Prior to the 1960’s, Puerto Vallarta was a small port town with a mere 10,000 residents, until it caught the eye’s of Hollywood.
In 1964 director John Houston chose Puerto Vallarta as the location for his new film ‘Night of the Iguana’ staring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner. During filming Burton brought his then mistress and soon-to-be wife, Elizabeth Taylor, where by all accounts they fell in love.
On Elizabeth’s 34th birthday, Burton purchased a home in Puerto Vallarta for Taylor as a gift, known as Casa Kimberly (previously spelled as Casa Kimberley). He purchased the house across the lane for himself and connected the homes with a bridge so the two could easily be together without paparazzi eyes. Elizabeth visited the home often during the 60’s and 70’s, through her two marriages, and divorces, from Burton. According to the daughter of a housekeeper, Elizabeth stopped visiting the house after Burton’s sudden death in 1984 but had visited a couple of times after their final divorce.
Taylor sold the home in the early 90’s leaving everything inside, including clothes in the closet. She said the return to the home would be just too painful, according to friends. The new owners created a museum/B&B at the property with each room named after Taylor and Burton films.
Over the years Casa Kimberly (Casa Kimberley) was neglected and eventually the museum and B&B closed, leaving the house empty until local Hotelier, Janice Chatterton, who owns the nearby Hacienda San Angel hotel in another of Mr. Burton’s former homes, took on the home and renovation project.
On December 1, 2015, Casa Kimberly’s legacy was reopened boutique hotel, including the preservation of the original bridge connecting the two properties, as well as Taylor’s bedroom suite featuring a heart-shaped being reconstructed with today’s amenities, and a pink marble bathtub and a private pool and Jacuzzi on the wraparound terrace. Other rooms feature colonial-style four-poster beds and chandeliers, and shared amenities include a swimming pool, a two-treatment-room spa, an open-air restaurant and a sun terrace that overlooks the terra-cotta rooftops of town. In all the property has opened as a nine-room inn.
The original home of Elizabeth Taylor as it stood has been replaced by the new Casa Kimberly mimicking some of the original architecture but built as a functional boutique hotel, spa, and restaurant. Casa Kimberly, according to it’s website, is a tribute to the love shared between Taylor and Burton. Casa Kimberly may be a different place today, but its commitment to quality fit for Hollywood royalty can be seen in every detail.
More information at casakimberly.com
Edited on December 10, 2015 to further clarify that Casa Kimberly is a new construction paying tribute to the original home. Casa Kimberly, nor it’s staff or ownership contributed to this article or have misrepresented the new Casa Kimberly to the best of this publications knowledge.