Ben Way—serial entrepreneur, investor, and seeker of higher truths—stands over the stovetop in his airy hacienda in Tulum, Mexico, stirring an enormous vat of pea soup. Because he is in the midst of an annual detox, which began on January 1, the soup will be Way’s first meal in five days. Despite this lack of sustenance, Way exudes tremendous energy as he prepares to puree, engaging in animated conversation with two men, both sporting rather tender-looking sunburns, seated beside me at the countertop.
The men are guests in Way’s home, which is not really Way’s home, per se, but some combination of a timeshare, an Airbnb and most important—for it is the reason that I have traveled here—the headquarters of a recently established spiritual community. According to Way, the property is called the Temple of Light. According to Airbnb, it is the Stunning Party Villa on the Beach in Tulum, available to rent for $1,020 a night.
The Airbnb listing doesn’t lie: The villa is in fact stunning. It has a grand entryway framed by a twin marble staircase and a large window that looks out onto an azure-tiled pool, and beyond that the Caribbean Sea. Way discovered the property in the winter of 2019, and bought it outright for $1.6 million with a group of 20 or so friends (they’ve since poured in another $400,000 on renovations). The intention was to create what Way describes as a “catalyst,” a place to “bring people together for good.”
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