Looking around Acapulco, Mexico, today, it’s hard to believe that there was a time when it was considered the most exclusive destination for Hollywood stars on the planet. In its prime, the city was the place star-struck tourists dreamed of, a place where you could hope to see John Wayne, Elvis, or Elizabeth Taylor taking a stroll through one of the expensive hotels. But those days have passed, and in more recent memory, over one hundred cruise ships have stricken Acapulco from their itineraries, leaving the city with a fraction of the tourist market it once held. However, this serenity and exclusivity may have turned the Las Brisas neighborhood into a short drive up the Carretera Escénica outside of the Acapulco city center into one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world, a weekend getaway for luxury livers from Mexico City and abroad.
The term “Las Brisas” actually refers to several neighborhoods outside of Acapulco, all of which are filled with luxury homes. However, the amount of luxury varies from area to area, which is why there are homes in Joyas de Brisamar and Brisas Guitarrón which can be picked up for less than a million dollars. Although the Las Brisas neighborhood itself is the only gated community, plenty of deterrents keep many people from entering. You can not walk to Las Brisas. The only road in or out features blind curves, with no room for pedestrians. There are checkpoints at the end of the winding road where security guards take your identification to restrict non-resident movement.
If you make your way through, you enter a wonderland of homes that feel more like the different sections of Disneyland. There are castles and spaceships, and you constantly remind yourself that someone lives here. During the filming of Rambo, Sylvester Stallone lived in the house pictured below, which a clothing designer now owns.
If you’re looking for an experience that’s more spiritual and less capitalistic, the gated community also features La Capilla de la Paz, the largest non-denominational church in Acapulco. You’ll know which one it is. It’s the one with the 130-foot-tall cross. You can’t miss it.
In what has to be my favorite story of excess, this is a house with a water slide inside it. Like Uncle Scrooge diving into his money bin, the owner of this house can wake up in his bedroom, put on his swim trunks, and waterslide down into a pool in his living room. (Personally, as we know from my ziplining experience, I’m anti-waterslide, but I respect its spirit.) Local rumors say that the pool below had to be built three different times before they were to his liking. It’s great to work for the construction crews, but you’d think he could have said something a little sooner.
When I report on these homes, I speak out of jealousy because who wouldn’t want to live in a mansion set on a cliffside looking out into the Golden Zone? We all have Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous fantasies. That’s why that show existed. These guys get to live them, and they prove that being exclusive doesn’t mean being isolated. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be setting up a slip-and-slide and wading pool in my apartment hallways.