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September 14, 2013

The resort that never opened: Sheraton Rarotonga, Cook Islands.


Around the world there are numerous tales of failed hotel projects, but in the South Pacific at least, this is a celebrated case. If 'celebrated' is the right word. Some say the grounds are cursed. It's certainly one of the most famous deserted places.

(c) Roderick Eime

The project was kicked off by a shady Italian who managed to enlist numerous backers. He seduced the tiny island nation of the Cook Islands and the project ran wildly over budget.

(c) Roderick Eime

Building works were invoiced and paid, but never actually completed.

 Hilton were brought in at one stage, but their attempt also stalled.(c) Roderick Eime

And the backers and insurers eventually said, "enough" and stopped all the funds when the place was within a whisker of opening. Several attempts to restart the project have all failed.  The last work to be done was around 1993. In 2014, a NZ company proposed to resurrect the complex.

 Bathrooms were tiled and fitted out. Air conditioning wired and installed.(c) Roderick Eime

 Some rooms were even furnished to 'lock up' stage.(c) Roderick Eime

 Some 200 rooms were constructed. A few are occupied
by careful squatters, others by gangs, the rest are just ruins.(c) Roderick Eime

 Windows broken and open to the elements.(c) Roderick Eime

 Nature reclaiming the common walkways and corridors.(c) Roderick Eime

 Once almost ready to receive guests, now just hosting weeds and debris.(c) Roderick Eime

 The main reception area.(c) Roderick Eime

 This wing is where the gangs have their headquarters. Don't go in there.(c) Roderick Eime

 Under the main reception building.(c) Roderick Eime

 Out onto the expansive central courtyard, gardens and pool.(c) Roderick Eime

(c) Roderick Eime

 Auxiliary buildings at rear. Maybe laundry or something?(c) Roderick Eime

Offices in a shambles.(c) Roderick Eime

A true 'Heartbreak Hotel' (c) Roderick Eime

Four-legged guests now patrol the grounds.(c) Roderick Eime

(c) Roderick Eime
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