It’s not uncommon for resorts to close after a period of time. Owners lose interest or maintenance costs become unsustainable to continue operating. But some venues are part of an elite group—resorts that were built or nearly finished but never opened. If you’re intrigued, read on to discover this small collection of resorts.
The Harmon Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is a hotbed of resort construction. New hotels are always being built, and in many cases, old hotels are demolished to make room for new ones. The Harmon was meant to be one of many buildings that would be part of CityCenter, an expensive development project intended to revitalize Las Vegas’ main strip.
The Harmon was to be a hotel and residence supporting 400 guest rooms and 207 long-term properties. While exterior construction was completed in 2009, the development was plagued with interior construction issues and it was stopped in 2010. In 2013, the city greenlit the building for demolition, which was completed in 2015.
The Colossus of Prora – Rügen, Germany
Of all the resorts on this list, you probably won’t feel sorry for this particular building. The Colossus of Prora, or just Prora for short, was meant to be a massive resort that stretched longer than two miles along Rügen island’s beaches. Prora was designed and built by the Third Reich as a vacation resort that could double as a propaganda machine to demonstrate the Nazi Party’s benevolence.
Built between 1936 and 1939, the goal was to create a vacation getaway for working-class Germans where they could see how the Nazi Party was focusing on improving the quality of life for everyday citizens. However, the onset of World War II halted construction, and after the war, the buildings became part of a Soviet Union military installation. The facility’s purposes have evolved over the years, including serving as a sanctuary for Balkan asylum seekers. Today, Prora is a mixed-use facility that offers hostel and seasonal vacation rental accommodations.
Sanzhi UFO Houses – New Taipei, Taiwan
If you’re a fan of funky architecture, then you’ll feel sad that these futuristic looking vacation rentals never welcomed a single guest. The Sanzhi UFO Houses, also known as the Sanzhi Pod Houses, were meant to be vacation rentals geared towards U.S. military officers stationed nearby. The unique buildings began construction in 1978, but work halted in 1980.
In addition to constant construction problems, people claimed the worksite was haunted and inauspicious. The construction site bisected a dragon sculpture at the gates of the resort. This was a major no-no because in eastern cultures dragons are very lucky. Countless suicides by project workers helped to seal the resort’s fate. Construction was abandoned, but the site was a pop cultural favorite thanks to tours and film production. The houses were fully demolished in 2010.
Sheraton Rarotonga – Cook Islands
It’s not just independent hoteliers that suffer the fate of building structures that never opened. The Sheraton Rarotonga was a mostly-constructed yet never-opened resort situated in the Cook Islands. The project could best be described as a PPP or Private Public Partnership that was backed primarily by local government finances while the Sheraton agreed to serve as the property managers. This time, there’s no story of hauntings or inauspicious omens. Rumor has it that local mafia members looted the $36 million development fund. The government ran out of money, and construction was halted at 80% completion.
Ryugyong Hotel – Pyongyang, North Korea
Even the Hermit Kingdom has a black eye when it comes to hotels that never opened. But this time, the hotel gets a nickname—Hotel of Doom. The Ryugyong Hotel was created by North Korea’s first president Kim Il-Sung, the current North Korean president’s grandfather. Hotel construction began in 1987 and was meant to surpass the Westin Stamford Hotel in Singapore as the tallest hotel in the world. Unfortunately, the nation’s inherent financial struggles created issues throughout the construction process.
The USSR was the initial financial backer that made it possible for construction to even begin. But when they collapsed in 1991, the money stopped, and North Korea faced an economic depression. Construction halted with only the exterior completed. Because of this, locals began referring to the Ryugyong Hotel as the Hotel of Doom. In 2008, Egyptian developers stepped up to finish construction. In the mid-2010s, the Kempinski hotel group announced plans to manage the hotel and proposed a 2013 opening date. However, dates continued to shift, and as of today, the hotel remains closed.
Prinkipo Greek Orthodox Orphanage – Istanbul, Turkey
Prinkipo Greek Orthodox Orphanage is the largest wooden building in Europe, even though it’s currently in disrepair. Construction began on the building in 1898 with the intention of opening as a resort and casino for Europe’s elite. When construction was complete, the original owners couldn’t secure a gaming permit, and the building was eventually sold in 1903.
It was then donated to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (Eastern Orthodox Church) and served as an orphanage until 1964 when it was closed during the Cyprus Conflict. The site sat empty for decades and fell into disrepair, becoming a point of contention between Turkish Greeks and the Turkish government. Today, the building is owned by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and will be turned into an historical site.
Cover image credit: MoreISO / iStock