Something wicked this way
What is it about abandoned hotels (or really, anything abandoned) that piques our interest? Is it the secret stories that only a select few know? The mystery of those that saw the place in its prime? Whatever the reason may be, we know that you want to dig up the dirt on these creepy abandoned hotels. Consider this a warning, however: We can’t be held responsible for what you may find.
A small town gets smaller
On Adelaide Street in the tiny municipality of Birdsville, Australia, you’ll find the ruins of what was once the Royal Hotel, built circa 1883. “Birdsville is well-known for its dust storms, the scorching heat in summer, and its loneliness,” writes Rita’s Outback Guide.
The Royal operated as a hotel for only 40 years. For a brief period in the early 20th century, it was used as a hospital/nursing home by a religious mission. When the mission left, the town’s population dwindled (in 2016, the population was a mere 140), and the building was left to deteriorate.
Red tape in Cornwall
“Blotting the skyline to the south of Newquay’s most famous beach, the Fistral Bay Hotel has been left to crumble for more than a decade,” writes Cornwall Live. Built in 1910 in Cornwall, England, it thrived throughout the first half of the 20th century but declined in popularity thereafter.
It was set for redevelopment in the mid-1990s, but those plans have been mired in bureaucratic red tape ever since. If you’re looking to blame someone, you might consider the Duke of Cornwall, aka His Royal Highness Prince Charles, because technically, Cornwall is his Duchy to oversee.
From economic crisis to immigration crisis
Once thriving, the City Plaza Hotel in Athens closed its doors in 2010 amid the Greek financial crisis. It was since abandoned, at least for commercial purposes; since 2016, it has been used as a squat house by 350 refugees fleeing persecution in the Middle East, Africa, and Afghanistan.
A train derailment ended an era
“Deep in the Aragon river valley, close to the border with France, lies the abandoned ruin of Canfranc International Station in Spain,” writes CNN. The Canfranc railway station opened in 1928 and became one of Spain’s grandest, housing the luxury hotel that’s now pictured here. All of it fell into ruin after the 1970 train derailment that destroyed the bridge that provided access to it.
The remains of a ghost town
Bodie, California, established in the late 1870s, was once a boom town near the Nevada border during the days of the Gold Rush. The Dechambeau Hotel, in its heyday, served not only as a hotel but also as a health club of a sort and a place of worship. By 1915, Bodie was already largely abandoned, but the last mine didn’t close until 1942. By 1950, Bodie had a population of…zero. Today, the entire ghost town is a California State Park.
Another boom town bust
Calico, California’s Hank’s Hotel has a story quite similar to that of the Hotel Dechambeau, except Calico rose and fell on the heels of the silver rush. Calico was established in the early 1880s, but before 1900, silver had lost its value, and the town went into decline. In the 1950s, it was restored to look as it did in the 1880s, and in 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed Calico to be California’s Silver Rush Ghost Town.
Wartorn remains of an Olympic venue
When Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics, those were the golden times for the former nation of Yugoslavia. But in the years since, to say that times took a turn for the worse is quite an understatement. By the mid-1990s, the bobsled and luge track on Mount Trbevic had been taken over by the Bosnian military, and the hotel pictured here had been abandoned. Today, it’s a mere skeleton of its former self and covered in lurid graffiti.
The same war’s collateral damage
Another ruin in what was formerly Yugoslavia, the Haludovo Palace Hotel in what is now Croatia was once a high-end resort. “Built in 1971 under the supervision of architect Boris Magaš, the structure exemplifies mid-century space-age design, with a certain monolithic quality typical of Communist-influenced architecture,” notes Atlas Obscura.
Penthouse magazine founder, Bob Guccione, even pumped $45 million into it, hoping it would catch on as a luxury destination. Though he went bankrupt soon after, the resort remained open for another 20 years, according to Total Croatia News. But the war in Yugoslavia, which started in 1991, derailed its tourism industry, leaving the hotel to crumble into ruins, which is how it remains today.
An abandoned Civil Rights Era icon
The Ben Moore Hotel, pictured here, opened its doors in 1945 and in 1951 became the first hotel in Montgomery, Alabama to welcome African Americans as guests. It quickly became an important meeting spot for Civil Rights leaders and played host to music icons including Tina Turner and B.B. King. But over the years, hard times, including alleged scandal, set it on a course toward disrepair. It sits now, long-abandoned, waiting for someone to come up with a plan to restore it, and the money to make it happen.
Fallen by the Wayside
The Grants Motor Lodge opened along Route 66 in Grants, New Mexico in 1945 and was a fairly “run of the mill place” for many years, with the exception of the early 1960s, when it was owned and run by Clint Lester and his wife, both of whom were “little people” and stood under 142cm tall. The hotel changed ownership and names several times after that, each time bringing it closer to its ultimate fate as the now-abandoned and appropriately-named Wayside Motel, according to the blog Never Quite Lost.