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Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami
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Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  261 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
The wild, true story of the Mutiny, the hotel and club that embodied the decadence of Miami's cocaine cowboys heyday--and an inspiration for the blockbuster film, Scarface...
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by Berkley Books
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Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami- by Roben Farzad is a 2017 Berkley publication.

Miami Vice? Al Pacino’s Scarface? Miami in the 1980s, was all that and more. You'll have to keep reminding yourself that this is no work of fiction. While the entire country suffered an economic downturn, Miami was hustling and bustling, its economy bursting at the seams, solidifying its ‘sexiest’ city reputation- all thanks to that high priced, highly addictive, white powder
Cocaine's a hell of a drug. Hotel Scarface tells the story of the rise and fall of The Mutiny, one of the hottest places to be in the 70s and 80s when Cocaine trafficking & dealing became an economy of its own.

Naturally, it starts out with all of the excitement of obscene amounts of money falling into the hands of many Cuban exiles who had never experienced anything close to this kind of wealth before. There's money, drugs, celebrities, and eventually the violence increases and it's still
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: partner-read
Thanks to Berkley Pub for the copy in exchange for my honest review!

I'm a huge nonfiction fan. Especially if it's around true crime and drugs. It's always been intriguing to me how that whole lifestyle is/was - and HOTEL SCARFACE is about the 70's - 80's when everything was at it's peak. Drugs, sex, money, The Mutiny club, celebrities, cartels, Miami, and the Cocaine Cowboys.

Going into this, you should know that it is nonfiction and definitely more of a history on the topic and time period. This
Elaine -
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
First, I have to say I thought this book was going to be fiction. I had no idea that this was a true story account of the late 70's and early 80's in Coconut Grove Florida. I didn't understand before I started reading that The Mutiny was a real place and that the characters in the book were real people selling/doing drugs and living large during the early days of cocaine being imported into the US.

Way before Pablo Escobar stepped onto the seen in Miami there was a group of Cuban immigrants who i
Randal White
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Miami Vice - The True Story! What an excellent read! Hotel Scarface is the story of the "Mutiny Club", a hotel/club/restaurant in Miami. It's set in the 1980's, running up to the present day. The Mutiny Club was the nucleus of the 80's cocaine scene, and of the "Cocaine Cowboys". Think "Miami Vice", "Scarface", and the "Godfather". Then add in anti-Castro patriots, the Marielitos from Cuba, the Columbians (including Pablo Escobar), the Iran-Contra fiasco, Manuel Noriega, Janet Reno, and a whole ...more
I so so so wish this was a better book.

I love learning about Florida in the 1980s, and in fact the US in the 1980s, because frankly I'm amazed any of us survived. This book, about not just cocaine dealing in late 70s - early 80s Florida but more about Cuba's Mariel boatlift and its operation Pedro Pan, is fascinating in dealing with those details.

But... and I can't believe I'm saying this but: the movie was better than the book. Last I checked, Netflix has the documentary Cocaine Cowboys availab
Valerity (Val)
This book is about the story of the Mutiny in Coconut Grove, the exclusive club and hotel that much of the crazy decadence and violence of the cocaine cowboy times behind the movie SCARFACE (1983) sprung from that is so memorable. The actual place has so many stories and people that inhabited it that it needed its story told about all that was going on there. My mind is still spinning with all of the things that were happening there then and for a long time after the 70's when the boatloads of C ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Roben Farzad provides a snapshot of Miami in the late 70s and 1980s when cocaine ruled the city and gave rise to a diverse range of drug dealers, criminal lawyers, illicit bankers and rages to riches Cuban exiles. Farzad keeps his attention on the former luxury hotel the Mutiny which hosted the excess of the cocaine industry allowing dealers, their mistresses and hangers on to enjoy the spoils of the rampant drug industry.

While we meet a diverse cast of characters many are not developed enough
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I feel like I got a contact high reading this one. More to come.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a Goodreads win review. I really loved this book. It is about the 70's in Miami and the true story of the Mutiny Hotel and the cocaine days. Cocaine was king in those days and the hotel was full of Hollywood stars, rock stars, models and everything was wild and free. Three Cuban immigrants were the Kings of all this but as the bodies stacked up law enforcement took active notice of all this. This author did extensive research and interviews to write this book.
Guy Portman
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction

This is an account of the rise and fall of Hotel Mutiny; a Coconut Grove, Miami-based hotel and club founded in the 1970s. It became the haunt of rising cocaine drug lords, their entourages and lawyers, as well as undercover cops and celebrities. This exclusive boutique facility boasted sumptuous cuisine, exotic cocktails, beautiful hostesses and individually furnished rooms. Of the many uber wealthy criminals that frequented this hedonistic nightspot, none were richer and more flamboyant th
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This was a fantastic in depth look at Miami during it's "heyday" as the drug capital of the world.

It was crazy what those people were able to get away with.

I also enjoyed the history part of it, as well. The name dropping was off the charts. The Mutiny sounded like Studio 54 in New York City. We've all heard stories from there, but I've never really heard about The Mutiny and all this other stuff. Especially the plight of the Cuban exiles.

I can now add another subject to my trivia expertis
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked seeing Coconut Grove & Miami thru a different lens in this book. But the narrative didn’t keep my interest. Each chapter felt like a snippet of information... and there was no thread tying all the pieces together. This is as a collection of articles - and not a book, in my opinion.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you to and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me an advanced copy for my review.

Hotel Scarface is a well written novel chronicling the vast amount of characters during the Miami drug scene of the late 70s and 80s. Centered on the Mutiny Hotel, the author tells the stories of the rise and fall of many of the key players involved in the introduction and smuggling of cocaine. The facts, which include the lavished lifestyle of these criminals, are incredible and over the top.
Katie B
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

In the late 1970s and 1980s the cocaine industry in Miami was booming. Movie stars, models, athletes, and even politicians flocked to the Mutiny, a club and hotel, where they could party alongside the drug kingpins. This book follows the rise and fall of the drug trade in Miami along with the eventual demise of the once popular Mutiny.

I liked how this book revolved around the hotel and club but it also provided a good history on how the drug trade was started in Miami and was allowed t
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hotel Scarface was a fun and highly informative read. My history class never really got to the 1970s/ 1980s, and I certainly didn't know much (er, anything) about Miami. Farzad sets up the extravagant lives and actions of the cocaine cowboys with the backdrop of the Mutiny hotel and club. As the reader you're immersed in the deubachery, the big spending, the intrigue, the violence. Sprinkled in were little tidbits of how everything tied back to major world events like the Bay of Pigs invasion, t ...more
Ashley Hite
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cocaine cartels, girls, cash, guns, public shoot outs, police informants, and an appearance or two from Pablo Escobar himself, what else could you want? Roben Farzad's Hotel Scarface is a wild romp through the history of one of Miami's most notorious hotels, Mutiny. In the early 1980's Mutiny was the home and fantasy playground to the world's most infamous drug traffickers. Cocaine's popularity was on the rise and this misfit band of Cuban and Colombian refugees rode it all the way to the top ma ...more
Max Hamblin
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hotel scarface takes you through the crazy and lavish lives of those finding a home and place to party at the Mutiny Hotel during the crazy cocaine fueled 80's. The Mutiny Hotel was and still is a hotel based in Miami Florida but in the 80's it was more then an hotel. It was place for up and coming rockers to party and a place for cartel members to plot and plan their next move. Hotel scarface is book written about true events but as you read you sometimes are put in a mind state of disbelief on ...more
Erin Cataldi
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Holy hell was this an exciting and interesting book. True Crime doesn't get more "fun" than this. Hotel Scarface traces the origins of the Cocaine Cowboys in South Florida, their quick rise, the blizzard of users in Miami, and the amazingness of The Mutiny at Sailboat Bay. The Mutiny was where all the drug lords, smugglers, vixens, celebrities, and dirty cops hung out and my lord, to have been a fly on the wall there. The Mutiny was the hub in the early days of cocaine and even the movie, Scarfa ...more
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Living in Florida for a total of 12 years and visiting my sister, who lives in Miami. I’ve always wondered what it’s early day story was.
I was excited to read about its history in the late 70’s and 80’s. I knew Miami was the vibe for the rich and famous, just didn’t know how intergrated the rich and famous and the drug lords were.

Hotel Scarface was intriguing— the ins and outs of the world of drugs, and controlling the realm of greed and excess, the way the people who worked for the Drug Lords
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
The book opens up with a litany of celebrities who partied at and sometimes wrote about the Mutiny Hotel located in Miami’s Sailboat Bay. It shows how sex and drugs attract not only the rich and famous, but criminal activity, which brings in law enforcement. The book touches on political relationships with Cuba and the refugees who fled to Miami when Fidel Castro took control of the county. It also explores the various way drugs enter the country and how infighting allowed prosecutors to turn ca ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late November.

The hotel of the title is the Mutiny at Sailboat Bay: a place where kingpins and criminals could socialize, trade, have their demands serviced, have fun and seek pleasure with the liberally-tipped Mutiny Girls, and hire cohorts. Farzad's writing is really macho, in the moment, much like Elmore Leonard, Iceberg Slim or Anthony Bourdain, and the stories (i.e. about the hotel itself, raids, arrests, fights and sho
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-01-jan, 2018
Fascinating and historically significant, the Cocaine Cowboys of 1980's Miami ride again in this meticulously researched book. Meet billionaire kingpins with boatloads of blow and hookers on their arms, operating brazenly from Miami's Mutiny Hotel bar. Privileged and brash, their high-profile, conspicuous consumption partying, featuring speedboats, Rolls Royces, and cases of Dom Perignon, was all paid for in cash.

But the in-the-moment cocaine lifestyle does not lend itself to an effective long-t
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Cocaine was booming in Miami in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Everyone who was anyone went to the Mutiny Club and Hotel to party with the drug kingpins. Everything and anything went at the Mutiny. This book is so detailed you feel like you are right there. This book shows the rise and fall of the Drug Trade in Miami. It shows you what happened to bring down the so popular Mutiny. Hotel Scarface was very entertaining and a good read. I would recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in t ...more
Douglas Castagna
This book starts off and grabs you by the shirt and shakes you out of it. The chapters are quick and intense, and most of reads in an episodic fashion that can easily see as cable show. The book is a fascinating account of a dark time in Miami's history and our country. The drugs that flooded our shores forever changed the nation and these pages tell the tale of the players in this most deadly of endeavors. The characters who are real are painted as such, in a realistic, three dimensional manner ...more
Jessica Creason
Let me start off by saying that the premise of this book is really interesting, and I was very interested to read the author's stories. However, I just could not get into this book and the way it was written.

I always finish books. I NEVER DNF, and I tried so hard to get into this one. I just couldn't do it, and I knew I had a zillion other books waiting for me and couldn't spend any more time on it. So, I had to put it down. Maybe I will pick it back up when I have more free time and a smaller
Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad. This nonfiction account of 1970’s-1990’s Miami begins with action. The book continues, highlighting certain characters of the time and tells everything honestly and boldly. I became overwhelmed with the money, drugs, violence and human degradation as I continued to read. It’s difficult to comprehend that this is reality and people’s lives. The notes at the end of the book state ...more
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An extravagant Miami hotel filled with handsome men, gorgeous women, stacks of cash, piles of drugs and bathtubs full of Dom...wait, THIS IS NON-FICTION, PEOPLE. In glorious detail, Roben tells the story of the Hotel Mutiny, the longtime crossroads of the US cocaine trade and inspiration for the movie Scarface. He follows dozens of different characters through the '70s and '80s (all with crazy nicknames, which makes it kind of hard to keep track). Through anecdote after insane anecdote, he bring ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story of Miami's "cocaine cowboys" deeply interweaves current events well known to Generation x, including the legacy of the "Iran-Contra" hearings and the trial of Manuel Noriega. However it stretches before that, into the cold war, and continues into the 21st century, with one of the current defendants having been released from prison in January 2018.

I recommend reading rather than listening to the book, as I did on a long road trip. It's hard to keep the characters straight.

Well written a
Scott Wilson
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the Very Best Books of it's Kind

If you're a fan of Brian De Palma's 'Scarface' remake and Billy Corben's 'Cocaine Cowboys' documentaries, do yourself a HUGE favor and read Roben Farzad's book 'Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami.' It's a truly INSANE read. Every single character in this book could be the subject of his very own film or Netflix series. To conveniently put it in the "true crime" category simply doesn't do it justice.
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