The Gávea Tourist Hotel, also known locally as Hotel Esqueleto (Skeleton Hotel), is located in the heights of Rio de Janeiro, between the districts of Gávea and São Conrado. It is a ruined hotel, abandoned and never completed, located near the Casa das Canoas de Niemeyer, almost lost in the forest between the mountains.
The Gávea Tourist Hotel is a luxury hotel complex, designed by Décio da Silva Pacheco in 1953. The location was privileged, giving residents a unique view of the São Conrado Sea and the mountains, overlooking the Pedra da Gávea. This was supposed to make Hotel Gávea the most luxurious complex in the city. Work began in the 1960s, interrupted several times by the economic situation, until the company went bankrupt due to a real estate speculation affair in 1972. The project was transferred to an American company, which also went bankrupt in 1977.
The unfinished building has been abandoned for more than 40 years in the middle of the forest, which has reclaimed the land. Although the hotel has never been opened, it has been used several times, especially in the early stages of its construction. In 1965, for example, New Year’s Eve was celebrated there on its sky terrace. A cable car system (since robbed) had also been installed. Finally, in 2011, the hotel and its entire area were sold and a reconstruction project was planned to turn it into a hotel for the 2014 World Cup. However, the project was never restarted and is still used informally today.
An abandoned concrete skeleton
The luxury hotel is only a large uniform concrete structure. This long bar of almost 125m, has a very simple modular structure, giving it this grid in the facade. The building has never received a covering, and this apparent structure gave it the nickname of Skeleton Hotel. With its 16 floors, it reaches a height of almost 50m. Its surface area of 22,000 square metres should have allowed it to have almost 500 rooms, a restaurant area and a leisure area. Today the hotel remains abandoned in the middle of the trees, like a paradise lost and gone, coming straight out of J. G. Ballard’s High Rise novel.