The abandoned hotel in the Martell valley in South Tyrol

This article is about Urban Exploration. I don’t give out addresses or coordinates in public. Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints!

Somewhere in the Martell valley in South Tyrol, surrounded by three-thousand meter high mountains, you can find an 85 years old luxury hotel. But no guest has slept here since World War II. For about 50 years now, the ruin has been silently decaying.

The bulding seems quite modern even by today’s standards, but in reality it was designed back in 1933 by italian star architect Gio Ponti and completed in 1935. It’s quite clear that “normal” people wouldn’t have been able to afford one of the more than 250 beds in this hotel – they place had its own post office, butchery, bakery, barber shop and massage salon, reading rooms with open fireplaces, a sauna and a bar. Guests could (try to learn to) ski on the slopes.

But the idyll didn’t last long. The german Wehrmacht occupied the building in 1943 and used it as a recreation area for wounded soldiers. In 1952 an italian shipowner bought the property, extended it and had the facade painted in red instead of green. How much better the green facade must have fit into the surroundings, the bright red building felt like a giant foreign object…

Many of the locals didn’t like the hotel either way. The green facade reminded them of a “barn”, and they’re still looking for a final solution for the red ruin. Since 1989 quite a number of architecture students have tried to come up with designs, but nothing stuck and nothing has happened.

It is unclear why the italien shipowner was unable to re-open the hotel in 1952. According to one story, his son died in an accident. According to another one, he didn’t get a permit due to growing concerns regarding the preservation of nature. Maybe he simply found out that, just seven years after the end of World War II, the demand for luxury rooms would not have been high enough yet.

In 1966 ownership was transfered to the Fuchs family, owners of a local brewery. But supposedly there was no way to get a construction permit in a now-protected nature reserve, so the ruin couldn’t even be torn down.This explanation would probably make sense, the excavators and trucks would probably block the tiny street for months and generate a lot of noise.

The was no security and no barrier. A cow herd had found their way into the inner yard and grazed with great calm. The cows weren’t shy, some were even a bit too curious for my taste…

The small building has garage doors, this was probably where the guests could park their cars. Another sign that this was a luxury hotel once – only about 10.000 new cars per year were registered in Italy in 1940.

A small transformer station is located in a small room on the outside.

The building is split into two wings. The one goes to the front, this is were the former bedrooms and other rooms for guests and staff were located. The other wing goes to the back and consists of large, empty and unplastered rooms.

I don’t know if the back wing had already been built in 1935 or if it was built in 1952 or even later, and why it didn’t look as if it had been completed. But I think that it could hardly have been in this state since 1935, the rich guests would probably not have accepted that they can look into large unplastered rooms from the corridor.

Several large rooms are located on the ground floor, probably the former dining and reading rooms. It’s hard to say, though. A married couple supposedly worked here as janitors after 1952 and kept the bar running for passing hikers, but in the 1980s the hotel was already a ruin. At some point between then and now most of the interior decoration was removed, stolen, or damaged by vandalism.

Probably quite progressive back then: an electric oven.

In the background you can see one of the open fireplaces. The stove was probably part of the kitchen once, but it didn’t look like it had always been standing in this particular place in the middle of the room…

This small electric stove (the actual hot plates are missing) was probably part of the kitchen as well.

Looks like it was quite gloomy in the corridors in front of the reception…

Supposedly you could still find old postcards and other artifacts in the 1980s, but I couldn’t see anything like that during my visit. But there were a lot of traces of vandalism.

I don’t think this stove had always been standing in the middle of this corridor. Who or what is moving around old stoves in this abandoned hotel? 😯

I followed the stairs to the nex level…

It felt as if the bedrooms had been comparably big. Vandals and Graffiti artists had found their way here as well, but some of the the Graffitis were quite nice and not just scribblings. Some of the empty rooms maybe even looked better with a bit of art on the wall than without it.

Why was man created on the last day?

I have no idea if this is part of the Graffiti art, but it felt like it had already been there before. It is a german translation of a quote from the Talmud, the full english quote goes like this:

Why was man created on the last day? So that, when pride takes hold of him, he can be told: God created gnat before you.”

The small bulding with the garage doors is in the front, the back wing with the unplastered rooms to the right.

I was quite surprised about the sanitary installations. Sure, toilet tanks like this one do not exist anymore, but the tiles and toilet bowls didn’t look like the 60 years they were old.

Looking through one of the corridors. Quite creepy, and what was that noise? Another visitor? Just one of the cows? Or maybe the stove-moving ghost which is is the real reason why this hotel hasn’t been used since 1952? 😯

I climbed more stairs. The upper floors were in quite bad shape, there weren’t a lot of interesting things to see there.

The attic looked like it too hadn’t been completed in 1952. The Fuchs family supposedly had the roof fixed after 1966 to keep the ruin from decaying.

This would have been the staircase to the basement, where one can supposedly still find a cooling chamber. Sadly I was interrupted by other voices in the building and disappeared as swiftly and quietly as possible…

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