John Wayne: Everything to Know About the Cowboy Icon’s Hotel He Owned in Mexico

by John Jamison

Did you know that iconic Western star John Wayne was in the hospitality business? Well, he was for his friends at least. Duke and a number of his famous Hollywood colleagues bought a hotel in Acapulco, Mexico in 1954.

Hotel Los Flamingos was opened in the 1930s. It immediately became a vacation spot for stars and public figures, however. It’s situated high up on the cliffs and is a gorgeous place to getaway. That’s why when John Wayne and his “Hollywood Gang” decided to buy it in 1954. Because they loved it so much, the hotel was closed to the public so the actors could use it as a private retreat.

So it wasn’t Wayne investing in an operating hotel so much as he wanted it to use for himself. And we can’t really blame him. Just look at this sunset from the hotel’s cliffs.

(Photo by Janet Schwartz/MCT/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Can you imagine enjoying some margaritas and music to this scenery every night? Well, stars like Johnny Weissmuller, Fred MacMurray, and Cary Grant could, and that’s why they went in on the hotel with John Wayne.

You Can Still Visit John Wayne’s Old Hotel Today

The hotel itself boasts 46 modest rooms. All of them are perched on the cliffs of La Quebrada, however. Where visitors from all over come to watch the famed cliff divers test their will against dizzying drops into the sea.

And even though Wayne and his friends decided to sell the beautiful property in 1960, Hotel Los Flamingos is still in operation today and is not prohibitively expensive. For example, rooms are currently going under $50 a night. Granted, there is a pandemic going on, so travel isn’t exactly at a premium. But still, maybe a place to keep in mind for a future trip.

The coolest part is that, according to SFGATE, a busboy that John Wayne himself hired owns and operates the hotel with his wife. Adolfo and Bertha Santiago maintain a link to the hotel’s storied past. At the same time, the place is now accessible to ordinary people. It wouldn’t have been open to the public in the days of the “Hollywood Gang.”

John Wayne’s estate recently posted a photo of the legendary actor in Acapulco.

“Anyone else getting excited to travel again? Duke loved to travel all over the world and one of his favorite places to visit was Mexico. He’s pictured here in Acapulco in the late 1940’s, where he owned a hotel called Hotel Los Flamingos with his friend Johnny Weissmuller, who played Tarzan,” the caption read.