Home EuropeAzores Hotel Monte Palace – Inside the Azores Abandoned Hotel

Hotel Monte Palace – Inside the Azores Abandoned Hotel

by Andy Vanr

Monte Palace Hotel enjoys one of the best views of the twin green and blue lakes of Sete Cidades, Sao Miguel Azores. The area is a very popular tourist destination. The hotel, right beside the popular King’s Viewpoint, high above the lakes, is a decrepit ruin, long closed and abandoned.

How did this happen? Are there plans to re-open? We tell the Monte Palace’s interesting story and explore the ruins.

Person by graffitied hotel entrance
I’m going into the Monte Palace Hotel through its main entrance.

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. 

Hotel from side looking down to entrance
View from the hill above the Monte Palace Hotel main entrance
Road King's Viewpoint Sete Cidades Azores
The hotel is beside King’s Viewpoint

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 several Entrada Proibida (Entrance Prohibited) 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. 

Inside 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.

Monte Palace Hotel Atrium look up to skylight
The hotel’s central atrium is open to the elements.

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. Each room had a great view of the Sete Cidades caldeira and the twin lakes.

Foreground debris middle view of Sete Cidades Azores
Hotel rooms on the north side had a beautiful view of Sete Cidades lakes.

The hotel had two restaurants and a bar.  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.

Debris on floor Monte Palace Hotel restaurant
I’m standing in the Monte Palace Restaurant and Dining Room
Person tiled graffitied kitchen walls behind
Behind me the tiled walls are about all that’s left of the hotel’s kitchen

Walls on both the inside and outside of the building were covered in graffiti.  Framing and wire hung down from the ceilings.

I marvelled 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.

Person foreground Sete Cidades crater background
This is the view of beautiful Sete Cidades Crater lakes from the rooftop of the abandoned Monte Palace Hotel.

This dark, eerie and abandoned building makes a perfect movie setting. In 2023, the TV series, Turn of the Tide, filmed several climatic scenes inside the ruins of the hotel.

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, foggy, rainy days on the island, pleasant sunny day views were not guaranteed.

Person at entrance monte palace hotel azores
This is the hotel’s North Entrance. I am standing just inside the wall erected between the hotel and King’s Viewpoint.
Inside graffitied room Monte Palace Hotel Azores
This was the view inside the north entrance.

Other than the view, there was nothing else for guests to do at the hotel.  There was no pool or spa. The tiny town of Sete Cidades was not close enough to walk to for a visit or shop in. 

There are hiking paths near the hotel for guests to explore the beautiful natural surroundings.  But, perhaps, for the upscale tourist, this was not enough.

Person in spiral staircase Monte Palace Hotel
I am halfway up the main spiral staircase.
Person in staircase Monte Palace Hotel Azores
Even the walls of the north stairwell have grafitti on them.

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 more negative factors. 

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.

Letters missing from Monte Palace Hotel signage
The letters of the Monte Palace sign are slowly falling off.
Stairwell to basement disco Monte Palace Hotel
The Disco Night Club was located in the basement. Needless to say, I did not venture down into it.

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.) was stripped and taken away. Today, all that is left is a mess.

Walls covered in graffiti Monte Palace Hotel Azores
Most of the walls are covered in graffiti

Will this Sao Miguel abandoned hotel ever reopen?

Many people have speculated about the Hotel Monte Palace reopening. In fact, there were several news reports in 2018 that indicated that the hotel would be refurbished and reopened in 2021.  But, nothing ever happened. The sad reality is that, most likely, the hotel will never open again.

Unglassed skylight panels Monte Palace Hotel Azores
The skylight was huge and looks odd without glass
Looking into hotel through skylight
The atrium is below me beneath the empty skylight

Should I go inside the Sete Cidades Abandoned Hotel?

The decision, and risk, is up to you. I don’t recommend it. Signs around the property’s 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.  Water has made its way everywhere in the hotel. Make sure you have solid footwear.  Beware.

Looking down at floor Atrium Monte Palace Hotel
In 2016 an artist repainted the atrium’s floor for a local art festival.
Tape across elevator doorway
All of the elevator machinery was removed. Blocked off empty shafts are all that remains.

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 the roof than from the King’s Viewpoint below.

Even though erected fencing and stonework are a deterrent to entry, people are still making their way into the hotel.

Over the years, authorities have been trying to deter visitors from entering the hotel. During my last visit, the hotel’s main entrance parking lot was closed off with a cement wall. The hotel’s north entrance, by the road near the viewpoint, had also been sealed off with stonework. However, myself and others were able to scale the wall.

Update 2024: The doorway within the cement wall, at the hotel’s main entrance parking lot, has been completely removed. People are still able to enter this abandoned hotel.

Looking down a walkway Monte Palace Hotel
I’m in the upper hallway outside the rooms. Guests could look down from here onto the atrium
Wall at entrance Monte Palace Hotel Azores
The north entrance is now walled off.

How do I get to the Monte Palace Hotel ruins?

The ruins of the Monte Palace Hotel are on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores.  To get there, you need to rent a car in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel’s main city.  From Ponta Delgada, it is a 20-kilometre (30-minute) drive along highways EN1-1A and EN9-1A.

Sete Cidades Abandoned Hotel Road Map
Directions from Ponta Delgada to Abandoned Monte Palace Hotel

Sete Cidades Trip

Be sure to check out our full article, Visiting Sete Cidades.  We provide 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.

Aerial view lake causeway centre hills surround

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