The Decaying Ruins of the Azores' Grandest Hotel
Among the rolling pastures of São Miguel stands the decaying wreckage of the Hotel Monte Palace, a testament to the Ozymandiacal urge of people on all corners of the globe. Overlooking the twin lagoons of Sete Cidades, the hotel was once a vibrant jewel. Now, however, it has a decaying shell filled with rubbled filled halls, water logged carpets, and tumble-down spiral staircases.
The hotel was built to chase a dream that never came to close to surviving in the daylight. Opened in 1989, tourism to the Azores was nowhere close to being able to support such an opulent beauty as this, which housed 88 guest rooms, two restaurants, a bar, and an in-house nightclub. Within two years, the Monte Palace stood empty aside from the guards and dogs employed to guard it should the hotel owner’s luck shift.
It didn’t, and soon even the guards and dogs left. Today, the hotel is not so slowly reverting back to the forest land around it. The elevator shaft stands open and empty, the stripped-down rooms stare out across the surrounding verdant landscape, and the spiral staircase functions as a quick slide for the rain that fell from the quickly passing daily showers.
In its decay, the Monte Palace offers a stark — and mesmerizingly beautiful — contrast to the rest of the Azore’s springing vitality. The hotel’s shadows contrast with the rich greens; its apparent failure to attract guests belies the incredible kindness of the locals.
Altogether, the Hotel Monte Palace offers an ideal pitstop while exploring the western half of São Miguel. You can follow our itinerary to see how to slot it in while visiting Sete Cidades, and while on the way to the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno — where you can have the absolute best views of Sete Cidades below.
For absolute lovers of ruin porn, the below video does an amazing job of showing the hotel now versus how it appeared when it first opened: