Home EuropeAzores Hotel Monte Palace – Inside the Azores Abandoned Hotel

Hotel Monte Palace – Inside the Azores Abandoned Hotel

by Andy Vanr

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.

Person by graffitied hotel entrance
Monte Palace Hotel 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 hill of 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 “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.

Monte Palace Hotel Atrium look up to skylight
Hotel Atrium 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 with views of the Sete Cidades caldeira and the lakes.

Foreground debris middle view of Sete Cidades Azores
Hotel rooms had a beautiful view of Sete Cidades

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.

Debris on floor Monte Palace Hotel restaurant
Restaurant and Dining Room
Person tiled graffitied kitchen walls behind
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 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.

Person foreground Sete Cidades crater background
Beautiful Sete Cidades Crater from the rooftop of the abandoned Monte Palace 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, often rainy days on the islands, pleasant sunny days were not guaranteed.

Person at entrance monte palace hotel azores
North Entrance
Inside graffitied room Monte Palace Hotel Azores
Inside the hotel’s north entrance

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.

Person in spiral staircase Monte Palace Hotel
Main spiral staircase
Person in staircase Monte Palace Hotel Azores
North stairwell

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.

Letters missing from Monte Palace Hotel signage
Sign at hotel entrance has lost a few letters.
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.) disappeared.  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 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.

Unglassed skylight panels Monte Palace Hotel Azores
The skylight was huge and looks odd without glass
Looking into hotel through skylight
Looking down into the atrium through 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 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.

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. Half 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 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.

Looking down a walkway Monte Palace Hotel
From the hallway outside the rooms, guests could look down on 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 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 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 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.

Aerial view lake causeway centre hills surround

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