For our 3-day stay in Puerto Vallarta, I chose a hotel that has been on my bucket list ever since it opened 3 years ago, Casa Kimberly. Casa Kimberly is the former residence of actress Elizabeth Taylor and actor Richard Burton. He actually bought the house across the street first when he fell in love with PV while filming The Night of the Iguana with Ava Gardner. He and Elizabeth were having a very scandalous affair at the same time after meeting on the set of Cleopatra, so he bought her the house across the street from his and built a bridge between the two houses so they could avoid the paparazzi. The original bridge is still there and is locally called the “Puente del Amor” or Bridge of Love. We watched so many couples getting their photo taken on this bridge and our room’s terrace overlooked it. The hotel itself consists of both houses and there are private rooms and suites on both sides. On the “Richard” side of the bridge, there is also the hotel’s main pool and sun deck. The “Liz” side where we stayed had the restaurant and the larger private suites.
The hotel is located in the hills of the Zona Romantica but is still only a 5-7 minute walk to the Malecon boardwalk and main beach area. It’s on a quiet cobblestone street known as “Gringo Gulch” because lots of expats lived in this area. You enter by ringing the old bell and entering the stone archway where you’re greeted by a statue of Liz and Richard Burton. Then you walk up the tiled steps to the original living room area, which is now the reception area for the hotel.
The hotel has only 9 rooms and most of them are suites with large terraces and views. I splurged and booked the Elizabeth Taylor Suite, which was her original master bedroom and located in the old part of the house. I was not disappointed!!! As we walked up the steps towards the restaurant and our room, they had a wonderful large format painting of Dame Elizabeth and a gorgeous courtyard with fountain and memorabilia movie posters. The restaurant area was originally their main living room, game room, bar and kitchen area of the old house. The hotel kept the original architecture of this area, including the large portals with expansive views of the old town and the original tile work.
We then headed into our suite where we were blown away! The Liz Taylor Suite is the largest suite on the property and it features a huge terrace with private plunge pool, jacuzzi and sun deck. The bedroom was floor to ceiling windows with the most incredible views of the mountains and the ocean. The painted cupola with chandelier was so beautiful and romantic. I think my jaw hit the floor when we walked into this room and view. The room was also decorated with antique furniture but had all modern amenities, including A/C.
Now, onto one of my favorite features of our room – the bathroom. That probably sounds silly to be excited about the bathroom but this one features Elizabeth Taylor’s original pink “heart-shaped” marble bathtub that Richard Burton had commissioned for her. Apparently there was a little problem with the tub, though. Richard’s Spanish speaking skills were not the best so he wasn’t very happy when the tub arrived not looking like a stylized “Valentine shaped” heart like he expected, but was rather in the shape of a pink blob – an anatomical heart. At that point, he gave up due to the cost and they kept it and it became a joke of theirs. When the home was sold and turned into a hotel, the new owner was insistent that this tub be kept completely as-is. And yes, I took a bath in it. But seriously, look at this bathroom, too. It was as large as the bedroom and just as opulent.
And my other favorite part of our room? Our huge outdoor terrace and view. Each day we came back up the hill and cooled off in our amazing plunge pool and soaked up the afternoon sun. This is definitely one of the most romantic hotels that I have stayed in and Steve said it’s in his top 3 favorite hotel rooms ever. It’s easy to see why. The terrace was also part of Liz Taylor’s original bedroom but back in that time, she did not have a plunge pool on it. The terrace was instead set up as a garden area with lots of tropical plants and a sundeck and the plunge pool was added as part of the remodel for the hotel.
Our stay also included a free continental breakfast each morning with coffee, tea, fresh fruit, yogurt and pastries. We also usually ordered one egg dish a la carte and shared it. We ate at the hotel’s on-site restaurant, The Iguana, which I also highly recommend. It’s more upscale and has a dress code but we still didn’t find it to be overly expensive. The hotel also offers room service lunch and drinks for hotel guests only (dinner and brunch are open to the public but the hotel is otherwise closed to non-hotel guests during the day so it was very private). We ordered a few margaritas and Corona Lights to our room in the late afternoon while we got ready for dinner and enjoyed the sunset views.
This room was a bit of a splurge but actually was less than I have paid for much smaller rooms with less amenities in Europe and large cities. Puerto Vallarta is very affordable overall. The hotel also offers several other slightly smaller suites with views, large terraces and jacuzzi tubs on the balconies as well. We were more than pleased with our hotel and I loved the movie star connection and the Taylor-Burton love story made this hotel even more romantic. I would book this hotel again in a heartbeat but now I am spoiled by this suite!!