Grand Hotel Locarno
THE ABANDONED HOTEL IN SWITZERLAND
The Grand Hotel Locarno opened in 1876. It was considered a jewel of the Belle Époque for the then emerging tourism in Locarno. The hotel even made history. In 2005, the Grand Hotel was closed for good.
Designed by architect Francesco Galli, the Grand Hotel was built between 1874 and 1876. The ‘Grand Hotel Muralto’ as it was named, was the first luxury hotel in Ticino. The hotel, built on a property of almost 10 thousand square meters, has a strategic position between the railway station and the Piazza Grande. The arcades surrounding the hotel’s entrance and today locked by a fence and flanked by a McDonald’s on the left and a clothes shop on the right.
Pact of Locarno
In 1925, several country delegations stayed here. In fact, the hotel hosted the peace conference that led to the Pact of Locarno. They marked a dramatic improvement in the political climate of Western Europe after the First World War.
Locarno Film Festival
In the mid-1940s, the hotel was home to the Locarno Film Festival. At the time, 1,200 viewers could be seated in the Grand Hotel’s garden. Even after 1971, when evening screenings were moved to the Piazza Grande, the hotel remained the center of social and nocturnal festival life until its closure.
The building was closed in 2005. Today the hotel is fenced off, and the windows are boarded. The building is not listed as a historical monument, but some objects inside do still hold a certain value. A few years ago the furniture was eventually auctioned off, most of those pieces found new homes in the region, except for the giant Murano chandelier hanging in the staircase. Many plans to reconvert the hotel never saw the light of day. Eventually, in 2021, the Swiss Artisa Group acquired the Grand Hotel to renovate and open it again. Renovation will cost around 100 million euros.
I visited the Grand Hotel Locarno in 2021. Follow this link for more abandoned hotels around Europe.