They’re the inns, hotels and resorts that have fallen by the wayside,
haunting reminders that sometimes even the best laid plans don’t always work out.
Like dreamscapes of the surreal, Lost Resorts lie scattered across the seven continents. From faded five-star hotels now boarded up and forgotten in the middle of modern cities, to one-time destination resorts silently going to seed, these eerie abandonments can reveal the past like snapshots of life somehow frozen in time.
Some Lost Resorts were doomed from the start. Others undone by booms that went bust. Many simply discarded once they’d been used up. More than a few fallen victim to the most fickle reason of them all — changing fashion. All slowly crumbling from the wind and the wear and the years that act upon them.
A television series for the seasoned traveler and armchair explorer alike, theLost Resorts scours the planet in search of the world’s most interesting, exotic, and just flat-out creepy abandonments.
Please feel free to look around at a few of our magnificently desolate destinations.
“Lost Resorts, Raiders of the Lost Resorts” is a quest orientated adventure reality TV series that features teams of ordinary people doing extraordinary things as they compete in the biggest adventure of their lives. Think of Indiana Jones, only in a weekly TV series.
In each segment, a new “Lost Resort” must be found. Teams will face daunting challenges along the way. They’ll have to rely upon their wits, skills and each other to solve puzzles and complete challenges to uncover clues that will lead the them along.
The first team to “check in” each week will win fabulous prizes. Teams coming in last face the possibility of elimination or at the very least having a severe handicap imposed upon them in the next leg of the race.
Teams are progressively eliminated. The last team standing is awarded the grand prize.
Villa Epecuen From the Air Today (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images)
When you think about real estate being “underwater” these days, upside-down mortgages are likely the first thing that comes to mind. Not a modern-day Atlantis literally rising up from the depths.
Travel a few hundred miles south of Buenos Aires, and you’ll find Villa Epecuen. The small Argentinian spa town sits along the shore of Lago Epecuen, a beautiful indigo blue lake nestled high in an alpine valley.
Lago Epecuen is like most other mountain lakes, except for one important difference. It has salt levels second only to the Dead Sea. Ten times higher than any ocean.
Villa Epecuen circa 1984
Lago Epecuen’s theraputic powers have been famous for centuries. Legend holds that the lake was formed by the tears of a great Chief crying for the pain of his beloved. It is said that Epecuen — or “eternal spring” — can cure rheumatism, skin diseases, anemia, even treat diabetes. Some say a plunge into the salty blue water is a miracle cure for paralysis.
Villa Epecuen Train Station 1980
Villa Epecuen transformed from a sleepy mountain village to a bustling tourist resort soon after a railway line linking it to Buenos Aires was built in the 1920s. Before long, tourists from all over South American and the World came flocking. By the 1960s, as many as 25,000 a year came to soak in the soothing salt water.
The town’s population peaked in the 1970s. More than 5,000 people lived and worked year round.
Lakeside At Lago Epecuen in the early 1980s
Nearly 300 businesses thrived. Everything from hotels and hostels, to spas, shops, and museums. Residents enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in South America.
Around the same time however, the rain started falling and wouldn’t stop. Heavy rain fell on the surrounding hillsides for more than a decade.
Over time, slowly rising flood waters filled the lake to the brim.
Flooded Villa Epecuen Street Today (AFP/Getty Images)
It all came crashing down on November 10th, 1985. A huge gush of water burst through the stone and earth dam and flooded most of the town in more than four feet of water in just hours. Former residents say they barely had enough time to grab their belongings and run.
By 1993, more than half the town was covered in at least 10 meters — some 33 feet — of water. The deluge continued pretty much unabated for the next 15 years.
Stairways To Heaven
But, as it always seems to eventually happen, Mother Nature reversed her course in 2008. The rains slowed down to a trickle. Before long, submerged streets began to rise up from the depths. An iridescent salt caked ruin that looked like something from the other side of an apocalypse.
Villa Epecuen Before & After (AFP/Getty Images)
Villa Eqecuen’s neat, symmetrical rows of dead trees look like they’ve been burned instead of drowned. Their knobby roots sticking out of the ground like bony, white fingers. The once welcoming little hotels and restaurants now seem frozen in time.
During the day, Vella Epecuen is quiet as a ghost. But at night you hear all sorts of weird noises. The old slaughterhouse, now home to thousands of restless pigeons, is one of the loudest.
Row upon Row of Rotted Tree Roots
The Town's Lone Resident
Many locals that left have never come back, not even to visit. But one man has. 81-year-old Pablo Novak is the Villa Epecuen’s sole resident. The lonely octogenarian rides around town on his bicycle every day, remembering better times.
“I am OK here. I am just alone. I read the newspaper. And I always think of the towns golden days back in the 1960s and 70s,” Novak says.
The strange, haunting landscape has inspired several filmmakers to shoot here. Roland Joffe — best known for his Oscar nominated films “The Killing Fields” and “The Mission” — shot several scenes for the Spanish civil war drama “There Be Dragons” in-and-around Villa Epecuen in 2009.
Here’s the official trailer.
And here, just for the obsessive-compulsive heck of it, is a behind-the-scenes video where Joffe talks about why he wanted to make this movie.
It looks pretty good. I think I’ll have to rent it.
Rising like a massive ghost along the misty coastline of Germany’s Baltic Sea island of Rügen is a Lost Resort you won’t find listed in many tourist brochures.
Maybe it’s got something to do with it’s history — as Adolf Hitler’s idea of a perfect Nazi holiday retreat.
Back in 1936, at the height of his power, Hitler started building the massive beach resort complex. Even by the ambitious Nazi standards, the “Colossus of Rügen” was a monumental construction.
Colossus under construction in 1937
The sprawling seaside vacation complex was made up of eight identical six-story buildings, each one the length of five football fields. The entire structure was nearly three-miles long, making it one of the longest building in the world. It was to be the first of five or possibly even ten such retreats to provide relief and relaxation for the new Aryan world order.
Hitler & Builder Robert Ley
With some 10,000 sea-view rooms, the Colossus was designed to accommodate 20,000 workers every week for a seaside holiday under a program called “Strength Through Joy.” The aim was to provide a vacation getaway for German workers and spread propaganda about the superiority of German culture and the Nazi regime.
More than 13,000 trees were cut down to make room for the impossing edifice. All of the Third Reich’s major construction companies employing more than 9,000 workers were committed to the creation of Hitler’s vision.
Typical Colossus Room
Each room was a modest 16′ x 8′ and was to have two beds, a wardrobe and a sink. All eight blocks were designed with their own massive restaurant, capable of feeding some 2,500 people per meal in two different shifts.
Hitler insisted that the plans include a enormous indoor arena that could accommodate all 20,000 guests at the same time. His plans included two wave-swimming pools, shops, fitness studios, a radio station and several cinemas. A large dock where passenger cruise ships could dock was also planned.
1939 Promotional Brochure
Above all, the Colossus was designed to maximize resources. Researchers developed a “power vacation,” which precisely adjusted each vacationer’s sleep, diet, entertainment, and beach time schedule down into a scientifically designed formula. With ruthless Nazi efficiency, their goals was to pack a three to four week holiday into just seven days. They hoped to extend the typical worker’s limit of peak performance from the age of 40 — as it was calculated in the 1930s — to age 70 and beyond.
The “Colossus of Prora,” like so many Nazi undertakings, was an extreme example of a twisted idealism run wild. Hitler always “thought big.” Experts say it’s one of the main reasons the German people followed him. In a few short years, he transformed a society where seemingly nothing was possible into one where everything was not only possible, but also inevitable.
Long Prora Hallway Today
Designers initially estimated the project’s budget at 50 million reichsmarks. But according to recently discovered documents, it quickly grew to nearly 240 million reichsmarks, which corresponds to roughly $1.5 billion in today’s money.
Understandably nervous and mostly understated critics complained this was a breathtakingly irresponsible sum coming out of the privation and austerity caused by the Great Depression.
The exterior of the complex was mostly completed on time in 1939. But when war broke out in September of that year, all work stopped and the project was never finished. Workers were either drafted or transfered to build the V1 flying bomb and V2 rocket plant at nearby Peenemünde.
Decaying Window Today
The Wehrmacht used the Colossus as a hospital and military training school during the early stages of the war. Thousands of people from Hamburg took refuge there to escape the utter ferocity of the Allied bombing campaign. Later, refugees from eastern Germany were housed there. By the end of the war, the buildings housed female members of the Luftwaffe.
After the war, the Soviet Army took control of the area in 1945 and established a Red Army barracks at Prora. It was taken over in 1952 by the East German People’s Army and used until the German reunification in 1990.
Since then, the buildings have stood mostly empty. Today, the whole place is still pretty much deserted, except for a 400 bed youth hostel, a small museum and a disco in one of the old Nazi restaurants.
Deserted Dining Area
In the nearby seaside town of Binz, some locals say they’ve got enough tourists already and don’t need anymore visitors. Others want to preserve it as cautionary tale and reminder of the past. They say it’s where the Nazis wanted to feed and entertain people, as well as indoctrinate them. So it’s not really something they want to celebrate.
Seaside View of the Colossus Today
After years of heated debate, German investors recently won zoning permission to build 3,000 holiday apartments in Blocks 1 and 3. Although in today’s strained economic climate, the source of the financing has yet to be secured.
Landside view of the Colossus of Prora
Here’s a YouTube video of the BBC’s Julia Bradbury taking a tour of the Colossus.
Built on a dramatic cliff of ancient stones that cascade down into the Adriatic Sea, the massive Hotel Belvedere was once the most exclusive five-star stop in southern Croatia. The views from the Belvedere are amazing. You have a bird’s eye view of Old Town Dubrovnik and you can watch giant white cruise ships anchored in front of beautiful nearby Lokrum island.
Old Town Dubrovnik Skyline
Called the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” the coastal city of Dubrovnik became an important Mediterranean sea power in the 13th century. Despite being seriously damaged during a Serbian siege in 1991, the city retains much of its old world charm. Tall walls, Gothic, Renassance and Baroque architecture, and medival fortifications heightening your sense of history as you stroll down the narrow cobblestone streets. The city is now the focus of a major restoration being coordinated by the United Nations.
Hotel Belvedere Main Entrance
Pockmarked with shell holes, the once mighty hotel was also pounded by the Serbian naval bombardment. Despite it’s decrepit condition, the hotel’s gates remain wide-open today. Never truly cleaned up, you can wander around and find pieces of broken china, note pads, laundry bags and lots of other stuff sporting the old hotel logo. The locked wine cellar is rumored to be full of vintage vino, not to mention a cache of rusting ammunition and grenades.
Room With a View
Like the rest of the hotel, its exterior clock is frozen in time. Graffiti is everywhere, ranging from the whimsical to the deeply disturbing. Kitchens with blackened stoves, exhaust pipes and utensils look as if they’re only a serious scrubbing away from being ready to cook again. The elevator somehow remains at at the top of the shaft, but you get the feeling that it could come crashing down at any minute.
Down on the beach a few people walk their dogs, but it’s mostly deserted. The beach itself is rock, sloped stone and concrete terraces. However, there are many places made for easy access to the sea. There are also a series of high, medium and small cliffs perfect for plunging into the warm Mediterranean. The crystalline waters range from turquoise green to deep blue, and reefs just off the shore beckon for great swimming, snorkeling and diving.
Rusted Indoor/Outdoor Pool Pergula
In the last few years the ruins have found a second lease on life as a popular outdoor discotheque. Despite some apparently questionable legal issues, organizers plan to hold another series of open-air rave parties on the terraces of the ruins this summer. Below is a YouTube video from one of the raves, just around sunset.
Deep in the heart of Germany’s world-famous Black Forest lies a mysterious and eerily abandoned hotel that looks like something straight out of a Gothic horror novel.
The rambling Hunsdeck Hotel was one of the first hotels to be built in the high reaches of the northern Black Forest.
Fairy-tale villages, thermal baths, pine and birh clad mountains beckon travellers to southwestern Germany’s Black Forest. With more than 28 million overnight stays per year, it is one of Germany’s most popular and important tourist destinations.
The name goes back a couple thousand years to invading Roman soldiers — who called it Silva Nigra or Black Forest — because the dense woods were so dark and threatening.
The Hundseck Hotel was built at the end of the 19th century. For decades it was a popular spa retreat and vacation stop for nature lovers and outdoor sports enthusiasts. Skiing, hiking, mountain climbing and ice skating were a few of the most popular activities. Travelers came from all over to soak in the therapeutic powers of nearby thermal springs.
Hundseck Snow Skiing Circa 1950
The heights around the hotel are a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. The first downhill ski slope in the area opened right behind the Hundseck in 1909. It’s still open today, and offers one of the longest and steepest descents in the northern Black Forest. Thanks to its shadowy location and northern exposure, snow conditions generally stay excellent until well into spring.
In the summer; cool mountain air, incredible scenery, mountain climbing, and world-class hiking beckoned. The hotel is located along one of the oldest and longest nature hikes in the world. Founded in 1900, the Westweg (West Trail) is a 285 kilometer — or 177 mile — long north-south trail that runs atop the spine of the Black Forest mountain range. Thousands of hikers every year would stop and rejuvinate themselves at the old hotel.
Hundseck Hotel Ice House
Here’s a great picture from the 1920s of the Hundseck’s ice house. In winter, the tall pilars were sprayed with water until they were completely iced-over. Additional water was frozen in slabs, then packed in sawdust, and was enough to keep the hotel’s perishables ice-cold all summer long.
Access to the area became much easier in 1930, when the first leg of the Schwarzwalkhochstrafe — or Black Forest Highway — was built. The infamously dangerous mountain road ran right past the Hundseck’s front door.
Decrepit Hundseck Ski Jump Today
In 1948, the Baden-Baden ski club built a world-class ski jump next to the hotel. More than 5,000 people attended the opening competition in 1951. The hill hosted numerous international ski jumping competitions and was a busy training hub throughout the 1950s and early 60s before getting decertified by the International Ski Federation due to changing design specifications.
In 1976, the ski club built a new judges tower and modernized the jump. But unfortunately not one single competition was held and the training business abruptly folded. The jump fell into a sad state of disrepair and was unceremoniously abandoned in the late 1970s.
The grand old hotel itself operated until 1957, when it was converted into a health retreat for miners from the Ruhr Valley. The miners came on foot or by bus to recuperate, taking in the clean mountain air for four to six weeks at a time in most cases.
It became a youth hostel in 1982, but never really achieved much success. The Hundseck finally shuttered its doors for good after being struck by Hurricane Lothar in late December 1999. Experts say Lothar was the worst Hurricane to hit the region in at least 1,000 years. Owners decided repairing and remodeling the hotel would have been too expensive. Nobody’s checked in or out since.
Today, the Hundseck Hotel is still mostly intact. In fact, except for some chain-link fence and graffiti, it looks as if it could easily accommodate guests again today.
Inside, the cafeteria is very properly abandoned, with the chairs stacked neatly, seemingly waiting for the next meal to be served.
Upstairs, the sparse rooms are pretty barren. Most only have have simple metal beds in them.
The basement retains some of the hotel’s original upscale charm. A swimming pool featuring decorative tiled fresco of sea scenes, and a large recreational area and basketball court look as if they were used only yesterday.
The nearby Hundseck ski area remains a popular destination to this day. Especially with snowboarders, who build moguls, jumps and rails directly underneath the old hotel.
Located about 60-miles east of San Francisco, Byron Hot Springs has been a big draw for centuries. Members of the Balbones Indians camped near the warm waters from time immemorial. The earliest Spanish maps all have “Salt Springs” clearly marked on them.
The 160-acre palm and olive tree covered oasis boasts 57 natural sulphur water hot springs. Therapeutic water with temperatures ranging from 80-to-100 degrees fahrenheit. Perfect for a nice, long soak.
The first Byron Hot Springs Hotel was an all wood structure built in 1878. It included 18 guests rooms, a post office, a couple of restaurants, several spa rooms using warm water from the nearby springs, a gas plant, ice plant and several cottages for families or large parties.
The hotel caught fire on July 25th, 1901. The fire was discovered around one p.m. while the guests were at lunch. The staff tried to fight the fire, but were quickly overwhelmed. All 14 guests got out safely with most of their baggage. The hotel was completely destroyed.
2nd Byron Hot Springs Hotel 1902 Postcard
The 2nd hotel, seen here on the left, was built soon after the fire on a small knoll directly across from the first hotel site. No expense was spared. Most guest rooms were equipped with private baths with hot salt water piped in directly as well as normal hot and cold water.
With the advent of the automobile, people from all over California started driving in for the weekend to take advantage of Byron Hot Springs superlative facilities. Soon people started coming from all parts of the United States.
The 2nd hotel caught fire around five o’clock on the morning of July 18, 1912. The fire broke out in the kitchen and quickly spread throughout the rest of the building. Guests were warned in time to dress and escape. Although no one was hurt, there was a great loss of personal property. Investigators suspected faulty wiring as the cause.
3rd Hotel Built in 1914
The owners took no chances with the 3rd hotel. The four-story fireproof brick and concrete structure was open for business by late 1914.
It offered the best California and Yukon gold money could buy. “Call of the Wild” author Jack London could often be found bellied up at it’s bar. In the 20th century, it’s luxurious accommodations drew celebrities like actors Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin and Mae West, just to name a few. Baseball great Joe Dimaggio got a jump start on spring training in the dry desert climate.
Inside Byron Hot Spring Hotel Today
Byron Hot Springs Hotel boasted one of the West Coast’s first golf courses, clay tennis courts, horse riding, salons, spas, swimming pools — and gourmet dining featuring fresh fish bought in daily from nearby San Francisco’s world-famous Fisherman’s Wharf.
Empty brown bootleg whiskey bottles bearing the name “Jos. Kennedy” pressed into the glass have been found in garbage dumps dating from the Prohibition era.
Camp Tracy in 1943
During World War II, the U.S. Army turned the site into a top-secret interrogation center for prisoners of war, one of only two such places in the country. Guards let the Japanese inmates soak in the spas, secretly recording the prisoners relaxed conversations, gleaning important information about enemy operations in the Pacific.
After the war, the Byron Hot Springs Resort slipped into a state of gradual decline. It continued to enjoy it’s occasional moment, including a stretch as a hippie commune and stomping grounds for renegade author and Merry Prankster Ken Kesey in the early 1970s.
Update: A gracious reader has informed that the springs were never a hippie commune — although he himself lived there in the Doctors cottage — and was most likely the first hippie in that part of the country. Nor did Mr. Kesey ever apparently visit… which is really too bad. I think he would have really dug it. I mean, what’s not to love?
But it was shuttered for good in the 1980s. A group of local investors bought the property, and were in the initial stages of reconstruction when the financial crisis of Fall 2008 hit. All redevelopment – at least for now – is on hold.
Drive a couple hours north of Boise, Idaho you’ll find a poster child for all the overreach in the recent real estate boom. Tamarack Resort proudly billed itself as the first new four-season destination resort to open in the U.S. in more than 20-years. Tamarack had planned to be a massive $1.5 billion operation with 62 ski runs, 7 chairlifts, two golf courses and a bevy of summer activities.
Built on a beautiful meadow nestled between Lake Cascade and the Payette River Mountains in central Utah, Tamarack hoped to match the success the nation’s first destination resort, nearby Sun Valley.
Tamarack started out on a roll back in 2003. Before long, it was operating several chair lifts on a brand new ski hill complete with an Olympic sized half-pipe for snowboarders. Hundreds of miles of hiking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing trails were blazed. A Robert Trent Jones designed championship golf course was built.
Superlative fishing, boating and water sports beckoned in the Summer. All to be topped-off by the promise of a world-class five-star hotel built by former tennis greats Andre Agassi and Stefi Graf.
But, like many other new resort projects, the economics depended on the sale of expensive real estate and condominiums. And while initial sales were very strong, a sagging economy, tightening credit, and massive cost overruns — including a spending spree by owner Jean-Pierre Boespflug that completely drained a 250-million construction loan — began to catch up with Tamarack.
Developers were unable to complete the crucial base area for the ski resort with dozens of planned shops and restaurants and condos before the 2008 ski season, and Tamarack quickly slipped into insolvency. The construction loan ran out before the buildings were done, lenders balked at new funding, Aggasi and Graf bolted, and the vacation real-estate market collapsed.
Tamarack mothballed operations in March 2009. Of 2,100 planned chalets, condos and town homes, only 250 have been completed. The bankrupt resort still owes bankers some $300-million.
In May 2011, new investors stepped forward and offered $60 million to buy Tamrarak from Credit Quisse and Bank of America. A far cry from what’s owed to the banks, but $20-million more than next offer.
Richards Organization out of Boise and CRF Construction and Remodeling out of Denver say they have $100-million more to invest in the resort. If the offer is accepted, they plan to start work right away and have the resort open sometime in the summer. Boespflug would no longer be associated with the company.
Meantime, Boespflug is currently facing contempt of court charges after skipping a key hearing on May 11, 2011. The judge hearing the case has issued a $3.5 million warrant to get Boespflug into court. The warrant also stipulates that Boespflug pay $25,000 a day until he turns himself in.
The Rarotonga Sheraton got pretty close to completion in the early 1990s, but dodgy behind-the-scenes dealings; including the embezzlment of large amounts of money, mafia connections, and attempting to build on “cursed” land meant this hotel has been a lost resort from nearly 20 years.
Rarotonga is the southernmost and most populated of the Cook Islands with some 15,000 residents. “The Cooks” are made up of 15 tiny islands in the South Pacific Ocean spread out across vast area about the size of India. The islands are named after Captain James Cook, who visited them twice in 1773 and 1777. They were settled some 1100 years before that by Polynesian people who migrated from nearby Tahiti.
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Rarotonga is a South Sea paradise in nearly every sense. It stands some 14,750 feet above the ocean floor, with the highest point on the island rising more than 2,000 feet above sea level. The island is surrounded by Palm-studded white sandy beaches. Protected by a picturesque lagoon and natural coral reef, you can swim, snorkel and dive to your heart’s content.
Although Rarotonga a popular tourist destination, it has only small to medium sized resorts and hotels, which some say only adds to it’s allure. But in 1987, The Cook Islands government wanted to build something bigger that would attract conventions.
The government signed a $52-million deal with an Italian bank to build a luxury five-star hotel. The Italian Government insured the deal and an Italian contractor began started on the 200-room development, but then went broke.
Another Italian company took over and by 1993 the hotel was 80% complete when the Italian insurance company cut-off funding amid allegations of Mafia-related corruption, according to Cook Islands Prime Minister Geoffrey Henry.
Dubbed “Geoffrey’s Folly” by locals, the tiny country’s finances were crippled as the government’s liability ballooned to some $120-million dollars, representing more than half of Rarotonga’s national debt
Some islanders maintain the project was doomed from the start due to a curse being placed on the land in the early part of the 20th century. The curse apparently stems from a fatal shooting on the land in 1911. Descendants of the victim say the curse will only be lifted when the family is re-instated as the original landowner.
In recent years Rarotonga has seen a steady flow of foreign receivers, consultants, con men, lawyers, bankers and developers trying to figure out what to do with the site. . The issue of who exactly owns the hotels has been stuck in the courts for years.
Abandoned Sheraton Rarotonga Hotel visible in lower left
In 2009, five-years after a category 4 hurricane destroyed it, the owners of a once prominent five-star resort received an ultimatum from the government to repair the ruin or else. At last check, nearly two-years later, neither side has blinked.
With no direct taxation, the Cayman Islands were the new Switzerland of the world for a very short time back during the 1990s. By 1997, the Caymans was a big-time offshore banking center with more than 40,000 registered companies doing business with nearly 600 banks and trust companies that controlled more than a half-trillion dollars in assests.
Banking was big, but Tourism was bigger. Much bigger. In the late nineties, tourism accounted for some 70% of GDP. The islands attracted more than 1.2 million visitors every year. Caymanians enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world.
Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman 1990s Promotional Picture
Built directly on the world-famous Seven Mile Beach during the late 1980s, the 89-acre, 80-milion dollar Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman reigned for many years the as largest and most popular resort in the Cayman Islands
In 2004, Hurricane Ivan laid waste to a large swath of the Caribbean. The eye of the hurricane passed some 20-miles west of Grand Cayman on its way to western Louisiana.
Hyatt Regency Ruins Today
Ivan hit Grand Cayman as a category 4 hurricane. The island was buffeted by winds gusting up to 160 m.p.h.., but it wasn’t the winds that did the worst of the damage. It was the storm surge.
Storm surge is a large dome of water often 50 to 100 miles wide that sweeps across the coastline when the hurricane makes landfall. Experts say the coast line and water depth around the Caymans are optimum to produce an especially devastating surge.
The surge was 10-feet high. Grand Cayman is a fairly low-level island. Experts say the hurricane added insult to injury by lingering over the island for 36-hours, dumping more than two-feet of rain on top of the surge.
Pool Area After
The surge devastated low-level coastal areas, particularly beach-front hotels. No other deluxe resort in the Caymans had some many visible scars from the storm as the Hyatt Regency . The hotel was abandoned immediately after the storm and has been slowly rotting and decaying ever since.
Pool Area Before
The resort’s London owner, Mr. Asif Bhatia, claims the insurance companies voided the $50-plus million dollar policy under false pretenses. He said they offered to settle the claim for considerably less, but he declined.
Mr. Bhatia owns several major hotels in London. His mother, Gulshen Bhatia, created the London Plaza Hotels. The family’s fortune has been estimated by the Sunday Times around $140-million.
The remains of the Hyatt are clearly visible from anywhere on the east end of the island. “The ruins take away from the prestige of our famous Seven Mile Beach as well as having a serious environmental impact on the whole area,” Minister of Tourism McKeeva Bush said in a recent statement. He issued an ultimatum to the Bhatias to sell or repair the facility by the end of 2010, or risk having the government take over.
Moldy Poolside Bar
The deadline came and went. At last check neither side have done anything. Asked about the Hyatt Regency ruin recently, Minister Bush had no comment. The owners emphatically state they have no plans of selling, and are waiting for the insurance companies to pay up before they can rebuild.