Overlooking the sparkling waters of Banderas Bay and the red clay-rooftops that dot the Sierra Madre Mountains, the setting is irresistible. Its little wonder that screen legends Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as famous for their passionate romance as for their award-lavished movies, chose the casitas that now comprise Casa Kimberly as their beloved home-away-from-home.
The luxurious nine-suite boutique hotel, with an open-air rooftop restaurant, tequila bar, pool and an intimate spa, was lovingly created from the quaint side-by-side houses once owned by the star-crossed couple. Casa Kimberly’s history begins in 1962, when Burton came to the sleepy fishing village of Puerto Vallarta to star in director John Huston’s classic The Night of the Iguana. Burton and Taylor had met a few years before, on the set of Cleopatra, and were in the whirl of a scandalous romance—she was still married to Eddie Fisher, he to Sybil Williams. But they couldn’t bear to be apart. Perhaps as an oblique nod to propriety, Burton arranged for Elizabeth (as she preferred to be called) to stay in Casa Kimberly, directly across the street from his own casita. He built a bridge connecting the two—as handy for avoiding the paparazzi as it was for escaping their spirited fights—and gave Casa Kimberly to Taylor for her 32nd birthday in 1964. The lovebirds, who married and divorced each other twice, never lost their affection for Puerto Vallarta.
Janice Chatterton, who also owns the acclaimed Hacienda San Angel just a few blocks away, spent years reimagining and renovating the properties. The pink marble heart-shaped tub commissioned by Liz, the lozenge-shape pool she and Burton both swam in, and the famous bridge known as the Puente del Amor have all been restored to their former glory. In addition, the new Casa Kimberly boasts nine regal suites, each individually designed and appointed with magnificent antiques, crystal chandeliers, hand-painted tiles, and exquisite state-of-the art baths. Spacious patios with Jacuzzis and plunge pools take in Puerto Vallarta’s exquisite views, a Spa offers a custom menu of pampering, and The Iguana , a first-class restaurant with a contemporary Mexican menu and an adjacent top-flight tequila bar, take in the soft sea breezes as they cater to epicurean tastes and thirsts.
The spirit of the couple whose love put Puerto Vallarta on the map also wafts through Casa Kimberly. The luxuriant lifestyle personified by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton has been recreated and tailored for our 21st century guests.