A tourist attraction with an expiration date, the abandoned Hotel Monte Palace may be the most unusual thing to do on the island of Sao Miguel, Azores. Abandoned 27 years ago, the hotel is due to reopen in 2021. But when I was visited in June 2019, I saw no signs of construction. In this article, you’ll find everything I learned about visiting Hotel Monte Palace. I also include how I managed to easily bypass the locked gate, how I avoided other tourists, what I wore to the hotel, and the places I explored inside. I visited this property on my trip to Sao Miguel, another amazing trip sponsored by @ Vero Social Media.
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WARNING: Hotel Monte Palace is an abandoned property and may be dangerous. Anyone who enters the property does so at their own risk. The structure may or may not be sound – and might collapse at any moment. This article is only a review of my experience – not a recommendation to visit.
The History of Monte Palace in Sao Miguel
In the 1990s only a privileged few came to Sao Miguel in the Azores. However, this did not stop a group of investors from creating a hotel of dreams on a mountain top. Strategically placed near the breathtaking Miradouro da Vista do Rei in Sete Cidades, the 88 room five-star accommodation was constructed as a playground for the well-heeled Azores traveler. “Build it and they shall come” did not apply in this case. Although the investors build it, the tourists did not come.
In its heyday, Monte Palace offered many amenities. On-premises, a guest could find two restaurants, a nightclub, a stunning courtyard – and even a beauty parlor. After operating for roughly one year (nobody seems to know how long Monte Palace was actually open), the luxury hotel shut down with little fanfare. For years, the beautiful money pit sat unused and security guards and dogs patrolled its empty hallways. Eventually, the guards and the dogs stopped coming too.
Visiting the Monte Palace Hotel in 2019
In its new incarnation, the Monte Palace Hotel is the playground for the urban explorer. Gone are the shinning hallways and chandeliers. In the place of former glamour, I found a ruined structure, creative graffiti, and abandoned objects. Although scavengers removed everything of monetary value long ago, today the hotel continues to offer a wealth of experiences to the adventurer. If one dares to enter.
I dared, and I did not regret it. As I wandered the hallways, initially in complete solitude, I fought the instinct to look behind me. Although the hotel wasn’t occupied for long, it wasn’t hard to imagine something terrible happened here. Perhaps it was all those horror movies. You know the ones – a woman alone foolishly enters an abandoned property. To her own demise of course. Thankfully, in spite of the creepy surroundings, my demise did not arrive. Although the property was recently purchased and is supposed to be under repair (more on this later) I saw no signs of construction. I did, however, see a new gate outside. But it was easy enough to bypass.
How I Bypassed the Monte Place Closed Gate
It is very easy to get to this abandoned hotel. I followed my GPS directions to “Hotel Monte Place” which brought me directly to the hotel gate. However, the gate was locked. I noticed a new path directly to the left of the gate and followed it for a few steps. The trail led me to inside the courtyard – no climbing required.
What I wore to the Abandoned Monte Palace Hotel
I knew that going into an abandoned property would require a proper outfit, so I armed myself with hiking shoes, long hiking pants, and a long sleeve hoodie. Although it was hot, the clothes intended to act as a barrier of sorts in case I tripped or something fell on me. The shoes are pretty self-explanatory – the thicker the sole the less likely you are to get a cut. I saw several tourists entering the abandoned hotel in sandals and even flip flops. I sure hope they had their tetanus shot 😉
How I avoided the other tourists at the Abandoned Monte Palace Hotel
The trick to avoiding the crowds was to show up early. I landed, and straight from the airport, I made my way to the Monte Palace Hotel. When I entered the grounds at 9.30 I only saw three other people in the hotel. Monte Palace is big enough that the four of us could easily walk the entire property without running into each other. But at about 10.30 like a swarm of locusts, tourists descended on the old hotel. Needless to say, the spooky effect was ruined.
I came back the next morning at 8:00 am to get a few last pictures, and once again I entered a property which felt unique and creepy. If I decided to go again, I would go early in the morning – the earlier the better.
Where I Found the Best Views at the Monte Palace Hotel
As I walked through the property, I found many unusual scenes. The ruined walls, the pieces of old tile and the graffiti. All the pieces of hotel’s old past conspired to create a powerful effect. But as I made my way to the top, I found the best views from the fourth floor and the rooftop. From the rooftop of the Monte Palace hotel, I saw a new version of Miradouro da Vista do Rei (the Kings viewpoint).
Things to do near Monte Palace Hotel
The closest attraction to Monte Palace hotel is the Miradouro da Vista do Rei (King’s viewpoint). You can marvel the viewpoint from above, or make your way down to a hiking trail. Besides King’s viewpoint, there is not much to do in the area. The closest restaurant is 15 minutes drive. But if you drive north for about 20 minutes you’ll find Miradouro do Boca do Inferno – another stunning place to view the natural beauty of the Azores. Along the way, you can often pull over for other beautiful vistas.
The Future of the Monte Palace Hotel – Level Constellation 2021
As you may recall at the beginning of this article I mentioned that Monte Palace may have an expiration date. An investment group called “Level Constellation” recently purchased the property. Their plans call for a reopening in 2021. However, when I visited I saw no evidence of construction work.
The only change Level Constellation seems to have made is that they locked the gate shut. In addition, the access point from the Miradouro da Vista do Rei to the hotel was closed. People climbed over a newly erected wall to get in – when they could have just walked around the front gate. Having been inside the hotel, and witnessed the beautiful disaster inside, it’s very hard for me to believe the property will be restored in 2 years. My bet is that Monte Palace Hotel will remain a forbidden attraction in San Miguel for many years to come.
I hope you have enjoyed my review of the visit to the abandoned Monte Palace Hotel. Thanks for reading, please do leave a comment! As always, I look forward to seeing you on the road!