São Miguel, Portugal

Hotel Monte Palace

This abandoned five-star hotel is now a five-star urban exploration destination. 

Perched on an isolated mountaintop in the Azores, the Hotel Monte Palace is the dead-eyed shell of a former five-star hotel that only seemed to operate for a couple of years before simply being abandoned. 

Built in the 1980s as a speculative draw to tourists who had not yet caught on to the Azores as a vacation spot, the hotel is a massive, multi-floor behemoth designed with sharp, terraced roofs reminiscent of a pagoda. Overlooking a picturesque lake, the grand hotel featured a cavernous indoor courtyard and winding spiral staircases leading to the 88 rooms. Every type of amenity was provided as well, from two restaurants, a bar, a bank, a hairdresser, and even a black-lit nightclub. Everything a traveller on holiday might want or need was provided right at the top of the mountain. That is of course, should anyone want to make the trek in the first place.

Unfortunately it seems that not many people did. After opening in 1989, the hotel only operated for a little more than a year before shutting its doors. According to reports, for about a decade the empty halls were patrolled by guards and dogs, but with no one interested in paying them any longer, it seems that they simply disappeared some time in the mid-2000s. Now urban explorers who are willing to make the trek to the mountaintop resort can explore its desiccated ballrooms and crumbling halls seemingly at their leisure.       

Know Before You Go

There's only one road to take to go to the parish of Setes Cidades. However, just before taking a turn to go to the village you should take the road to Vista do Rei (View of the king) and it will bring you directly to the hotel.

CAUTION: Even though the top of this hotel offers the best view of the spectacular lagoon below, you must be warned that this is a run-down building that should be shut down for safety reasons. Please be aware that visiting the inside of this place might be dangerous and it's done at your own risk.

Don't enter unless you have enough light, pay constant and close attention at any pace: debris lays on the floor and might fall from the ceiling, the helicoidal staircase is without handrail and, most of all, mind not to fall down the elevator shaft as it is totally unprotected!

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