During our stay in Tenerife, my friend and I had observed a rundown hotel across the road from us. The walls were covered in graffiti and it appeared to be empty. The swimming pool was a dry basin, the windows were gaping holes, and I assumed it was unfinished.
On our last day, we decided to go for a walk. The town we were staying in was small and very soon we reached a dead-end street. We were about to turn back and go home when we noticed a door in the wire-mesh fence surrounding the hotel. Not only that, but the door was wide open as if inviting us inside. The temptation was too great to resist.
We crept through, feeling not unlike Veerle and Kris from the ‘Forbidden Spaces’ trilogy. We certainly weren’t the only ones who had visited, however: the walls were covered with graffiti. Broken mattresses and litter were strewn haphazardly across the floor and I even spotted the remnants of a barbeque, complete with grill, ketchup and abandoned burger buns.
We rounded a corner in the courtyard and came to the stairwell. There were no railings on the stairs and rubble was everywhere. As we ascended I was expecting every moment that something would give way beneath my feet.
Halfway up the stairs, we decided to take a break and explore the hallways. The fussy salmon pink of the paintwork made a strange contrast with the rubble coating the floor and the cavernous holes in the walls. We snuck into what should have been a bedroom, but its only features were a toilet, bath and precarious-looking balcony. It was absolutely devoid of anything personal that would give away the hotel’s secrets. I wanted to know why it had been abandoned, why they wouldn’t bother opening a hotel that seemed so nearly finished, but all evidence had vanished long ago, presumably with the squatters and locals who used it as a barbeque venue.
We carried on up the stairs and, to our delight, found that we emerged on the roof, face to face with the artificial structure supporting the brash red claim of ‘Merlin Resort.’
The views were stunning. This was the tallest building for miles around, and we could see everything. On one side, the skeleton of another hotel and the dust bowl of an abandoned swimming pool looked like ruins excavated from a desert.
The roof itself was not without its points of interest: there was a sunlounger, a metal object which looked like the wheel of a giant cruise ship and these concrete structures. I’m still not entirely sure what they were, but as we walked among them it felt like we were in some kind of bizarre astroturfed lunar landscape.
Eventually we left, stopping only to explore a couple more rooms on our way down. As we crept out we were horrified to see a man sitting in front of the door, frightened that he would get us into trouble. However, he simply gave us an unconcerned glance and continued eating his sandwich.
The next day we flew back to England, and for a while as I swung back into the rhythm of everyday life I forgot all about the abandoned hotel. It occurred to me again in a spare moment and, on a whim, I looked it up. One of the results the internet yielded was this:
So the hotel was not simply unfinished as I’d thought. It had been in use; that barren pit of a swimming pool had been filled with water, the rooms we crept through had been inhabited by laughing families on holiday. And the creepiest thing of all? You could still book a holiday there…