Deserted Resorts Around the World
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair. Time is the greatest conqueror of all, even the most glorious structures of all can't stand through the test of time. Throughout the last century, there had been many luxurious resorts built, catering only to the elites of the elites, yet few stood through the test of time and became a shadow of what they used to be. Here are those who win the fight.
Hotel Angst bears an ironic name from its creator, Adolf Angst, a Swiss entrepreneur. It's a hotel located in Bordighera, Italy, and upon its completion in the early 20th century, it was once the most luxurious hotel Europe has to offer - featuring neo-Renaissance and neo-baroque design attributes, it was a striking monument of European aristocracy.
However, the glory was short-lived, as the turbulent 20th century would doom its fate from the very start - as Europe plunged itself into multiple conflicts during the early half of the century, it soon became nothing but ruins and rubble when all the valuable items were stripped away from its interior. Despite multiple reconstruction attempts to restore it to its former glory, all proved to be futile. Today, it stands as a striking memoir of a bygone era, a remnant of a forgotten time.
The Chacaltaya Ski Resort
The Chacaltaya Ski Resort serves as a storyteller for the climate change that took place over the last 60 years, telling a tale of how it turned a once prosperous ski resort into a barren structure. The Chacaltaya Ski Resort is located in the heart of the Andean mountains, and at an altitude of 5,375m (17634 ft) above sea level, it was once the highest ski resort in the world. Tourists used to come from all over the world during its golden years.
However, what was once a winter paradise is nothing but a deserted structure, left with nothing but dry rocks and abandoned cafes. Snow has since disappeared from the glacier, as the ice melted away faster than everyone has expected. Local Felipe Kittelson talked of its glorious past, "I used to come up here as a child and play in the snow for hours, until my eyes and ears ached from the cold and altitude." These days, with no snow nor tourists remaining, it serves as a cautionary tale of how the climate change had been, and could be, affecting everyone.
Hotels of Kupari
Along the Adriatic Coast, in Kupari, Croatia, lies the skeletonized remains of the once-mighty Yugoslavia, standing on the silky blue water in unfathomable solitude. Once a prosperous holiday resort, it was frequented by people from all over the federation - from Bosnia to Serbia, from Croatia to Macedonia, it was once a getaway hotspot for the Yugoslav elites - not intentionally, but since it was so popular, one needs connection in order to reserve a spot. Even Yugoslav strongman Josip Tito paid frequent visits to the area.
However, all went down in the 90s, when Yugoslavia collapsed with its former republics, now independent, fell into years of conflicts. Kupari was yet another victim of the desolate situation, during which the hotels suffered a cruel destiny - what was once a place of joy and tranquility is now nothing but a skeletonized remain of its former glory. Nowadays, the buildings remain as a shadow of its past.
Coco Palms Hotel
Embraced by cool summer breeze brought forth by the surrounding waves, with Elvis Presley playing in the background - it's Hawaii in the 1950s. Far away in the Pacific state lies the Coco Palms hotel, frequented by the hottest celebrities of the time. Away from the hustle and bustle of New York and Hollywood, celebrities found serenity and peace in this glamourous island resort. In its heyday, numerous movies were shot here as well - Pagan Love Song starring Howard Keel, and of course, Blue Hawaii starring the king of rock n' roll himself.
It remained a luxurious hotspot for the decades that followed until it was struck by Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Down on the shoreline, waves flung itself upon the shores ceaselessly, washing away its former glory, days after days. It is now up for sale after a redevelopment plan fell through. Who knows, maybe one day it will wake up from its slumber, and relive its old glory all over again.
The Baker Hotel
Far down south in Texas, away from the metropolis, lies an astounding 14-story structure, overlooking the nearby town in solitude. This is the Baker Hotel, also known as the Grand Old Lady. Located in the small town of Mineral Wells, Texas, it was opened in 1929 - but that didn't hinder its business. Visitors flocked in from all over the country, owing to the famed mineral spa in the area. In its heyday, Judy Garland, Clark Gable, and Lyndon Johnson were all guests to the luxurious hotel.
However, during the 60s and 70s, it went through some financial hardships, closing down once in 1963 and managed to reopen two years later. That didn't last long either, however, as it closed down for good from 1972 till this very day. For nearly five decades, the Grand Old Lady has been sitting there in profound solitude, looking over the changes that took place around her. However, $65 million was secured recently to renovate the building, breathing life back into the Grand Old Lady.
Hotel Belvédère du Rayon Vert
Located in Cerbère, France, right by the Spanish border, Hotel Belvédère du Rayon Vert was a luxurious hotel built next to the train station to accommodate travelers at the time. Its unique architecture resembles that of a ship sailing into the sea - analogous to its location by the coast. It's a living relic of the art-deco movement, housing a cinema that's virtually unchanged for nearly one century, as well as marble staircases unique to its period.
Despite its promising features, visitors drastically declined. In the years that followed, it slowly fell into obscurity, and officially closed down in 1983. However, it was registered as a historic monument since 1987. Since then, small scale renovation projects have taken place, and it is possible to stay in some of the refurbished rooms. It also houses art events once in a while - the inhouse cinema is now home to the local film festival.
The Ducor Hotel
Far away on the western shore of Africa lies a once sumptuous The Ducor Hotel. Located in the capital of Liberia, Monrovia, it was once the most luxurious hotel in Africa, and one of the first 5-star hotels of the continent upon its completion in 1960. Guests included notable politicians and businessmen alike, including Ugandan Idi Amin. Due to its unique status, it also played an important role in shaping modern African history by hosting important political programs.
However, the hotel fell victim to the conflicts that plagued the West African nation since the 1990s. It was damaged and later utilized for the wrong motives due to its strategic vantage position. After the conflicts, it was home to refugees and displaced citizens alike. Today, the Ducor Hotel serves as a monument to Africa's history in the late 20th century.
Sanzhi UFO houses
On the distant shores of the East China Sea lies a small island nation known as Taiwan. An island filled with fauna and flora, it also has a distinctive culture passed down for generations by the island's native. However, you probably would not expect to find a UFO village there. The obscure-looking structure was located north of Taipei, designated as a resort to accommodate the visiting U.S. servicemen.
A cutting edge design of its time, it was revered for its futuristic outlines and groundbreaking idea. However, the project was doomed from the very start - it was commissioned in 1978, yet mishaps soon followed, with the discovery of a Dutch burial site there, it only took 2 years for the construction to be halted completely. Numerous attempts have been made to revitalize the compound but to no avail. It was demolished in 2008 to pave the way for the new resort.
Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel
New York is the city of many tales, some romantic, some are sad. And the tale of the Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel is a poignant one. Taking ourselves back to a few decades ago, when songs were still playing on the now broken radios, Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel was the finest resort the city had to offer - founded by two Austrian immigrants in the early 20th century, the hotel itself is an embodiment of the American dream, an empire built from the bottom up by immigrants.
Undefeated heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano was training at Grossinger's in 1954; Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds got married there... Grossinger's was the American word for luxury in its heyday. However, like many other empires, there's an end to everything - in 1986, the resort was sold to hotel giant Servico Inc., after the passing of owner Jennie Grossinger. Nothing beside remains. Round the decay, as the bare remains of what it once was stood in solemn anguish.
Lee Plaza Hotel
The decay of the American dream...such is the tale of Detroit, and Lee Plaza Hotel serves as a silent testimony to that tale. The roaring 20s defined the city for decades to come. Amidst the progressive economic boom comes the Lee Plaza Hotel, a luxurious art-deco architecture that serves as a monument of the Motor City's prime years. Inside the residential hotel are childcare centers, beauty parlors, and of course, high rise apartments looming over the city.
However, it was a short-lived glory for the hotel itself - in 1935, the hotel went bankrupt. However, the building remains, switching hands from one owner to another. And by 1969, it was sold to the Detroit city, utilized as a low-income senior housing - what was once a sign of luxury was no more. Then, as the economic crisis worsened for the once-thriving industrial city, the building was closed for good.
Buck Hill Inn
Buck Hill Inn was once a Poconos Mountain resort located in Pennsylvania. It started out as a small wooden hotel built in 1901, with only 18 rooms to offer. However, due to its popularity, it was soon expanded after two decades, which resembles the way we know of it today. But it wasn't until the 1980s that things really took off for the resort - it boasts a 27-hole golf course with a clubhouse, a tennis center with ten Har-Tru courts, as well as an Olympic-size outdoor pool.
However, in 1990, the resort was closed due to financial issues - the century-old resort, like many others on this list, switch hands for years, from one owner to another. Yet no one was willing to spend the money required to renovate the resort. In 2016, it was demolished after years of vacancy.
Maya Hotel is perhaps one of the most famous abandoned places in Japan, apart from Battleship Island. Surrounded by the Rokko mountain range in Kobe, Japan, the hotel itself is a product of the art-deco craze in Japan in the early 20th century. A rising empire at the time, the small island nation was ready to embrace the progressive changes brought forth by the 20th-century art revolution. The extravagant hotel soon finds it engulfed in WWII along with the rest of the country.
The hotel was utilized for the wrong motives during that time due to its strategic position. It was damaged by the raids. After two decades of disrepair, it was renovated and open for business again in the 60s - but that only lasted for a while, as natural disasters would destroy it again towards the end of the decade. A few more years later, it was converted into a student center. The final tragedy would be an earthquake that took place in 1995. All those unfortunate events led to its gloomy existence today.
Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori
High up on the Italian Alps lies an abandoned hotel designed by revered Italian architect Giuseppe Sommaruga. Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori was designed with the most luxurious vision in mind, as a serene getaway to accommodate the aristocrats and social elites of the early 20th century. The transport network and the lavish offers attracted numerous visitors during the first half of the 20th century.
The hotel thrived for another decade or so thanks to the economic boom of the 50s that fostered tourist activities in the area. However, as time goes by, tourists shifted their focus from mountain resorts to the more readily available seaside resorts. In 1968 the hotel closed down for good. You might have recognized the hotel from the 2018 remake of horror classic Suspiria.
Like the ideology that it represented, Kozubnik is a worker's resort in Poland that never fulfilled its intended purpose and fell into ruins along with the fall of the government. Built in the 1960s, it was intended to accommodate the workers from the nearby Steelworks Renovation Company in Katowice. However, amidst the rampant problems and wrong decisions from the state, as well as its inviting location, it became a getaway for the government party officials instead.
That party in Poland would fall a few decades later, in 1989. Taking its place was capitalism and nationalist development. However, they didn't work out so well for the resort, as the new private owner was unable to manage it and announced bankruptcy in 1996. From then on, the ironic resort sits in the lush Polish forest, reclaimed by the nature around it.
Varosha Beach Resort
Varosha Beach Resort was a beach resort located in Cyprus, an island nation in the Eastern Mediterranean sea. Miles of sand and water stretching to the end of the horizon, it was once a hotspot for a Mediterranean getaway. Richard Burton and Brigitte Bardot were there, as well as countless celebrities and elites looking for a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. But this all changed in 1974.
In 1974, a conflict broke out between Turkey and Greece. The conflict itself was shortlived, but the consequences have lasted for years to come. After the conflict, the island nation was divided by a buffer zone set up by the UN - and Varosha Beach Resort happens to stand between two opposing entities.
Have you been to any of these places before? Or perhaps your parents did? Would you like to visit any of them? Got your wanderlust going? Why not share this with your friends? Maybe you can try and visit some of these places someday to see them yourself.
Source: Atlas Obscura, The Guardian, Reuters, United Nations, NSS Magazine, Buck Hill Falls, Abandoned Playgrounds, Vox, AP News, World Architecture, Hawaii News Now, BBC, Bohemian Blog, Calvert Journal