Top 10 Abandoned Real-Life Resorts

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Top 10 Abandoned Real-Life Resorts

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
All good things must come to an end. For this list, we're looking at hotels and facilities that have been left to decay – though some may have undergone renovations and found a new lease on life. Our countdown includes Ryugyong Hotel, Haludovo Palace Hotel, Polissya Hotel, and more!
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Top 10 Abandoned Resorts


Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 abandoned resorts.

For this list, we’re looking at hotels and facilities that have been left to decay – though some may have undergone renovations and found a new lease on life.

Let us know in the comments which one you would’ve visited in its heyday.

#10: Hotel Belvédère du Rayon Vert

France
The derelict Hotel Belvédère deep in the south of France is derelict no more, after renovations turned it into apartments and a museum. Despite its reopening, it still earns a place on our list because it was left abandoned for roughly thirty years, and because it’s an incredibly interesting building regardless. Designed to look like a landlocked riverboat, the hotel is a time capsule of Belle Époque France, and most of its original style and decor remains intact. It’s still worn down and weird, but this historical monument won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, and is the town of Cerbère’s claim to fame.

#9: Ryugyong Hotel

North Korea
From a hotel you can still stay in today, to one nobody has ever stayed in before! You may know this location better as the fabled “Hotel of Doom”. A flagship monument in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, Ryugyong Hotel has been under construction since 1987, but has run into numerous problems that have left it uncompleted. Today, it’s the most distinctive and ominous part of Pyongyang’s skyline, a bizarre building that would look more at home on the Las Vegas strip – and even then, it’s still sinister. It’s the size of the Eiffel Tower and completely void of life inside.

#8: Ducor Hotel

Liberia
Once one of the most celebrated hotels across the entire continent of Africa, the Ducor Palace Hotel eventually fell into disrepair following a period of political turmoil in Liberia. For almost thirty years it was the country’s foremost luxury hotel, but since its official closure in 1989, it’s fallen into total disrepair. Despite numerous attempts from the Liberian government to resurrect Ducor Palace, it still hasn’t been refurbished or renovated. Perhaps one day the hotel will be restored to its former glory, but with every passing year, that job will get harder and harder. For the moment, it’s as beautiful as it is sad, overrun with tropical vegetation, and totally derelict.

#7: Varosha Beach Resort

Cyprus
Far from being just one abandoned building, Varosha is an entire resort town that has stood empty for decades. It’s part of the city of Famagusta, a popular tourist destination for a long time, but it was swiftly evacuated during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Turkey took control of northern Cyprus, including Famagusta, and Varosha’s resorts were all shut down. It still remains an important part of the ongoing Cyprus dispute, though it was briefly – and controversially – reopened in 2020. Without any time to pack under the threat of an invading army, the resort has essentially been frozen in time, still boasting all the fixtures and fittings of the 1970s – albeit in poor condition.

#6: Baker Hotel

Texas
Once a seat of luxury in the Deep South, the Baker Hotel entertained many famous guests during its peak – including the likes of Judy Garland and Clark Gable. For decades it was famous as Texas’s premier spa destination, even containing an Olympic-sized swimming pool. It was shut down first for just two years between ’63 and ’65 but then closed for good in 1972. In the decades since, it’s stood empty, getting spookier with every passing year – and now all kinds of ghosts are said to roam the halls. Whether it’s haunted or not, we’ll soon find out, because plans for a costly renovation and grand reopening were approved in 2019.

#5: Haludovo Palace Hotel

Croatia
You may or may not be surprised to learn that a hotel that once allegedly filled its swimming pool with expensive champagne ever went bankrupt – but that’s exactly what happened to the fated Haludovo Palace Hotel in the ‘70s. The brainchild of the eccentric founder of an adult magazine, the resort was supposed to be the top casino and hotel destination on the Adriatic Sea. The casino was closed after just a year, though the hotel struggled on for another twenty. The final nail in the coffin was the tumultuous collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, and this opulent hotel has been empty ever since.

#4: Lee Plaza

Michigan
This extravagant Art Deco icon may have been a little too extravagant for twentieth-century Detroit; the Lee Plaza never managed to find a viable customer base during its troubled lifetime. It began as a luxury apartment complex, but the Great Depression forced it to cater to guests like a standard hotel. Changing hands and purposes many times, it was in operation in some form or another until the late ‘90s. Since then, it’s been yet another abandoned building in Detroit, though it could still have a future ahead of it. The city of Detroit is looking to redevelop the building into, once again, apartments, putting the Lee Plaza right back where it started.

#3: Igloo City

Alaska
This icy hotel was designed to capitalize on Alaska’s famous climate, giving guests the impression of staying in a genuine igloo. The four-story hotel was actually never completed because it couldn’t get up to code, meaning it was abandoned in the ‘70s. Today, it’s in the middle of nowhere, miles away from any major Alaskan cities, and is occupied by the wildlife; the active grizzly population nearby can make any trip to the Igloo dangerous. It may be a decaying wreck with no electricity, but if you’ve got the cash to spare, you could be the one to buy the Igloo and transform it into Alaska’s top novelty hotel.

#2: Sheraton Resort Rarotonga

Cook Islands
This is another would-be tourist trap that, yet again, was never completed, despite $80 million being invested in its construction. It was built by an Italian company that may or may not have had shady connections; the Italian government certainly thought it did and put a stop to the project in 1993. Beyond that, the site remains the subject of a long-running land dispute, which has led to many stories that the entire area is cursed. Given the constant failures of everybody who tries to develop the luxury complex, it’s easy to believe this. Now, Sheraton Rarotonga is an abandoned resort – but at least the local goat population is getting some use out of it.

#1: Polissya Hotel

Ukraine
In 1986, a nuclear disaster like no other ravaged huge areas of Ukraine. The meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant killed many and left parts of Eastern Europe uninhabitable, including this hotel in Pripyat, the closest town to Chernobyl itself. Like other parts of this famous ghost town, Polissya Hotel was abandoned in a hurry, as residents and guests tried to escape the looming radiation. Parts of the Chernobyl exclusion zone are now open to tourists, provided your stay is short, and Polissya is one of the most popular landmarks to visit. But it will probably never be open to overnight guests ever again - not legally, at least.
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