The curious story of three hotels that closed in the twentieth century hit by the stakes of life

  • The Grande Hotel of Beira

    Beira is the second-largest city in Mozambique and an important African port. In the 1950s, during the Portuguese Estado Novo regime, what was once the largest and most luxurious hotel in all of Africa, the Grande Hotel, was built in this coastal town. The Art Deco accommodation was opened in 1955 and had 116 rooms with views of the Indian Ocean, restaurants, bars, lounges, an Olympic-size swimming pool, and multiple lifts.

    When the Mozambique Liberation Front was raised and the civil war began to ravage the country, the owners of the Hotel Grande abandoned the property that closed its doors in 1963, just eight years after it was inaugurated. The building was used as a military base during the war and currently houses more than 3,500 people, most of them entire families, living amid the rubble in what was once a grand hotel not so many years ago.

  • Consonno, Italy

    The small and historic town of Consonno, in the Lombard Pre-Alps, lived like many towns by crafts and cultivating their fields. In the mid-twentieth century, the crisis in the agricultural sector forced many families to leave the town, which gradually depopulated until it had about 50 inhabitants. At this time, Count Mario Bagno, a successful businessman, was looking for a place to build a “City of Leisure” and saw Consonno as the perfect place due to its proximity to Milan. Bagno bought the town and after tearing down all the buildings except the church, the cemetery, and the rectory, built in its place a Las Vegas-style adult resort town with bars, restaurants, casinos, a shopping mall, dance clubs, and a hotel. deluxe. Each building had an architectural style. A medieval castle welcomed the entrance to the enclosure; the shopping arcade simulated a minaret and Chinese pagodas decorated the gardens.

    Opened in 1968, this tourist center attracted important figures and became a fashionable destination for events from parties to weddings, but a landslide in 1976 destroyed the only road into the city. Bagno tried to revive the city in the 1980s as a home for the elderly but to no avail.

  • Monte Palace Hotel, Azores

    On a dormant volcano on the island of Sâo Miguel in the Azores, the walls of the Monte Palace Hotel struggle with vegetation to stay standing. Located next to Vista do Rei, overlooking the Lagoa das Sete Cidades, the hotel was built in the late 1980s and offered luxurious accommodation surrounded by stunning views.

    The five-story building had two restaurants, three conference rooms, a nightclub, a store, 88 rooms, 52 junior suites, 27 double rooms, four double rooms with lounges, four luxury suites, and a presidential suite. It seemed to have everything to be a success with the public but a too remote location together with an unpredictable climate and few leisure options meant that the hotel did not have the expected success and despite winning the award for Best Hotel of the Year in Portugal in 1990 it was forced to close that same year. The hotel had security until 2010, but was later abandoned, vandalized, and looted.

    A door to hope

    At the end of 2017, the real estate developer Level Constellation acquired the old hotel with the intention of turning the accommodation into a new five-star hotel unit “totally oriented to the natural environment in which it is located.” Despite the passing of the years, the project seems to continue and the hotel could also have a scientific center, a spa, and areas designed to support nature activities such as hiking and bird watching.