Villa Arabesque

A Luxury Getaway in Acapulco

Villa Arabesque: A Luxury Getaway in Acapulco, Mexico

Welcome to the enchanting world of Villa Arabesque, a breathtaking luxury villa nestled in the idyllic coastal city of Acapulco, Mexico. Known for its timeless beauty and cinematic history, this exquisite property has captivated the hearts of visitors and movie enthusiasts alike. From its starring role as the lavish residence of drug dealer Franz Sanchez in the iconic James Bond film “Licence to Kill” to its legendary parties attended by celebrities such as Roger Moore and Sylvester Stallone, Villa Arabesque is a testament to elegance and opulence.

In this article, we will take you on a journey through the captivating allure of Villa Arabesque. Discover the intricate details of its architecture, explore its opulent features, and learn about the historical significance that adds depth to its legacy. From the moment you step foot into the villa’s fairytale-like surroundings, you will be transported to a realm of luxury and indulgence, where dreams become reality.

Key Takeaways:

  • Villa Arabesque is a luxury villa located in Acapulco, Mexico, renowned for its starring role in the James Bond film “Licence to Kill.
  • The villa was built between 1978 and 1982 for Baron Enrico “Ricky” di Portanova and designed by architect Aurelio Munoz Castillo.
  • Villa Arabesque features 28 rooms, including a master bedroom that occupies an entire floor, themed guestrooms, a discothèque, a grill, and magnificent swimming pools.
  • The villa’s rich history includes hosting legendary parties attended by notable figures such as Roger Moore and Sylvester Stallone.
  • Villa Arabesque is currently undergoing renovations and is available for sale through Luxury Real Estate, offering an exclusive opportunity for luxury living in Acapulco.

Villa Arabesque: The Iconic Film Location of James Bond’s “Licence to Kill”

Villa Arabesque, situated in the picturesque city of Acapulco, Mexico, is not just an ordinary luxury villa—it holds a special place in cinematic history. This stunning property served as a key film location in the iconic James Bond film, “Licence to Kill” (1989). In the movie, Villa Arabesque takes on a dual role, functioning as the extravagant residence of the notorious drug dealer Franz Sanchez, portrayed by Robert Davi. Let’s delve into the enchanting details of this exquisite villa that left an indelible mark on the silver screen.

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Villa Arabesque: A Luxury Getaway in Acapulco, Mexico
Villa Arabesque: A Luxury Getaway in Acapulco, Mexico

A Fairytale-Like Experience in Villa Arabesque’s Majestic Bedroom

During the film, James Bond, played by the charismatic Timothy Dalton, gains the trust of Sanchez and becomes a guest at Villa Arabesque. Following an explosive incident, Bond awakens in a grandiose and fairytale-like bedroom—one of the many awe-inspiring rooms within the villa. Under the cover of darkness, Bond embarks on a clandestine mission to frame Milton Krest, one of Sanchez’s henchmen. Skillfully maneuvering his way, Bond returns to his bedroom just in the nick of time, ensuring he remains undetected by Sanchez. In a thrilling climax, Bond and Sanchez depart from the villa via a helicopter perched on its rooftop.


A Memorable Finale: Villa Arabesque’s Party Scene

Villa Arabesque makes a final appearance in the movie during the captivating party scene. Bond, accompanied by Q, Lupe, and Pam Bouvier, revels in the luxurious atmosphere of the villa as the story reaches its climax. The villa’s elegance and splendor provide a fitting backdrop for this unforgettable sequence.


The Birth of Villa Arabesque: From Baron Enrico di Portanova to the Silver Screen

The construction of Villa Arabesque took place between 1978 and 1982 under the vision of Baron Enrico “Ricky” di Portanova, a flamboyant member of the jet-set. Designed by the renowned architect Aurelio Munoz Castillo, the villa seamlessly blends modern architectural elements with captivating ocean-inspired motifs such as seashells and fish. The result is a contemporary fairytale residence that captivates the imagination.

Baron Enrico di Portanova
Baron Enrico di Portanova

A Token of Appreciation: The End Credits’ Tribute to Baron Enrico di Portanova

In a testament to the villa’s significance in the movie, the end credits of “Licence to Kill” express gratitude to Baron Enrico di Portanova for his cooperation during the filming process. The collaboration between the villa’s owner and the filmmakers exemplifies the harmony between art and reality.

Indulge in Luxury: Villa Arabesque’s Unparalleled Features

Spanning over 40,000 square feet, Villa Arabesque stands as an epitome of opulence. Boasting a staggering 28 rooms, including a master bedroom that occupies an entire floor, this property offers an unparalleled experience for its fortunate guests. Adjacent buildings house nine guestrooms, each showcasing unique thematic designs to cater to diverse tastes.

Villa Arabesque
Villa Arabesque

The villa encompasses a host of exclusive amenities, such as the renowned Poséidon discothèque, capable of accommodating up to 200 guests. Additionally, the Poséidon Grill provides an exquisite dining experience for 60 patrons. The Camel Walk, Villa Arabesque’s expansive rooftop terrace, serves as a key location featured in the film, serving as the departure point for the helicopter.

The villa further boasts a tower dedicated to security, three magnificent swimming pools, a tennis court, and a private beach—a true paradise for those seeking luxury and tranquility. It’s worth mentioning that Villa Arabesque once featured a charming funicular railway, allowing easy transportation from the beach to the villa. While currently out of order, the remnants of this unique feature can still be admired in the film.

A Glamorous Past: Villa Arabesque’s Reign as a Party Haven

During the vibrant 1980s, Villa Arabesque cemented its status as a favored party destination. Its former owners, Baroness Alessandra and Baron Enrico di Portanova, hosted legendary soirées that attracted a constellation of celebrities. The guest list of their extravagant gatherings included luminaries such as Roger Moore, Sylvester Stallone, Plácido Domingo, and Henry and Nancy Kissinger. These glamorous parties became the stuff of legends, reflecting the villa’s allure and the di Portanovas’ vibrant social life.

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Past to Present: Villa Arabesque’s Renovation and Current Status

In 2004, following a meticulous renovation, Villa Arabesque was put up for sale by Greg Hovas, who inherited the property from his late sister and brother-in-law, Baroness Alessandra and Baron Enrico di Portanova. The asking price for this extraordinary estate was set at a remarkable $29 million. However, the passage of time and natural wear and tear have taken a toll on the villa, necessitating another round of renovations. Currently, Villa Arabesque is being rejuvenated to restore its former glory and is available for purchase through Luxury Real Estate.

Explore the timeless charm and cinematic legacy of Villa Arabesque, where dreams come to life amidst a tapestry of luxury and breathtaking beauty.

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Frequently Asked Questions :

1. What makes Villa Arabesque a popular film location?

Villa Arabesque’s popularity as a film location can be attributed to its captivating blend of modern fairytale architecture and ocean-inspired elements. The villa’s grandeur and elegance provide a visually stunning backdrop for cinematic productions. Its unique features, such as the expansive master bedroom and the rooftop terrace, have left an indelible mark in the minds of moviegoers. The seamless integration of luxury and natural beauty at Villa Arabesque creates an enchanting setting that captivates both filmmakers and audiences alike.

2. Can visitors stay at Villa Arabesque?

Yes, visitors have the opportunity to experience the splendor of Villa Arabesque firsthand. The villa, renowned for its opulent accommodations, offers a luxurious retreat for discerning guests. With a variety of beautifully designed guestrooms, each with its own unique theme, visitors can immerse themselves in the enchanting atmosphere that Villa Arabesque provides. From the majestic master bedroom to the thematic guestrooms, every corner of the villa exudes an air of elegance and sophistication.

3. Is the Poséidon discothèque still operational?

While the Poséidon discothèque once thrived as a vibrant hub of entertainment within Villa Arabesque, its current operational status may vary. The villa’s ownership and management determine whether the discothèque is open for guests. To ensure an unforgettable experience, it is advisable to contact the villa directly or consult their official website for the most up-to-date information regarding the availability and operation of the Poséidon discothèque.

4. Are there any recreational facilities at Villa Arabesque?

Villa Arabesque offers an array of recreational facilities to enhance guests’ enjoyment during their stay. The villa boasts three stunning swimming pools, perfect for a refreshing dip or lounging in the Mexican sun. For those seeking a more active experience, a tennis court is available to indulge in friendly matches. Additionally, Villa Arabesque’s private beach provides a secluded and picturesque setting for guests to unwind and bask in the beauty of Acapulco’s coastline. Whether guests prefer relaxation or recreation, Villa Arabesque offers a range of amenities to cater to diverse preferences.

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5. Can the funicular railway be used for transportation?

Unfortunately, the funicular railway at Villa Arabesque is currently out of order. While it once provided a unique mode of transportation from the beach to the villa, maintenance issues have rendered it non-functional. However, guests can still admire the remnants of this charming feature, as it played a significant role in the James Bond film, “Licence to Kill.” Despite the funicular railway’s current state, Villa Arabesque continues to provide alternative transportation options and ensures guests’ convenience and comfort during their stay.

6. What is the historical significance of Villa Arabesque?

Villa Arabesque carries a rich historical legacy, having been built between 1978 and 1982 for Baron Enrico “Ricky” di Portanova. The villa epitomizes the opulent lifestyle of its former owners, Baroness Alessandra and Baron Enrico di Portanova, who were renowned for their extravagant parties. Villa Arabesque’s illustrious guest list included distinguished figures such as Roger Moore, Sylvester Stallone, Plácido Domingo, and Henry and Nancy Kissinger. These gatherings epitomized the villa’s status as a social hotspot during the vibrant 1980s and added to its allure and mystique.

7. How can one acquire Villa Arabesque?

Villa Arabesque is currently listed for sale through Luxury Real Estate, providing an exclusive opportunity for those seeking to own a piece of paradise in Acapulco. Prospective buyers can explore the details and contact the appropriate channels to inquire about purchasing this exceptional property. As Villa Arabesque has undergone renovations, potential owners can contribute to the restoration and preservation of its architectural grandeur while indulging in a luxurious lifestyle inspired by its captivating charm.

8. Is Villa Arabesque in a good condition?

While Villa Arabesque’s current condition may not be at its prime, ongoing renovations are underway to restore the villa to its former glory. The passage of time and natural wear and tear have necessitated these restoration efforts, ensuring that the property retains its enchanting appeal. The dedication to preserving and rejuvenating Villa Arabesque highlights the commitment to maintaining its status as a timeless symbol of luxury and beauty in Acapulco.

9. Are there any other famous movies filmed at Villa Arabesque?

While Villa Arabesque gained significant recognition as a prominent film location in “Licence to Kill,” its cinematic contributions extend beyond James Bond’s adventures. Unfortunately, due to the limitations of this FAQ, we cannot provide an exhaustive list of every film that featured the villa. However, it is worth noting that Villa Arabesque’s architectural splendor and picturesque surroundings have attracted filmmakers seeking to capture its unique ambiance, making it a sought-after location for various cinematic productions.

10. Can events and private functions be hosted at Villa Arabesque?

Villa Arabesque presents an idyllic venue for hosting unforgettable events and private functions. Its spacious layout, including the stunning Poséidon Grill and the Camel Walk rooftop terrace, offers ample space for gatherings of different scales. Whether it’s an intimate dinner party or a grand celebration, the villa’s enchanting atmosphere and luxurious amenities provide an exquisite backdrop for creating lasting memories. To inquire about hosting events at Villa Arabesque, it is recommended to contact the villa’s management for personalized assistance and further details.


Villa Arabesque stands as a testament to timeless beauty and extravagant living. Its role in the world of cinema, hosting illustrious celebrities, and its architectural splendor have solidified its place as an icon in Acapulco, Mexico. From the grandeur of its master bedroom to the allure of its thematic guestrooms, every corner of Villa Arabesque exudes an air of luxury and enchantment.

While the villa has experienced the passage of time, ongoing renovations aim to restore it to its former glory, ensuring that future owners can revel in the legacy of this extraordinary property. Whether you seek a luxurious retreat or a setting for unforgettable events, Villa Arabesque offers a haven of indulgence and beauty.

Immerse yourself in the magic of Villa Arabesque, where dreams come alive amidst the splendor of Acapulco’s picturesque coastline. Experience the allure of this cinematic masterpiece and create your own unforgettable moments in the lap of luxury.

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