Mysterious Grand Hotel Orologio: why it was closed?

 

Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

Abano Terme, Italy: In Easter we visited Abano Terme for a long spa weekend. In the centre of Abano Terme there is a fascinating old hotel called Grand Hotel Orologio. It is the most beautiful building in this little town, far fancier than any other building. I am sure it had a glorious past, but why it was abandoned?

This beautiful neoclassical building served once as a famous casino. You can still admire its architectural magnificence, though the facade is getting rusty and losing its paint. I found this hotel, and its garden so fascinating and interesting. I probably looked like Nancy Drew while sneaking around and trying to see closer. I would have loved to look inside, but of course there was no-one around to let me in. It is still unclear to me, why and when the hotel was closed. But it is obvious, the place has been closed for some time now.

All the information I have been able to find is a texts praising the buildings’ glory and mourning the fact that it was abandoned. I can’t find much about the hotel’s history or any pictures of the time that it was still in use, but I will continue searching…

I hope this hotel will open one day again, and I will then definitively come back!

Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

Grand Hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

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23 thoughts on “Mysterious Grand Hotel Orologio: why it was closed?

  1. I know, and I hope some would open a hotel again in this one. There are over 100 hotels in a very small area in Abano Terme. Most of the other hotels are in pretty normal, not that fancy buildings. I don’t understand why the most beautiful one, in the best location is the empty one?

  2. I stayed here in the late 90’s on a high school trip to Europe. The pictures I have are not excellent but I remember this place being beautiful.

  3. I stayed here a number of times in the early 60’s with my mother and my grandparents, and again a few times in later years. I believe it closed at least 5 or 10 years ago. What a magnificent hotel. I am not aware of it ever having been a casino, but it might have been many years earlier.

    It had two swimming pools, a spa for the hot mud treatments that my grandmother took for her knees, a dining room the size of a ballroom (seen from outside in your 5th photo above). When we would go for dinner, my grandfather would whisper to me “that’s the former prime minister of Greece at that table”, and we would exchange subtle nods with them as we walked by.

    An era long gone.

  4. Pingback: Travel year 2011: My top 10 destinations | travel+style

  5. The Grand Hotel Orologio was bought by Sheraton in the late 80s and named Sheraton Grand Hotel Orologio. Sheraton thought it would be the ideal place to host tourists directed to Venice. What a mistake! They did not realize that Abano was too far from Venice. The financial results were not good and they decided to close it. Since then, nobody came to take it over.

  6. I have lived at Gran Hotel Orologio four months every summer for five years when I was a teenager, in the early ’60s. My father was the hotel pianist and maestro di orchestra.
    Many memories of my boyhood life are associated with it. For instance, I remember the shock of the news about Marylin Monroe suicide (but was it really a suicide?).
    At that time, Orologio was by far the grandest hotel of Abano, and one of the grandest in all Italy. Then the economic crisis to the late ’70s hit, together with the passing away of very many of its traditional clientele: aged and very wealthy aristocrats “passing the waters” in Abano for many weeks at a time. The hotel was acquired by an American owners/investors (Sheraton) who – with typical American arrogance and complete misunderstanding and disregard for the realty of a foreign environment – sough to convert it to mass tourism (for people heading to a short visit Venice?!): it was the coup de grace.

  7. Thank you Roberto. How interesting to hear your comment and experience! It must have been a wonderful place in early 60s. Sad that Sheraton couldn’t make the hotel work, it could have so much potential…

  8. I have just returned from a trip to Abano and stayed in the Trieste and Victoria Hotel opposite to Orologio. I was also fascinated with the saddness and grandeur of the of this special building. I took photographs and one day I hope to make a drawing or painting of its architecture and dreamlike quality. I could’nt get much information from local people I talked to. Please let me know if anyone has further details of the original architect/ family/history etc

  9. Peter (and everybody else interested):
    albeit belatedly, I would be glad to share with you some pictures (that I have recovered and digitized only recently) which might interest you: the small music band / group / orchestra of Grand Hotel Orologio in the early ’60s (it was my father’s group, Dino Molteni).
    Unfortunately, there appears to be no way to post pictures in this blog (how backward!). If you send me your e-mail address, I’ll send to you. Mine is roberto.molteni,qb54@alice.it.

  10. Good evening. I have only just come across this blog, which explains wny I am now replying. I actually lived at The Gran Orologio for a while in 1968 – 1969, not in one of is splended suites but in a maid’s room at the back of the building. A poor student, I made friends with Loredana,
    the daughter of the hotel manager & was offered this very cheap accommodation. I have a photo of Loredana (who was beautiful) & me in Piazza San Marco, Venice. I can’t for the life of me remember Loreadana’s surname. I often wondered what happened to her & her family.

    Roberto might remember the name of the manager when his father played there?

    It’s a modern tragedy to have such a beautiful place left abandoned while glitzy, plastic hotels abound in Abano Terme. All I can say is “thanks for the memory”.

  11. Hi,

    I remember Loredana.
    Her father was the manager of the hotel, their name was DeGiorgis (they were of Greek origin I believe).

    Michael

  12. Yes, it was deGiorgis. Thank you Michael. It’s stramge how the mind plays tricks. I would love to find Loredana, I wonder what she is doing now? Also a mutual friend from Abano, Gianni Trevisan. I’ll be in the area in September & I think I’ll have to go to Abano municipio to see if they can help me. Meanwhile, thanks again for you fast reply. Much appreciated

  13. If you google loredana degiorgis, one of the results gives a phone number and address in Abano… might be her?

    Michael

  14. I just did what you suggested & found it, so once more thank you. I’ll write to her & hopefully it will be the same Loredana in which case I hope we can get together in the summer. Good of you to take the trouble.

    Sally

  15. Yes, and if memory helps me, I think he was the “Commendatore” De Giorgis.

  16. I would just like to thank Michael. I wrote to Loredana as he suggested & I received a reply to say she is indeed the daughter of di Giorgis. We are meeting up in September, 39 years after our last summer together.

  17. That’s great, glad to hear that worked out.

    Please tell her hello from someone who stayed at the hotel multiple times in the 60’s and who remembers her and her parents (I doubt she would remember me, Michael Jacobson, or my grandparents the Wulmans from so long ago).

    Michael

  18. Michael, I did meet Loredana & spent a wonderful 24 hours with her & her delightful husband. Their house is right next to the garden of the Orologio which is indeed in a very sad state. It’s now owned by a family who bought it from Sheraton & closed it immediately, allowing it to deteriorate over many years. There it stands in the pedestrianised centre of Abano as testimony to a glorious past but neglected. Thank you for putting me in touch with Loredana – I told her about how I found her.

  19. Bravagirl, So glad to hear that worked out nicely!
    Really a pity that this magnificent hotel is just decaying, although for now better than being knocked down and replaced by big apartment buildings.
    I would like to think that someone, someday, might be able to capitalize on nostalgia and restore it, though not very likely…

    Regards,

    Michael

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