A vast luxury resort hotel high above the rice paddies in the mountains 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Kuta Beach, Bali, Indonesia, attracts more tourists and curious locals every year.
The hotel was originally named the Pl Bedugul Taman Rekreasi Hotel and Resort. Since it has been almost completely absorbed by nature, it is now known as the Ghost Palace Hotel.
Very little is known about the history of this place. Some sources suggest that this secrecy might be because Indonesian royalty was involved. However, many sources seem to prefer the theory that this hotel was the failed brainchild of Tommy Suharto.
Sitting in the mists with vines and weeds reclaiming many of the buildings, the property has a distinctly eerie look to it, something which no doubt contributed to the many legends associated with it.
Tommy Suharto is the youngest son of the second President of Indonesia. He was an investor in many properties and decided he wanted to build a resort hotel. The site chosen was just off the main road that leads to Bedugul Lake. Construction began in the early 1990s.
However, before the hotel could be opened, Suharto was charged with corruption by the Indonesian Supreme Court. He was later arrested for ordering the assassination of a Supreme Court judge who had previously found him guilty of corruption and drug charges.
In July 2002, Suharto was imprisoned for several charges, including the illegal possession of a gun and fleeing justice. With the primary investor in jail and no one willing to lead on the project, construction on the hotel was suspended and has never been resumed.
The hotel has many legends. For example, one tale states that the hotel was once filled with workers and guests who disappeared overnight, leaving behind ghosts to roam the hotel and grounds. Another story would have us believe that the workers who built the hotel were worked until they collapsed, so their ghosts now haunt the site.
In addition, some say that Tommy Suharto was cursed by his own corruption, and that was the reason why the hotel was never finished. One urban explorer reported how a local taxi driver dropped him at the entrance and would not enter the property due to a fear of the spirits there.
The Ghost Palace Hotel is currently closed to the public and is constantly guarded. However, the security guards do allow visitors to enter for a fee of 10,000IDR (which equates to about $1). There are also suggestions that tours might be put on.
Both the grounds of the former hotel and the building itself are so huge that it’s pretty easy to get lost there. The size and design of the rooms together with the location of the hotel makes it plain to see that, if it had ever opened, the Ghost Palace would have commanded a high price from its guests.
The abandoned hotel attracts not only urban explorers and ghost hunters but also those interested in wildlife since nature now dominates the ruins. There are many vines, bushes, trees, and moss there. Explorers have also stumbled across frogs, fish, lizards, and giant spiders.
Those who have been inside the hotel say that it is still possible to stumble upon preserved furniture and equipment. In some places, the sudden cessation of the construction work is very evident in the unfinished state of the rooms which lack fittings. However, some rooms have windows, doors, bathtubs, and even lightbulbs ready to go.
Those balconies that were were completed offer stunning views of the surrounding forests, sunsets and sunrises, and the nearby Gunung Agung volcano.
While most of the floors are covered in moss rather than carpets, at the top of the hotel there is a large dining and entertainment area with beautifully preserved marble tiles on the floor.
Although the Ghost Palace has never had any official guests, it is still inundated with tourists. Those holidaying in Bali who want something more than just swimming, surfing, and drinking have often found their way to this abandoned location.
The ruins stand as evidence of another side of Bali, and it seems that such a location is just as interesting to visitors as the more traditional tourist hotspots.
Romain Veillon is the owner of the photographs included in this article. Many thanks to him for letting us use them. Romain has a beautiful collection of photos on his Instagram page.
Romain is passionate about travel and photography, and he specializes in exploring abandoned heritage sites around the world. Each of his photographs has its own story, allowing you to plunge into the past. If you liked his photos here, then take a look at his website by following this link.
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