The Abandoned Haludovo Palace Hotel, Croatia

The abandoned Haludovo Palace Hotel in Croatia (Image: Tor Lindstrand. Abandoned ruins of the Haludovo Palace Hotel in Croatia) 

Abandoned casinos will always have their tales to tell, and Croatia’s crumbling Haludovo Palace Hotel doesn’t disappoint, right from its inception. According to Sometimes Interesting, the mastermind behind the project was American businessman Bob Guccione. While that name might not be familiar, the magazine that Guccione built his fortune with certainly is: Penthouse.

(Image: Tor Lindstrand)

At a time when Guccione was looking for investment opportunities, the perfect one presented itself in one of the more unlikely places. Yugoslavia, despite being a communist country, was open to foreign investment and the transfer of money across state boundaries. As a result, Bob Guccione decided to invest some $45 million into the luxury resort in Rijeka, believing that it would attract like-minded businessmen.

The crumbling ruins of the one-time Penthouse Adriatic Club at the Haludovo Palace Hotel (Image: Thorsten Schroeteler)

When the Penthouse Adriatic Club at the Haludovo Palace Hotel first opened its doors in 1972, it offered the sort of luxury that most people would only find on television. Guests feasted on lobster and caviar while relaxing among the fountains, hanging gardens, and alongside the pools, one of which was allegedly filled with champagne.

(Images: Tor Lindstrand)

Guccione reportedly brought his own ‘Penthouse Pets’ to the opulent resort hotel and casino to serve as hostesses, and the Penthouse Adriatic Club at the Haludovo Palace Hotel made headlines around the world. In a strange twist, it would be cultural differences that would strike the first blows against the lavish Haludovo Palace Hotel.

(Images: Tor Lindstrand)

While Guccione advertised his Pets as “new soldiers of the Cold War”, Western tourists didn’t take to the resort as expected, and locals were forbidden from gambling. Furthermore, Yugoslavia’s socialist self-management ethos gave employees powers to make decisions through assemblies.

(Images: Tor Lindstrand)

By 1973, new legislation cracked down on casinos owned by foreign parties, and Guccione had himself been pushed out by 1974. Ownership was reportedly transferred to a worker-run company who agreed to pay Bob Guccione as an employee. The ‘Penthouse’ tag was dropped from its name, which simply became the Haludovo Palace Hotel. Extravagance ended, somewhat, but the resort was still known to be an upscale destination.

(Images: Tor Lindstrand)

By the 1980s, conflict in Yugoslavia was taking its toll not just on the country, but on the Haludovo Palace Hotel. Last turning a profit in 1990, the ailing resort was used briefly as a refugee shelter in the early part of the decade. When those refugees were forced off the property, they reportedly took everything that they could carry with them.

(Image: Tor Lindstrand)

Balkanist reported on what later happened to the property. According to the website, the last guests came and went around 2002. Since that time, the abandoned Penthouse Adriatic Club at the Haludovo Palace Hotel, the very embodiment of ostentatious wealth and luxury, has been left to the mercy of vandals and the elements.

(Images: (1, 2) Usien)

Related: 10 Abandoned Hotels Across Eastern Europe Asia, Africa & Oceania


About the author: Debra Kelly




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