By Josh Saunders
An urban explorer has revealed the royal hotel dubbed ‘the biggest in Japan’ left to decay on a paradise volcanic island for 13 years.
Bob Thissen described the contrastingly luxurious and rotting spot as one of his ‘favourite abandoned hotels’ he’s been to.
He visited the Hachijo Royal Hotel three months ago (JAN), which initially opened its doors in 1963 – as an eccentric and stunning spot.
After travel restrictions were lifted upon the Japanese, he claims the location became less popular and closed in 2006, due to people travelling abroad instead.
Now the ‘eccentric’ and ‘lavish’ accommodation with stunning views from every corner of the island, has seen mould spread to furniture, ferns growing inside and ceilings collapsing.
Designed off Greek and French baroque influences, the luxury spot now clashes with peeling paint and decay in parts, to other spots near-perfectly preserved.
Bob, from Heerlen, The Netherlands, said: “The hotel is located on a very beautiful volcanic subtropical island almost next to the beach and is surrounded by palm trees. The view from every corner is stunning.
“The hotel is by far the most eccentric, luxurious and biggest looking hotel on the island and it’s a pity to see it in an abandoned state.
“It’s one of my favorite abandoned hotels in the world.
“It was strange to see some parts really well preserved – without peeling paint and other signs of decay.
“While other parts were totally decayed with mould, ferns growing inside, rotten furniture and even some ceilings came down.
“Some parts in the roof are probably damaged, allowing water to get inside.
“The public rooms are in a French Baroque style, with a grand staircase, chandlers, pillars and ornaments on the wall and ceiling.
“There are two kinds of rooms – you have the traditional Ryokan rooms, which were very basic.
“Then you also have the European rooms which have luxurious furniture, beds and a bigger bathroom.
“The ‘penthouse’ or the most luxurious room on the top reminded me of a French castle.
“It even had a fake fireplace and a lot of baroque inspired furniture.”
The Hachijo Royal Hotel, which was also known as the Oriental Resort Hotel and just over an hour’s flight from Tokyo, has been left to decay naturally.
In an unusual melting pot of cultures, the locations features large fountains, Greek statues and pillars, along with other charming designs.
Bob believes asbestos has made it more expensive to demolish the site.
He said: “You can see they put a lot of effort to make this the best hotel on the island. It was also stunning to see everything was left behind.
“Nothing has been removed from this hotel since it was closed in 2006, in other countries you often see that the furniture is auctioned.
“Really strange, because even now, there is a lot of stuff which can be still used.
“I once spoke to the owner of an abandoned location and he told me it had to ‘die in a natural way’.
“It’s a common and sad thing to see that the oldest and greatest looking hotels are getting abandoned or demolished and modern and ugly hotels are being built.”
Bob has travelled the world documenting his favourite abandoned haunts for YouTube Channel, Exploring the Unbeaten Path.
He ranks this as one of the favourite hotels he has visited.
Bob said: “I was impressed by this hotel because of the architecture, design and many details found inside the hotel.
“It’s funny to see the hotel has Greek and French Baroque influences. I think it was associated with luxury by the Japanese people.
“You didn’t expect an European looking hotel on a Japanese island. You can find big fountains, Greek statues and pillars outside.”
For more information visit: www.bobthissen.com.