Raro’s biggest resort

I’ve really enjoyed trawling through the Abandoned Places Livejournal for a year or more now, so you can imagine my excitement when Rarotonga presented me with its very own abandoned place for me to wave my camera at (albeit with much less finesse than the folks over at Livejournal):

I love what you’ve done with the place.

That would be the Rarotonga Sheraton.

While there are some nice medium sized resorts on the island,  in 1987 the Cook Islands government decided it needed some big, fancy accommodation to attract the big, fancy fish to the Cooks. To build the big, fancy resort, they signed a $52 million deal with an Italian construction company, which promptly went broke. In 1993 another Italian company took over, until the Italian government stepped in and put the kybosh on the project due to alleged mafia dealings and money laundering. By then the monstrosity had placed the Cook Islands government $120 million in debt – which is obviously a butt load of money for a country that can count its number of tax-paying citizens on one hand. Several false starts from several investors later,  still the poor old Sheraton sits unwanted, 80% complete and blighting the otherwise spectacular lagoon shoreline with her mildewed facade and weed-ravaged lawns.

The view from the balcony is stunning, dahlink.

Who said there was something wrong with buying “off the plan”?

I’ve stayed in worse.

Spa, anyone?

Ooh, complimentary loofah…oh wait, it’s a spider.

I just know Sawyer is around here somewhere….

I specifically asked for ocean view!

The locals will tell you the land is cursed, due to some fellow being shot there in 1911, and prosperity will not return to the property until it’s reinstated to its indigenous owners. I smell tourist propaganda on that one, considering the entire island is owned by the various clans, who merely lease out parts of their land to the hotels and businesses, using the remainder to carry out their island traditions as they have for hundreds of years.



8 thoughts on “Raro’s biggest resort

  1. It’s always uplifting to associate with such encouraging friends here. ^^

    It’s also quite sad seeing the dreams of so many people end up in ruins like this…..it must have been very close to completion with tiled floors and plumbing installed.

    • We exist solely to boost your self esteem 😉

      Apparently it’s not clear who even owns the place any more. It was very close to completion…I should have taken a photo of this, but it seemed one of the locals had taken it upon themselves to fix up one of the rooms independently – a single apartment in a block visible from the road has been painted and spruced up, with imperious “under construction – private property” signs spray painted onto corrugated iron sheets and placed all around it.

  2. A Sheraton? On the Cook Islands? Is this the most evil hotel chain on the planet or what……. I love the moldy hot tub. I bet you’ll find Mitt Romney using that one a few weeks after the election.

    I have a whole collection of abandoned places in my pictures folder. We should start a series of cross posts.

    • Abandoned places pics you took yourself? Post ’em! These are the only photos I have unfortunately, and Melbourne is sadly lacking in deserted places 😦

  3. Italians? Really? Don’t get me wrong, I love the place, and the people, but I wouldn’t hire them to walk my dog. Why would they hire a company from the other side of the freakin PLANET to build a resort in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

    Gorgeous locale, though.

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