You Can Now Rent Out Betsey Johnson's Mexican Villa — & It Gives Us Major Nostalgia Vibes

Betsey Johnson reinvents herself once every few years — a testament to the designer's staying power. This time, it's with a vacation home in the resort city of Zihuatanejo, Mexico, which is completely decked out in her signature style: a bit of rocker, a bit of glam, and all-hot-pink-everything. It's enough to make one nostalgic for the 1970s, when Betsey was making clothes for the Velvet Underground and other rockers of the day.
We already knew Johnson had a way with real estate, having glimpsed her chic Upper East Side condo, which was for sale last year. But the "BetseyVilla" is a completely different animal. Now available for rent starting at $618 on Airbnb, the four-bedroom, six-bathroom estate is an unapologetic homage to all things Betsey Johnson — with a pool, gardens, and private beach access to boot.
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"Originally, when I built the villa for the first time in Mexico back in 2004, I knew I wanted the concept to be an 'Italian villa,'" Johnson tells Refinery29 in an email. "The first iteration had several beautiful archways...but was a bit dark and church-like. So, when I decided to redo it three years ago, I went to my architect Andrés Benítez and said, 'Make this house sparkle, be my new eyes and bring these walls to life!'"
That he did. Ahead, read our interview with Johnson and see photos of the villa.
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Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb.
What were your design inspirations for the villa?

"It all started with the white, European marble floor. That gave me the idea for the new villa to be a glamorous, palatial, Shangri-La home. We took out all of the exterior wooden doors and replaced them with large glass windows. The entire villa is very transparent and open now, filled with light with wonderful views all around. We also designed a stunning, functional outdoor kitchen on the back patio. It really needed a kitchen, so that visitors could socialize and have something to do other than just lay by the pool."
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Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb.
"On the walls, we hung a variety of portraits and pictures of me throughout the years, in addition to my original drawings and artwork to give the space a bit of personal flair... To balance out the new features, I kept some of the old decor, such as the antiques and light fixtures that we originally used."
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Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb.
"I’ve designed everything from a modern New York house to bright-pink hotel rooms. I almost think I’ve decorated more interiors than I’ve designed clothes!"
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Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb.
How do you stay innovative in your work?

"My biggest form of inspiration is knowing that I love my life and I love my design work! I love my houses most of all, because I live in the spaces and really feel myself in them. My motto has always been: You’re either in it or you’re not. If you love what you’re doing, that alone will keep you going...and the fresh ideas flowing."
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Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb.
What are your favorite places to go on vacation?

"Mexico, Mexico, and more Mexico!"
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Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb.
How did you choose Mexico as the spot for the villa?

"I’ve traveled to places like Turkey and India for work and I’ve vacationed in Morocco, but out of all of my travels, Mexico has always been a favorite of mine. I love the people, and it’s just beautiful. What I see isn’t the Mexico that you would typically read about or that tourists venture to. I love the smaller cities. La Barrita is one of my favorites, because it’s very local and filled with great people, great music, and great food."
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Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb.
"I’ve stayed in many hotels throughout Mexico, but I always wanted a place that I could decorate myself, be creative in, and design as my own. That was why I decided to design the villa."
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