Ghost luxury hotels, half-built and rotting in the desert

The Sinai Hotels show features photos of half-built, abandoned luxury hotels in Egypt's Sinai peninsula:

With images by Sabine Haubitz and Stefanie Zoche of Haubitz+Zoche, the show looks at "the concrete skeletons of five-star hotel complexes" abandoned on Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. They are resorts that never quite happened, then, with names like Sultan's Palace and the Magic Life Imperial. This makes them "monuments to failed investment."
Link (via Kottke)



  1. Those are really awesome looking. I’m seeing another sequel to Cyborg being filmed there.

  2. i am reminded of ozymandias…

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said:- Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert … Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works ye mighty and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

  3. We’re also creating future ghost towns here in Palm Springs, only without the interesting architecture. Perhaps in ten years, BB can feature our half-buried landscape of pseudo-Spanish, never-occupied tract homes. In the meantime, can we have a BB party at that building in the top photo?

  4. As a sidenote, there is this amazing abandoned railway station at the French-Spanish border, in the Pyrenean moutains. Built in 1928 in the middle of nowhere, it was the largest railway station in Europe at the time, with restaurants, shops, a luxury hotel… The railway linked France with Spain and it was an amazing engineering achievement due to the fact it crossed the mountains, but it was never profitable. It has been closed in 1970.

    Here’s a page with the whole story (in French) and an amazing picture gallery (“Galerie Photos” links) :

    (Oh, looks like it’s now being rehabilitated as a casino and luxury hotel.)

  5. This is a very common thing all over Egypt, since you don’t have to pay tax on a building until it’s done. So builders will put up a shell and then sell rooms or memberships or whatever, and use that money to complete it. People buy apartments literally years, sometimes decades, before they’ll ever be able to live in them. It’s accepted business practice.

  6. Wrt #10, what’s even better is that the Cairene apartments will often be finished in radically different styles from the outside. The (semi-)finished buildings look like a hodgepodge of design choices.

    As for “rotting”, I’m not sure I’d characterize bare concrete structures as such. At worst, the exposed rebar will rust. They’d be able to finish work on these structures if they so desired.

  7. If I had any time and skill I would turn that into an awesome Counter Strike map. And of course it would have to be bombing missions.

  8. Actually these are probably not abandoned structures at all. They just “look” abandoned when in reality they are just not finished yet. I am a photographer and I was just in Egypt last week wondering the same question. Apparently, in Egypt when you buy property in many instances you are required by law to show some sort of ‘improvement’ on the land within a short amount of time (IE: build something on it to prove you will use the land productively) or the Government is liable to take the land from you. So in many cases when someone buys property they quickly start their building to prove they will do *something* with the property, and then as they generally don’t have the funds to complete the whole project immediatly, then wait around, sometimes years to complete the project. That is why you only see “abandoned” concrete skeletons and not buildings half-built with partially complete interior or non-concrete construction. It is enough to leave the concrete shell in the desert- as the concrete can be left unprotected in the desert for many years with very little wear or tear.

  9. This is so cool! It reminds me of “Gamma World”, a roleplaying game from TSR I played as a kid.

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