Fact vs Fiction: Hotel Cocaine episode 1 — What is The Mutiny Hotel?

Danny Pino as Roman in The Mutiny Hotel in Hotel Cocaine episode 1
Danny Pino, Hotel Cocaine (Image credit: MGM Plus)

In Hotel Cocaine episode 1, the infamous Mutiny Hotel takes center stage as its manager, Roman Compte (Danny Pino), wheels and deals with the interesting clientele of celebrities, socialites, drug dealers and even law enforcement. When one DEA agent in particular, Agent Zulio (Michael Chiklis), blackmails Roman into reuniting with his drug kingpin brother Nestor Cabal (Yul Vazquez) so Roman can serve as an informant in a case the federal government is building, things get very dramatic very quickly. However, is what was shown actually what happened?

Here’s what we found about Hotel Cocaine episode 1. 

What is The Mutiny Hotel?

In the 80s, The Mutiny Hotel, specifically the club, appears to be the hottest place in town Miami. It’s packed full of some of the who’s who of the celebrity world, and everyone present is itching to party. The drug of choice fueling the partying is cocaine, which people are using in the venue at will. Also in the club are some of the most dangerous drug suppliers in town.

As mentioned by The New York Post, The Mutiny Hotel "makes Studio 54 look tame." As a 130-room hotel and club, it once stood as a symbol of partying and illicit drugs, and many of the big names in the Miami underworld in the 80s visited. Additionally, celebs of the day were also attracted by the allure of the club. 

Roben Farzad goes into extensive detail about the hotel in his book, Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami. But for now, you can get an overview of his words in the following interview clip he did with CBS Miami. 

Author Of ‘Hotel Scarface’ Discusses How Wild The Mutiny Was In The 1980s - YouTube Author Of ‘Hotel Scarface’ Discusses How Wild The Mutiny Was In The 1980s - YouTube
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Who was Nestor Cabal?

Yul Vazquez and Danny Pino as Nestor and Roman after a shootout in Hotel Cocaine episode 1

Yul Vazquez and Danny Pino, Hotel Cocaine (Image credit: MGM Plus)

After being strongarmed to reconnect with his older brother by Agent Zulio, Roman asks his employee Janice (Laura Gordon) to cozy up to Nestor Cabal’s lieutenant to get his estranged brother's address. Just a few scenes later, Roman shows up at Nestor’s house unwanted. 

As it turns out, the brothers grew apart due to their differences in regard to Nestor’s line of work. When Nestor tries to figure out why Roman is there after years of not speaking, Roman claims to be in need of some money for his daughter’s college education. Roman states he’s willing to offer his intel at The Mutiny in exchange for the money. 

Things aren’t going to be that easy of course. Nestor makes Roman prove his loyalty by demanding his brother shoot a henchman who betrayed him with a group of Haitians who stole his drugs. Which Roman winds up doing. 

Sorry folks, Nestor Cabal appears to be a fictional character. As Hotel Cocaine showrunner Chris Brancato shared:

“The part that's fiction is that Roman Compte did not have an older brother who was Miami's biggest drug dealer and was not tasked by the DEA with catching said fictional older brother. But the whole backdrop of the show ... the setting ... is all real.”

You can stream episodes of Hotel Cocaine on MGM Plus. 

Terrell Smith

Terrell Smith has a diverse writing background having penned material for a wide array of clients including the federal government and Bravo television personalities.  When he’s not writing as Terrell, he’s writing under his pseudonym Tavion Scott, creating scripts for his audio drama podcasts. Terrell is a huge fan of great storytelling when it comes to television and film. Some of his favorite shows include The CrownWandaVision, Abbot Elementary and Godfather of HarlemAnd a fun fact is he's completely dialed into the TLC 90 Day Fiancé universe.