Lonely Planet Writer

Sicily’s 61-year-old hotel that has never had a guest

The Grande Hotel San Calogero near Sciacca in Southern Sicily is ‘celebrating’ a rather strange anniversary: 61 years without hosting a single guest.

Sciacca, Sicily
Sciacca, Sicily Image by Carnaval.com Studios / CC BY 2.0

In 1954 work began on building the hotel, which is located on a scenic outcrop near a thermal spring and was intended by the local authorities to attract more tourism to the area. Construction of the 300-bed, five-story hotel took an astonishing 30 years, but once it was ready to open no agreement could be made on who would run it, and over the next ten years it fell into disrepair. A decision was made to revamp it, and in 1993 it was inaugurated and ‘ready to open’, when a terrible discovery was made: the hotel’s drainage system had never been connected up, so it could not be used. Since then, there have been further attempts to open the hotel, all of which have failed, and it continues to lie empty. Read more: thelocal.it