The Mutiny: Sex, drugs and a monkey with a Rolex

By Pablo Burgués

In the 1960s, Miami was a glorified retirement home where the wildest thing you could do was to participate in an illegal electric wheelchair race. However, the end of the 1970’s saw everything change, and this sunny haven of peace became one of the bloodiest and most violent cities in the USA.

What the hell happened? Well, a handful of drug traffickers from Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia came to the city with the “noble” aim of gaining control of the drug trafficking route in the southern United States. These people mostly let their guns do the talking, and pretty soon Miami became the city with the most homicides in the whole country. The coming and going of corpses became so extreme that the county morgue, having more dead bodies than they could handle, had to rent a refrigeration truck from Burger King. Grilled tastes better !!!

In the middle of this bloodbath was a paradisiacal place where peace and friendship reigned called The Mutiny. This hotel, halfway between The Playboy Mansion and Studio 54, was described by its owner, Burton Goldberg as “the place where anything could happen”… and, oh boy, did those thingthings happen!

Located in the Coconut Grove neighbourhood (South Beach), the place had 130 thematic rooms, with each one more and more extravagant, and it was the place to stay for the biggest and naughtiest stars on the planet: Paul Newman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Led Zeppelin, Don Johnson, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and of course the original latin lover himself: Don Julio Iglesias.

Big as all these dudes and dudesses were, the guys who really ruled The Mutiny were the drug traffickers, who had by now turned the hotel into their personal operations centre. Through this Nar- Coworking passed some authentic legends of the chang such as El Perro, Super Papi, El Raspao and Mr Pablo Escobar himself. Although without a doubt the most ‘chingón’ of all was Mario Tabraeu.
It is said that this lovely human paid $25,000 to fill the bathtub in his room with Dom Perignon, and that he walked around with a chimpanzee who wore some gangster gold chains and a Rolex. It is rumoured that Tony Montana, the character played by Al Pacino in the film Scarface, is inspired on him (Mario Tabraeu, not the monkey).

For years The Mutiny’s installations were in international waters, a kind of free trade zone where the jet-set, the police and the narcos shared a table and happily did business. However, the bad guys begat more bad guys, and pretty soon it became a haven of hired assassins. The hotel stopped being cool and started to become very scary indeed and soon many of the hotel’s clients stopped going.

In 1981 a certain Miguel Miranda, a Santeria drug trafficker who used to drink the blood of slaughtered animals, murdered one of the hotel’s waitresses. Her body appeared days later in Key West, wrapped in one of The Mutiny’s bedsheets. This murder was the final blow for a business that was already in decline, and it finally closed its doors in 1984.

In the mid 1990’s the hotel was reopened by an important luxury hotel chain. It is still open today, but now there is no trace left of its decadent past and the wildest thing you could do on its grounds is snort a ginger detox juice.

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