LIVING IN EUROPE – CYPRUS
Living in Europe we are constantly looking for that next holiday abroad to another country. Whether it is to discover new places or cultures or just a new adventure, we are always thristy for more.
But just how many of us really truely explore our own countries? Do we really know what our country has to offer us?
Now bear with me and I will get to the point about the hotel I mention in my title!
Well, I for one have not seen all of Cyprus even though I have live here most of my life. Being a tourist in your own city, state or the whole country is not that bad of an idea!
FINDING OUT ABOUT THE HUNTED HOTEL
A couple of years ago, while watching the discovery channel, I realised just how much of Cyprus I hadn’t see. I found out from the channel that Cyprus had one of the most famous hotels back in the 1900’s. It was a hotel fit for Kings and Queens! This hotel was called Berengaria Hotel.
The whole history about this hotel intrigued me and so I decided I wanted to go and see it for myself and explore the building and the grounds! I couldn’t believe that we had been to its location so many times and never not once seen it or even hear about it.
First I wanted to research some more and also see where exactly it was on the map so as to plan our route to get there. Then we were off to explore. But first, let’s see a bit about the history of the building, owners and the ending for this wonderful hotel that is not so glorious any more.
LOCATION OF THE HOTEL
The grand hotel, that was for royals (so to say), is located in the village of Prodromos in the mountains of Olympus, hidden between a thick pine forest. It cannot be seen from the road or the center of the village, nor by driving around the village. You can only see it once you take the road that leads to the hotels entrance. You see it is hidden well between the pine forest!
It was a hidden gem, waiting for people rest in a luxurious and grand surrounding, away from the hustle and bustle of their city or country. The majestic hotel at the peak of the mountain was exactly what the famous and royals needed a vacation in the mountains.
Mr. Kokkalos (the owner) knew that holidays in the mountains were gaining popularity and with his time overseas he incorporated that knowledge into the design of the Hotel but also in almost every aspect of the hotel itself.
HISTORY OF VERENGARIA
It started build in 1927 but actually ceased by 1929 due to the lack of iron available but also due to the heavy winter that compromised the buildings structure. The damage to the base and structure up to that point was so compromised that they had to tear it down and start from scratch! The re-build started in 1930 and Berengaria Hotels was finally finished by 1931.
THE OWNER AND HOW THE HOTEL GOT IT’S NAME
The owner, Mr. John Kokkalos who was born and raised in Prodromos Village, had hired a British architect to put his vision down on paper and be able to finally build the Hotel he always wanted.
He named the Hotel after the Princess of Navarre, Berengaria or Berengaria, who later became the Queen of England.
IN THE GLORY DAYS
Back in the day this hotel was known as the hotel for Kings. They had several Kings and other royalty visitors on a regular basis. Some were even famous guests like the King of Egypt Farouk, the president of Israel at that time and many more!
They used to have dances and balls in and even the locals would go up to the hotel and spend the weekend there. It was such a grand hotel that it was known globally. Berengaria’s peak was from the 50’s up to the 70’s. Business was booming!
PASSED ALONG TO THE SONS
After the death of Mr. Kokkalos, the hotel along with everything else he owned passed along to his 3 sons. They were to share the properties equally. In the beginning all was well; they even added the pool to the Hotel in order to attract more guests.
Yes, the pool was not in the original plans, and I guess for a really good reason. As it turned out the position of the pool was not a great idea as there was very little sunlight shining on the pool and made the water too cold. Thus not many guests used the pool.
Over the years less people were visiting as there were so many mishaps and stories going around. These were the stories of deaths and hauntings. We do not know if all of these are true but if you were to visit this place now, as it is today, you will definitely believe them.
The first know story of the hauntings was said that a woman was found by her husband dead in her room and as he could not bear the thought of going on to live without her, he hung himself over the right balcony of the lobby entrance to the hotel.
Some say they were on their honeymoon, others say that the hotel was cursed since it was an unexplained death. As for the husband, well, poor guy if it was indeed his honeymoon! This story is so tragic and so very shocking. It is believed that the couple’s souls still linger in the hotel till this day.
The second story had it that an aristocratic girl drowned in the pool of the hotel. Locals say they can hear her and see her still wandering within the hotel!
These are the main 2 stories we often hear, but there are so many more that who knows in the end which ones are true and which ones are not.
DOORS CLOSING OF THE HOTEL
After all these incidences the hotel started to lose more and more guests. Soon they were operating at a loss and that is when the son’s close the doors of Berengaria Hotel. The majestic, royal hotel was shut in 1984.
It remained closed for 30 years. It was later looted and all the furniture and décor pieces were gone! The building till this day stands although it’s declared unsafe. The now owners even have a sign up warning people not to go inside, but the mystery that lies within this once glorious gem of a hotel makes more and more people visit it every year.
Without any renovations done to this building the building is just left there to crumble to pieces. A once so glorified masterpiece of a building is left to fall to pieces.
I personally have been going every year since 2013 and it is just so sad seeing the building falling and getting worse every year that goes by. I encourage anyone who plans to visit Cyprus to definitely go and see Berengaria Hotel before it is too late.
Here are some photos of my visits over the years. (Will be visiting again today. I will try and take more photos and better ones today and upload some in my next post)
Comment on your thoughts about this being a haunted hotel. Are you a believer or not?