IN BALI, INDONESIA
An abandoned hotel in the highlands of Bali is shrouded in stories of ghosts, curses, and corruption.
Near the road from hard-partying Kuta to picturesque Lake Beratan, a massive luxury resort stretches languorously down a mountain ridge—not a particularly notable sight, but for the fact that this hotel sits dark and empty. Built in the 1990s and seemingly abandoned on the eve of its opening, the pristine modernity of this derelict building adds significantly to that giddy, something-bad-happened-here feeling that tantalizes ghost hunters and urban explorers alike.
The Ghost Palace Hotel—more formally known as the PI Bedugul Taman Rekreasi Hotel and Resort—lies overgrown with creepers, weeds, and legends. One story suggests that the real estate developer behind the project became cursed due to his corrupt business practices and subsequently went bankrupt. Another tells of a fully operational hotel filled with workers and guests, all of whom suddenly disappeared in one night, leaving specters and demons to stalk the hotel’s empty corridors. Other ghostly accounts chalk up the supernatural presence to the spirits of laborers worked to death in the construction of the hotel.
Bizarrely, the actual history of the Ghost Palace Hotel is somewhat difficult to verify, but the most likely scenario is that it was built starting in the early 1990s as an investment project of Tommy Suharto, the youngest son of former Indonesian President Suharto. Tommy went to prison in 2002, after being convicted of ordering the assassination of a judge on Indonesia’s Supreme Court who had previously found him guilty of corruption charges. Subsequently, construction of the hotel ground to a halt and has never restarted.
Now abandoned for over a decade, the building still bears the furnishings and fixtures of a hotel preparing to receive its first guests.