Hotels lost in History
Hotel Bristol, Colombo - the “best cuisine in the East”, etc. .. All that is history now.
Vienna Metropole, 1873 by architects K Schumann und L Tischler, famous before the war, infamous headquater of the GESTAPO during 1939–1945, destroyed by bombs in 1945.
Nassau: Royal Victoria. The first luxury hotel in the Bahamas, built in 1861 and closed in 1971. The abandoned building sat vacant for years, gradually being stripped, until it burned down in the mid-1990's. A parking lot replaced it. The sprawling gardens of the hotel remain, however. Link to photographs here.
Macau, Hotel Bela Vista
Hotel Cecil, built in 1896, a large hotel in the Strand in London, England. It was named for Cecil House, a mansion that had occupied the same site in the 17th century. Designed by architects Perry & Reed in a "Wrenaissance" style, the hotel was the largest in Europe when it opened with more than 800 rooms. The proprietor later went bankrupt and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The Cecil was largely demolished in Autumn 1930, and Shell Mex House was built on the site. The Strand facade of the hotel remains, with, at its centre, a grandiose arch leading to Shell Mex House proper.
The Grand Hotel (we have reasons to believe that it was the first in the world by this name) had opened in January 1774 (by David Low), but ceased to exist in the 1880s.
Basil Street Hotel was an oasis of English charm, run by the same family for 3 or 4 generations, just behind Harrods. Beloved of the hunting, shooting fishing set, and home to the famous Parrot Club it closed around 2005 to be stripped and turned into offices. The collection of antiques furnishing the hotel collected by the family took days to sell.
Hotel de Prusse (1805-1905), Hotel Preussischer Hof (1905-1921)
Schlosshotel Buehlerhoehe (Bühlerhöhe): officers home since 1918; luxury hotel between 1986 and September 2010. Closed due to low business.
Repulse Bay Hotel, one of the last remaining colonial style buildings in Hongkong until it was demolished to give room for a high rise apartment building ca. 1985. It had a huge balcoly with a view of the South China Sea and was an important part of Hongkong history when it was torn down. The veranda is said to have been rebuildt somehow, but the old atmosphere must be gone forever.
Calcutta Great Eastern built by David Wilson in 1841 Spence's by John Spence, before 1830 Grand, by Stephen Arathoon, opened in 1911, closed in 1937.
Hotel des Indes was one of the oldest and most prestigious hotels in Asia. Located in Batavia (now Jakarta), in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). The hotel had accommodated countless famous patrons throughout its existence from 1829 to 1971. Before being named Hotel des Indes, a name suggested by the writer Multatuli, it was named ‘Hotel de Provence’ by its first French owner and for a short spell went by the name ‘Hotel Rotterdam’. After Indonesian independence it was renamed ‘Hotel Duta Indonesia’, until it was demolished to make way for a shopping mall.
This hotel should not be confused with ‘Hotel des Indes’ in The Hague, the Netherlands. Details on wikipedia.
The Grand Hotel des Bains was one of the famous hotels on the Lido of Venice. Built in 1900 to attract wealthy tourists, it is remembered amongst other things for Thomas Mann's stay there in 1911, which inspired his novella Death in Venice. Luchino Visconti's film of the novel was shot there in 1971.
The hotel was also used as Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo in the 1996 film The English Patient; Diaghilev died at the hotel in 1929. Until 2010 the hotel was frequented by movie stars during the Venice Biennale. In 2010, the hotel was closed to be converted into a luxury apartment complex, the Des Bains residences, which is scheduled to open in late 2011.
Rifugio Guglielmina / Ricovero al Col d’Olen
It was 1878 when Ricovero al Col d’Olen was first inaugurated: it was the third among the 8 hotels founded, or run, by the Guglielmina family between the last half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. Giuseppe Guglielmina was a humble shoemaker from Mollia: the reason for the fast growth of its hotel business can be find in the entrepreneurial spirit of many public figures of the time as well as in the atmosphere of openness to tourism which followed the conquest of Monte Rosa. As a matter of fact, only eight years after the rise to Signalkuppe (today named Punta Gnifetti), Giuseppe Guglielmina and his family were able to run the Albergo del Monte Rosa, inaugurated in Alagna in 1850 and which was later expanded; then, they managed to run the Albergo delle Alpi in Riva Valdobbia in 1871, the Ricovero del Col d’Olen in 1878, the Albergo d’Italia in Varallo Sesia in 1879, the Albergo del Mottarone on the Maggiore lake in 1884, the Hotel Bellevue Alpino in Gignese in 1900, the Hoten Royal in Ospedaletti Ligure in 1901 and the Grand Hotel Eden in Santa Margherita Ligure in 1090. Moreover, the newspaper of the time record their presence even in Sicily, in Palermo, where they ran the Ristorante Cafè Chantant on the occasion of the Universal Exposition in 1981.
Unfortunately Rifugio Guglielmina has been completely burned down. The fire started in the early morning of 22 December 2011 and couldn't be stopped because of strong wind, that did not allowed firemen to reach Col d'Olen.
St. Georges of Beirut was the place where Mr. Philby held court in the bar for seven years until he suddenly disapeared before reappearing in Moscow. The hotel or what is left of it, was built on one of the most valuable pieces of sea side property in central Beirut in the 1930s and became a gathering place for diplomats, reporters and spies. Yes, for once this cliche can be applied. In the sixties and early seventies, in Beirut's golden years, presidents, Hollywood stars and the rich Golf arabs, stayed at he hotel while visiting The Casino du Leban in Jounieh, Pepe Abed fish restaurant in Byblos or the Roman ruins in Baalbek. Lebanese-Palestinian writer Said K. Aburish has devoted a 200 page book to "The St. Georges Hotel Bar", published by Bloomsbury, London 1989. The destruction of the hotel in the so-called war of the hotels in December 1975 is vividly described by the American correspondent Jonathan Randal in his book "Going All the Way: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventures and the War in Lebanon (Viking 1983). Randal was held hostage in the building during the fighting.
The slim hope of the owner to rebuild the hotel was finally shattered by the powerful road bomb that killed prime ministe Rafik Hariri in February 2005. The neighbouring high rice Holiday Inn was also destroyed in 1975 and is, together with the St. Georges ruin, standing as an emty monument over the civil war.
The beautiful Phoenicia Hotel re-opened as The Intercontinental some years ago but was also forced to close for a while in 2005 due to the Hariri bomb.
Penang: Runnymede Hotel
Beira: The Grande Hotel Beira was a luxury hotel in Beira, Mozambique that was open from 1952 to 1963. It continued to be used during the 1960s as a conference center and swimming pool. During the Mozambican Civil War (1977-1992) it became a refugee camp.
The hotel opened in 1954, when it was billed as the "pride of Africa," and was widely regarded as the largest and most exquisite hotel on the continent. Its owners intended to include a casino, but failed to secure the necessary government authorization. The hotel was never profitable, and never attracted the wealthy clientèle it was intended to. It closed as a hotel in the early 1960s. The swimming pool and conference rooms continued to be used during the 1960s and even after the independence in 1975. The last event held in the hotel was the new year's eve party in 1980-81.
After independence in 1975 its basement was used as cells to hold political prisoners. Some members of the police and army started using the third floor as their living quarters. After 1981, it was taken over by the general population. The new guests used the entire parquet floors as fuel. The building has no running water or electricity, and is currently inhabited by more than 1,000 people.
Journalist Florian Plavec describes a visit to the hotel in a July 2006 feature in the Austrian newspaper Kurier. According to his accounts, virtually everything of any value has been looted from the hotel, including its marble and bathroom tiles, wooden flooring, sinks, and bathtubs. The former pool now serves as a water collector for clothes washing, and the former pool bar as a urinal. The hotel has also experienced structural damage, as trees continue to grow out of terraces, and floors collapsed.
The hotel in its actual state of decay has been shot by South-African photographer Guy Tillim in his serie "Avenue Patrice Lumumba"in 2007 (published by Prestel Verlag).
Xai-Xai: Chongoene Hotel,
Ruins remain the only victim of a bygone era of the Chongoene Hotel (picture here, and here). Recently the South African company East Coast Development Corporation has shown interest in rehabilitating the hotel.
Peshwar: Deans Hotel (more)
Montreux Grand Hotel National, opened in 1875 as the first grand hotel in the resort on the Swiss Riviera that would eventually become known for its stately accommodation. The lights went out in the 1980s, when the hotel owners decided to close it down, and there is still no power.
Los Angeles The Ambassador Hotel, Hollywood, built 1921, demolished 2006.
Charleston, West Virginia, Daniel Boone Hotel, opened in 1929, closed 1981
Many hotel buildings have been lost such as the Astor House on Broadway between Vesey and Barclay that was designed by Isaiah Rogers and opened in 1836 and was demolished in 1913.
The Fifth Avenue Hotel on 23rd to 24th Streets that was designed by William Washburn and had the first hotel elevator and opened in 1858 and was demolished in 1908.
The Ritz-Carlton, designed by Warren & Wetmore, architects of the new Grand Central Terminal. The Ritz-Carlton, on Madison Avenue and 46th Street, opened at the end of 1910, reached its fashionable heyday at about the time of the First World War. Its ballrooms and lobbies, and some say its service and general ambiance, where between than those furnished later elsewhere at the Ritz Tower. The Ritz-Carlton was razed in 1951 to provide a site for an office building.
McAlpin (1912), now a condominnium building
Drake Hotel (1927), demolished
Traymore Hotel (1879), Atlantic City, N.J.; demolished
Vemon Manor Hotel (1924), Cincinnari, OH.; convened to ahospital building.
Savoy Plaza Hotel is now the site of what was the GM building. For a time, it was the Savoy Hilton Hotel.
Ambassador Hotel on Park Avenue, which was Sheraton Ambassador for a time.
The Raymond Hotel dominates the South Pasadena landscape. It opened in 1886. The Raymond remained Southern California's leading resort hotel until Easter Sunday, 1895. On that day, an ember flew from one of the Raymond's 80 chimneys landed on the hotel's wood-shingle roof. No lives were lost, but within a couple hours the Raymond was no more. In 1901 Walter Raymond was able to rebuild and reopen his hotel.
With 400 rooms, golf links, and formal gardens, the Raymond's second iteration was even grander than the first. At the entrance, a new floral display, augmented by 575 electric lights, announced in ten brightly colored letters that visitors had arrived at "THE RAYMOND." Guests then entered a tunnel -- which still exists today, though sealed, under Raymond Hill -- and ascended into the hotel via elevator. In the 1930s, facing intense competition from Pasadena's newest luxury resort, the Huntington Hotel, the Raymond was unable to remain profitable. A bank foreclosed on the aging property in 1931 and, in 1934, the Raymond was demolished.