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):
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 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.