature mezcal cocktails, the perfect refreshment after a day at the beach.
Fresh ingredients from surrounding areas make for delicious seasonal menu.
Of course, no one wants to visit Mexico without the opportunity to get their fill of tacos.
The guest rooms start at $450 per night, which is a small price to pay for such luxury.
It was the popularity of the beach home with Malca’s friends that led him to expand the space to 35 rooms from the original 9, still keeping the addition to the original design.
The relatively small size means the hotel never feels crowded, even if every room is booked.
Unique color schemes make every room its own special retreat.
Sliding doors out onto the beach are one of the many attractions of the location, complete with white sand and emerald Caribbean waters.
The artwork that hangs in the hotel is chosen of course for its beauty but also for how it will hold up to the hot, humid weather of a Mexican beach.
The hotel is the only art focused hotel in the popular Tulum area.
Despite the luxurious interior, the exterior of the villa is just as important and gorgeous.
Colorful hammocks along the beach make for a perfect way to relax near the water while staying relatively sand-free.
Under the shade of a handcrafted wood roof, a late afternoon nap feels that much more luxurious.
Spending a moment lazily swinging would be sure to pull out any last inkling of stress.
Most of the rooms are only about 20 steps from the water, but creative exterior views do not only include the lapping of waves against the shore.
This cut wood wall is just one more way that the space incorporates natural material for that earthy, relaxing experience.
For a romantic dinner, guests can sit alone under a beautiful canopy and relive their most lovely memories.
Outdoor lighting is dim and glowy, giving just enough shimmer to see a companion’s face.
During the day, glowing lights become decor.
The patterns within the construction are beautiful but imperfect, capturing the essence of a beach life.
Drift off under a cabana and wake only to pop inside for another cocktail.
Tulum itself is nestled between the beach and the jungle, making for spectacular weather and lush greenery.
The intimate hotel may not be entirely private, but it is easy to ignore anyone but your favorite traveling companion, even if that’s just a good book.
If you get up early enough, you can watch the sun peek out over the endless horizon.
And a private indoor pool can satiate your need for water when it’s too hot — or too cold — to swim outside.
Most of us may never get to experience such luxury, but those that do will be in good company. Pablo Escobar may have done many objectionable things, but he knew how to live.