The Coco Palms, Kauai, HI, USA
Everyday on the way up the hill to the house I was living in I would pass this abandoned, condemned hotel called the Coco Palms.
I looked into it a little further and found out that the Coco Palms was the very first resort on Kauai, built in 1953 and back in the day it was the hottest place around. Frank Sinatra stayed there. It was one of Elvis Presley’s favorite spots and he actually shot the wedding scene from his film “Blue Hawaii” there. And before it closed down a the most modest rooms went for over $400 a night
That all changed when Hurricane Iniki hit in 1992. Iniki was a Category 4 hurricane and it’s eye passed directly over the island. Because of the massive devastation across the whole island, the insurance companies went bankrupt and as a result the Coco Palms was never repaired. It was just sold and resold as it’s condition worsened and worsened.
So one day 16 years later I just happened to be walking by and I asked the security guard if I could come in and take some pictures and not only did he let me, he was nice enough to give me an extensive tour of the entire 18.8 acre facility. His name was Wayne and it turns out he had been working there for over 40 years. So he was there during the glory days and after the hurricane hit, he became the property’s sole caretaker.
It was really an incredible experience, and when I left he gave me one of the original room keys, a brochure and a map of the grounds. Definitely one of the big highlights from the trip.