Hotel Monte Palace, Sao Miguel Portugal – A Complete Guide

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.

Graffiti in the abandoned Monte Palace Hotel.  Reads "Azores Horror Story, Hotel Cortez."
Graffiti in the Monte Palace Hotel – Someone Has Been Watching Too Much TV 🙂

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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.

An external hallway of an abandoned hotel Monte Palace.  The walls and the columns are crumbling, and the floor is covered with litter.
The outer hallways of Hotel Monte Palace were supposed to connect luxurious rooms and common areas.

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.

An interior space of the Monte Palace Hotel.  Columns and exposed ceilings, floor is littered with construction materials and in the background a mural of a child.
One of the large interior spaces of the Monte Palace Hotel

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.

A driveway leading up to a large hotel in the distance.  In proximity a sign that says "warning, danger."
The Driveway Leading Up to The Monte Palace Hotel – I parked right next to the danger sign. There is more parking at Miradouro da Vista do Rei located next door.

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.

Graffiti found in Monte Place Hotel  Spiraling staicase wall, the letters "Orakl"  and a picture of a woman.

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.

A large room with graffiti and floor littered with garbage - an abandoned suite in Monte Palace Hotel.  The graffiti includes a woman's face and words in Portugese.
An abandoned suite in Monte Palace Hotel.

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 😉

The inner courtyard of the Monte Palace Hotel including four floors and an abandoned elevator shaft.  Graffiti appears on walls, debris on floors and metal parts hang from the ceiling.
The inner courtyard of the Monte Palace Hotel.

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.

A corridor in the abandoned Monte Palace Hotel.  Exposed piping on the ceiling and littered floors.  The walls are shabby with peeling paint and materials.  Water puddles on the floor.
Perhaps my favorite image of the Monte Palace Hotel.

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.

External view of the hotel, four floors and external corridors.  Trees and fog in the background.
The external view of the Monte Palace hotel.

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).

A lake and trees in the background, and a shabby ceiling and floors in the foreground - the views from an abandoned veranda in the Monte Palace Hotel.
The views of King’s View Point from Monte Palace Hotel.

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.

Inside the ruined hotel, shabby walls and ceilings, and a big puddle on the floor, surrounded by construction supplies.  Clouds reflect in the puddle and through an opening in the wall, mountains appear in the distance.
Another perspective on Miradouro da Vista do Rei. as seen from the Monte Palace Hotel

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.

Inside of the ruined hotel graffiti with the words Antifa.  Through an opening in the wall, trees and fog in the background.

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.

The rooftop of the abandoned hotel, with a graffiti portrait and grass sprouting from the floor.  Foggy morning, and the sun is covered by clouds.

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!

Viktoria aka


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21 Responses

  1. My wife and I visited Sao Miguel in June, 2018. We absolutely loved it finding it very beautiful, unique, welcoming, and inexpensive compared to some other European areas we’ve traveled. We visited this hotel and found it and its history very intriguing. I had heard it had been purchased and had planned for a complete renovation to be completed in 2021 which is how/why I stumbled onto your well done site. After reading it, it appears they most likely will not make the 2021 date. Enjoyed reading it.

    1. I would love to see the before as well! I couldn’t track anyone who had more information on the island. But it really is so poetic!

  2. Omg that view! I’m a hotel addict so I absolutely enjoyed your post. Really curious is it will actually reopen. It looks stunning, it surely could become a great hotel again if they put some effort into it.

  3. It looks like such an unusual experience you can´t have everywhere! Besides, I´ve been obsessed with Sao Miguel and the Azores for quite a while, hope to get there soon! If the hotel is not reopened by then – might get a chance to visit, that would be really interesting! Shared on Mix&Flipboard

    1. Right? I was lucky but yeah things can totally go wrong. I was so shocked to see people walking around in flip flops. Yikes.

  4. The monte palace seems like an interesting place to visit. Even though it is not open, it adds to local lore. I would love to see the before and after.

    1. Yeah, that would be super cool if they found a way to incorporate the graffiti into the new design.

    1. It gets rather chilly, close to 40 degrees F. But Its a nice time to visit because you can get great hotel deals and it won’t be crowded.

  5. Wow! What an amazing post! I was intrigued from the moment I began reading it. There’s just something awesome about abandoned buildings and such. I google a lot of various places, and I was not aware of this one! I want to see more.

    1. Thanks so much Bill. Yeah its pretty off the beaten path – and definitely worth a visit.

  6. I wonder if it too expensive for people to afford to go to, and that’s why it closed. I have a gr4iend that loves adventures like this and even brings a drone along for photography.

    1. Yes a drone would have been fantastic here! San Miguel is not very expensive right now, with direct flights from JFK via Delta.

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