Inside the Real ‘Cocaine Hotel’

Catherine A. Jones
 | June 25, 2024

I still can’t believe what they say about the Mutiny Hotel. To me, and my neighbors here in Coconut Grove, it’s just one of the handful of hotels we recommend to anyone visiting the area. It’s a block away from the water, and just steps away from popular restaurants and cute shops. But, the stories are true.

The Mutiny Hotel was the most famous hangout for Miami’s infamous drug dealers of the 1970s and 80s. Even the real drug queen behind Sofia Vergara’s series Griselda was a regular at this quaint an unassuming Grove establishment. And now, my neighbors and I are reminded of the Mutiny’s ugly past with a new MGM+ series.

It’s true. The pretty hotel at the center of Miami’s oldest, and family-friendly neighborhood of Coconut Grove is actually the real “Cocaine Hotel.”

The Real Cocaine Hotel

“The adult playground of the Mutiny has been memorialized in several movies and television shows, including Scarface and the successful Netflix miniseries Griselda,” Blavity writes.

But, asmany travelers to the area know, the Mutiny hotel is very different now. The disco balls and drugs are long gone. It’s such a wholesome place, that I didn’t believe the Mutiny from all of the horrid stories of Miami’s drug past is actually that unassuming family hotel down the road. But it is.

Built in built in 1969 the mutiny was 130 room hotel with the legendary members only club that was so popular it was dubbed the studio 54 of miami at its peak it had over 11 000 card carrying members,” Miami’s Riley Smith Group explains.

According to the Riley Smith Group, the Mutiny was such a party hot spot, that it “sold more Dom Perignon than any venue in America.”

“ … and the hotel even had to convert one of their entire suites into a walk-in cooler

to house all the alcohol that was needed to service the clients,” the Riley Smith Group adds.

Once the city started to clean up its drug problems in the late 1980s, the Mutiney became a no-drug establishment. But it didn’t work. And the hotel was shut down. Around the late 1990s, the Mutiny finally reopened as the luxury hotel it is today.

Behind the MGM+ series

In the new MGM+ series, “Cocaine Hotel,”  the Mutiny’s story is once again at the center of a new drama inspired by Miami’s drug days. The show takes viewers right into the glitzy and dangerous world of the late ’70s and early ’80s Miami cocaine scene.

It stars Miami native, Cuban-American actor Danny Pino, who plays Roman Compte, a Cuban exile who fought against Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Fellow Cuban-American Actor Yul Vazquez takes on the lead role of Nestor Cabal, who navigates the treacherous waters of the cocaine underworld. With Michael Chiklis as Agent Zulio, Mark Feuerstein as Burton Greenberg, and Laura Gordon as Janice Nichols, the ensemble cast brings the era to life.

The Real Location 

Of course, what makes “Cocaine Hotel” even more captivating is the fact that the Mutiny Hotel truly existed. And it seems to be forever linked to its infamous past. As the series unfolds, viewers will see the hotel’s corridors, poolside cabanas, and elegant suites transformed into a stage for power struggles and illicit affairs. 

As the glamorous epicenter of Miami’s nightlife back then, the Mutiny Hotel hosted the city’s most influential figures, from celebrities to politicians. But behind the scenes, it was a hub for drug deals, power struggles, and danger.

But as Coconut Grove resident, who walks, jogs, and drives by the Mutiny all the time, I find it hard to believe the stories. It seems impossible. Then again, as the new MGM+ series reminds us, anything and everything was possible at Miami’s cocaine hotel.

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