Tourists flock to the Sete Cidades area to see its beautiful twin green and blue lakes. Many visit King’s Viewpoint for a great panoramic view. However, people are quite surprised to see the decrepit ruins of a former hotel across the road.
The story of the former Monte Palace Hotel is quite interesting.
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What happened to Hotel Monte Palace?
This spot at Sete Cidades Lake was chosen as the best place to build an exclusive, luxurious, 5-star hotel on the island of Sao Miguel Azores. The hotel was built into the hillside taking advantage of the breathtaking views of the beautiful lakes of Sete Cidades below.
The hotel opened in 1989 with great fanfare. It didn’t last long. The hotel closed soon after opening and was ultimately abandoned.
The property is now an “unofficial” Azores attraction. Today, there are “Do Not Enter” signs around the property discouraging the public from entering. However, many still do.
Always fascinated with abandoned places, I couldn’t resist going in for a look at what was inside. This is what I discovered.
What is inside the Azores Abandoned Hotel?
I arrived early in the day and realized I was the only person in the hotel. Exploring an empty hotel on my own was both exciting and somewhat eerie.
Entering the property, I discovered debris everywhere. I made my way toward the hotel’s central atrium. The glass of the huge skylight had disappeared long ago, letting in the rain and natural elements. Green moss covered the concrete walls and balconies. I could still imagine how incredible this atrium must have looked originally.
This five-storey hotel had more than 80 rooms, all with private balconies. The south side rooms looked out over beautiful forests with the ocean in the distance. The best rooms were on the north side with views of the Sete Cidades caldeira and the lakes.
The hotel had two restaurants. The dining room was quite recognizable with its walls still intact. Walking further down a dark corridor, I found the hotel kitchen. The kitchen fixtures had been stripped away but all the tiles, from floor to ceiling, were still intact.
Walls on both the inside and outside of the building were covered in graffiti. Framing and wire hung down from the ceilings.
I marveled at the wide curved concrete staircase. In places, the stairs actually still had some original carpet. My shoes made squishing sounds as I walked on the soaked carpet to climb the stairs.
To make the tour complete, I made my way to the rooftop for another glorious view of Sete Cidades.
Why did the Monte Palace Hotel Close?
The simple answer is that not enough guests came.
The best feature of the hotel was the amazing view of Sete Cidades Lake. However, with so many cloudy, often rainy days on the islands, pleasant sunny days were not guaranteed.
Other than the view, there was nothing else for the guests to do at the hotel. There was no pool or spa. The town was not close enough to walk to for a visit or shop in.
There were hiking paths near the hotel for guests to explore the beautiful natural surroundings. But perhaps for the upscale tourist, this was not enough.
The Azores Islands were not heavily visited by tourists in 1989. Even today, with many people enjoying the Azores as a vacation destination, the islands still don’t experience huge tourism. The remote location of the hotel, and a lengthy drive from the city of Ponta Delgada, may have been another negative factor.
Many seem to agree that building a hotel here was a bad business decision. After being open for only 19 months, the hotel closed in 1991.
What happened to Monte Palace after it closed?
The hotel remained in limbo for many years. Security guards were stationed on-site to protect the property. In 2011, the guards stopped getting paid and soon disappeared.
It didn’t take long for the abandoned hotel to be ransacked. Anything valuable or reusable (furniture, marble fixtures, etc.) disappeared. Today, all that is left is a mess.
Will this abandoned hotel ever reopen?
There were several news reports in 2018 that the hotel would be refurbished and reopened in 2021. But, nothing ever happened. Most likely, the hotel will never open again.
Should I go inside the Sete Cidades Abandoned Hotel?
The decision and risk is up to you. I don’t recommend it as signs around the property perimeter state,”Danger. Entry Forbidden. Private Property.”
For those that do decide to enter the hotel, take care. The hotel is decrepit. Debris is everywhere. Make sure you have solid footwear. There are wide open elevator shafts. Beware.
If you do enter, be sure to make your way to the rooftop. You’ll be rewarded with an amazing view of Sete Cidades. The view is truly better from here than from the King’s Viewpoint below.
Update: On my most recent visit to the Azores, the hotel parking lot was closed off. The hotel’s north entrance by the road near the viewpoint had also been sealed off with stonework.
Update 2023: The north entrance stonework is now higher than before. Furthermore, the location pin has now been removed from Google Maps. This is a further indication that authorities are attempting to deter entry into the hotel.
Even though erected fencing and stonework are a deterrent to entry, people are still making their way into the hotel.
How do I get to the Monte Palace Hotel ruins?
The Monte Palace Hotel ruins are on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. To get there, you need to rent a car in Ponta Delgada. From there it is a 20-kilometre (30-minute) drive along highways EN1-1A and EN9-1A.
Sete Cidades Trip
Be sure to check out our full article, Visiting Sete Cidades. We give you the perfect guide to exploring this beautiful region of Sao Miguel. We list all the viewpoints and interesting places to make this a great day trip from Ponta Delgada.
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