The Mutiny Hotel: Miami’s Drug-Fueled, Real-Life “Paradise Lost”

Everyone knows about the Mutiny Hotel. Even if they don’t know the name, they can picture it. In the 1970s and ‘80s, the Mutiny was the real-life version of everything that Scarface made iconic—everything as far as the eye could see exuded excess, and each of the Mutiny’s regulars took that excess to a new, unfathomable level. 100-dollar bills were mere paper to the Mutiny’s patrons. They were consumables, just like the bottles of Dom that guests treated like water, or the piles of cocaine that came and went in an instant.

SCARFACE, 1984

Véhicule Magazine: SCARFACE, 1984

The hotel’s guest list read like an FBI most wanted poster. On any given night, you were bound to find a drug kingpin in any of the Mutiny’s 138 rooms. The rooms that weren’t occupied by drug lords housed an unlikely mix of sports stars, celebrities, fugitives, spies and undercover agents. These temporary neighbors all rubbed elbows at the hotel’s members-only Mutiny Club, where for $75, these walks of life collided. That membership card, a gold-colored, embossed credit card-like badge of honor prominently featured the club’s signature winking pirate logo. Like any club, the Mutiny had its regulars. Everyone came to recognize one another—if you were good enough, you could even tell who was a dealer and who was an agent.

COKED-OUT MICHAEL BORKIN AND CHARLES PFEIFFER SNAGGED BY COPS AFTER LIGHTING BILLS IN A HOT TUB, SETTING OFF THE FIRE ALARM AND SCALING DOWN SPIDERMAN-STYLE FROM TERRACE TO TERRACE. ONLY IN MIAMI .

Véhicule Magazine: COKED-OUT MICHAEL BORKIN AND CHARLES PFEIFFER SNAGGED BY COPS AFTER LIGHTING BILLS IN A HOT TUB, SETTING OFF THE FIRE ALARM AND SCALING DOWN SPIDERMAN-STYLE FROM TERRACE TO TERRACE. ONLY IN MIAMI. 

Among those in the know were Miami’s local legends. Don Aronow, Ben Kramer, George Morales, Randy Lanier and their associates, to name a few—all who had earned godlike status within the powerboat world and had created various enterprises to keep their pursuits afloat. Whether they wanted girls by the dozen, a place to casually conduct multimillion-dollar drug deals or a private jet for a quick getaway, the Mutiny provided. The Mutiny exemplified the “Paradise Lost” that Miami came to be known as. The hotel, the club and the guests all walked the thin line between excess and ruin with reckless abandon, not seeming to care about which side they ended up on.

MUTINY MEMBERSHIP CARDSVéhicule Magazine: MUTINY MEMBERSHIP CARDS

Read more about the Miami's powerboat scene in Véhicule 2020.

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