Monday, June 6, 2016

The abandoned Sheraton resort on Cook Islands

This abandoned Sheraton resort can be found on the south coast of Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook Islands with a population of 10,500, about 70% of the country's population. The resort dates back to 1987 when the Cook Islands government signed a deal with an Italian bank to finance the resort. The government acted as guarantors for the $36 million USD loan while Sheraton signed up to manage the property.

Construction work for the 5-star 200-suite hotel, including a golf course began in 1990 but it ended abruptly when the resort was 80% finished. The project run out of money when most of the $36 million disappeared down a black hole carved out by the mafia and other crooks. As a result, the country’s finances were crippled and taxpayers are still saddled with the interest bill. There have been suggestions about possible redevelopment of the resort but nothing has moved forward as the issue of who owns the hotel has been stuck in the courts for years.

Many Rarotongans believe that the project was doomed from the beginning as the resort's site was cursed in 1911 following a bitter argument over ownership of the land. At the project’s official launch, the grandson of the woman who cursed the land appeared dressed as a high priest intoning the resurrection of his grandmother’s curse. Then, he slammed his spear into a rock onto which a plaque had just been unveiled by the Prime Minister, marking the beginning of the Sheraton project. When the rock split to ground level, the locals saw it as a sign that the resort was still cursed and doomed.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Spam comments will not be posted. Thank you.