Liz Taylor's presence still felt

September 25, 1994

It doesn't belong to her any longer, but to everyone in Puerto Vallarta, Casa Kimberly is still Elizabeth Taylor's home.

It was here, 30 years ago, that the actress had a celebrated love affair with Richard Burton during the filming of "Night of the Iguana." Both were married to other people at the time. Later, after they married each other, the famous couple spent many happy vacations here, even building another home across the street and connecting it to the original with a pedestrian bridge.

Three years ago, Ms. Taylor sold the home to Carolyn Holstein, who has converted it into an eight-bedroom bed-and-breakfast. Ms. Holstein has given names to each of the rooms, all taken from movies that Ms. Taylor starred in.

When she sold the house, Ms. Taylor left all her furniture and many of her personal effects there. "She left all kinds of things here -- her sleep mask, pills, bath oil, shoes, bathing suits, sandals, a sword from 'Camelot,' report cards of her children -- it was surprising," said Ms. Holstein.

Burton bought the original house in 1962 for $65,000. After their marriage, he gave it to Ms. Taylor as a birthday present. In 1969, he bought the property across the street and built another house.

What surprises many visitors to Casa Kimberly is how homey it is. The ambience is casual, the furniture not outlandish. Indeed, on the large covered living room-patio that overlooks the town, Ms. Taylor had a dining set and shutters all painted black.

"We had them all stripped and redone to show the natural wood," said Ms. Holstein's daughter, Kathleen.

The house is on several levels; the topmost was Ms. Taylor's bedroom suite, which Ms. Holstein now occupies as her own. Ms. Holstein will rent this room, but only for a minimum of five nights. "I'm not moving out of there for less than that," she declared.

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