The ghostly ruins of an almost-completed hotel in Bali, the highest ski resort in the world in Bolivia, a Communist-era luxury hotel in Croatia, the world’s first 6-star hotel in Italy, an abandoned honeymooners’ resort in Pennsylvania... These are some of the relics from around the world that reveal clues of their glorious past and tell a story of abandonment and subsequent ruin.
Chacaltaya Ski Resort, La Paz, Bolivia
At 17,519 feet above sea level, the Chacaltaya Ski Resort was the highest ski resort in the world - higher than Mount Everest’s North Base Camp. A popular destination for tourists who came for skiing and sledding down the Chacaltaya Glacier, it was also the only ski resort in Bolivia. However, once the 18,000-year-old glacier completely melted in 2009, people stopped coming and the resort was shut down.
Deertrail Resort, Sooke, British Columbia
Albert Yuen’s dreams of creating a luxury retreat in the heart of Sooke Potholes Provincial Park on southern Vancouver Island came to nought when he ran out of money to finance its construction. A developer by profession, Yuen purchased the 160-acre property overlooking Sooke River to build a 200-room chateau. However, he had to abandon his extravagant plans, leaving the buildings unfinished.
Ghost Palace Hotel, Baturiti, Indonesia
Formally known as the PI Bedugul Taman Rekreasi Hotel and Resort, the Ghost Palace Hotel was planned as a luxury resort in the picturesque Lake Beratan area in the Balinese highlands. Rumoured to be an investment project by the son of the former Indonesian President Suharto, the hotel was abandoned just before it opened. Ghost stories abound of spirits of workers haunting the corridors as well as tales of corruption and bankruptcy. Work on the resort was most likely stopped after Suharto’s son was convicted for his role in a judge’s murder.
Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori, Varese, Italy
Located in the Italian Alps, the Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori was built as a luxurious resort in 1910 to capitalise on Varese’s rising reputation as a tourist destination. A creation of leading art nouveau architect Giuseppe Sommaruga, the mountaintop hotel could only be accessed by a steep funicular railroad, with cable cars added later. Though it survived both the wars, the once popular resort progressively lost its charm, and falling visitor numbers ultimately led to its closure in 1968. Owned by the Castiglioni family with only caretakers occupying the crumbling building, the hotel was sold to a private group in 2016, and will most likely be redeveloped by the new owners.
Haludovo Palace Hotel, Malinska, Croatia
Located on a Croatian beach on the island of Krk, the Haludovo Palace Hotel – designed by architect Boris Magaš and built in 1971 – was once considered the most luxurious resort in the whole of Yugoslavia. The monolithic structure exemplifies Communist-era architecture while its modular shapes and asymmetric concrete columns are reminiscent of a style firmly rooted in the past. Though the hotel became a very popular destination for celebrity tourists from the West following a $45 million investment by Penthouse magazine founder Bob Guccione, the good times came to a firm stop when war broke out in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. No effort was made to revive the hotel even after Croatia gained independence, leaving the Haludovo Palace Hotel in a permanent state of decay.
Hotel Angst, Bordighera, Italy
Both the town and the hotel had their day in the sun beginning around mid-19th century and continuing all the way up to WW1. Built by Swiss entrepreneur Adolf Angst, the imposing Hotel Angst was the world's first 6-star hotel and drew patronage from Europe's elite. The glory days of this hotel ended with the outbreak of the First World War when it was turned into a military hospital. The Second World War saw the hotel and the town annexed by the Germans, which ultimately led to the ruin of the luxury hotel.
Hotel Monte Palace, São Miguel, Portugal
Located on an isolated mountaintop in the Azores overlooking a picturesque lake, Hotel Monte Palace was built in the 1980s as a five-star hotel with massive proportions. Everything about the hotel was grand from its cavernous indoor courtyard to its winding spiral staircases. Lack of interest in the hotel ultimately led to the hotel shutting down operations just two years after opening in 1989. Only the shell of the once grand hotel remains today. Plans are on to redevelop the property following its acquisition by the real estate group Level Constellation.
Kupari hotels, Kupari, Croatia
A getaway for the military elite in the former Yugoslavia, Kupari in Croatia was home to five exclusive holiday resorts – Grand, Kupari, Goričina, Goričine II, and Pelegrin – all located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. The Croatian War of Independence in the early 1990s saw the Yugoslav Army looting, burning and destroying the hotels, with only the shells remaining today as a reminder of a different past. Though the beaches continue to attract tourists, the abandoned buildings only draw the curious.
Penn Hills Resort, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Once a destination for honeymooners, Penn Hills Resort – located in a small town called Analomin – in its heyday featured in-ground pools, private tennis courts, couples' suites with heart-shaped jacuzzis and mirrors. Closed since 2009, the hotel has an unsavoury past with connections to fugitive criminals but still manages to draw curious urban explorers. The property is currently being turned into a new heritage centre.
White Lake Mansion House Hotel, White Lake, New York
A small detour from Bethel, the site of the Woodstock Festival, will bring visitors to the White Lake Mansion House hotel or what remains of it in its current rotting state. Though dilapidated, it remains the oldest vacation hotel in the Sullivan County. Belonging to the local Kinne family, the White Lake Mansion House hotel overlooking the White Lake was built in 1848. Regarded as one of the most luxurious properties in the entire county, it was very popular amongst the Manhattan elites. The hotel's architecture is reminiscent of a Greek Revival style. Despite all the talk about bringing it down, the hotel stands tall even in its ruins.