‘Ghost hotel’ gets €35 mln makeover

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The once-proud Berengaria Hotel is one step closer to reviving its past glories as plans for a €35 mln revamp are underway by a Cypriot development company that acquired the property in 2020.

Closed since 1984, the property was abandoned to the elements with little to no interest from investors to take on what is considered one of the most demanding and risky projects on the island.

Earlier this week, the property owner, Prime Property Cyprus, presented its plans to breathe new life into the ‘Hotel of Kings and legends’ as it was once known.

The hotel bearing the name of King Richard’s wife, is expected to reopen in 2026 under the name Berengaria Luxury Boutique Hotel.

Project manager Vasos Kaouros said that preparations are underway, with the team of architects designing the revamp and some housing units which will be erected in the surrounding area.

“Our goal is to have the hotel ready to open its doors by 2026, reviving the hotel and its old glory.”

Architect Maria Akkelidou said the project consists of the listed Berengaria, which will reopen as a high-end hotel with new wellness and hospitality areas, independent villas and maisonettes.

“The source of inspiration for the design was the pine landscape, the hotel’s location, dominating the highest point of the hill, the textures and colours of the local stone, the characteristic aroma of the pine trees and the silence of the forest, the diffused light and the distant visual escapes.”

The Berengaria is situated in Prodromos, Troodos’ highest mountain village.

Akkelidou said the project’s primary goal is “the thorough restoration of the historic building and return to its original form and glory, through a careful study and maintenance, while creating a modern hotel of high standards”.

The project’s managers have submitted their application for a building permit, “hoping it will be issued as soon as possible so the project can take off”.

The renovation cost amounts to €20 mln for the hotel, while €15 mln will go for developing housing units and villas in the surrounding area.

Thanos Hotels & Resorts Group has taken on a consulting role (Technical Services), advising architects on features and amenities needed.

Once the most luxurious hotel in Cyprus, it was named in honour of Queen Berengaria, wife of Richard the Lionheart, who were married in Limassol in 1191.

The stone-built mountain hotel opened in 1931 and closed in 1984, its rooms and halls that once entertained royalty became home to dust, graffiti, and exposure to the elements.

Berengaria was an unofficial and a rather dangerous tourist attraction with its share of myths and ghost stories surrounding it.

There are plenty of ghoulish stories to choose from; A former manager who killed himself is said to wander the empty halls in search of new victims, a merchant’s wife supposedly found dead in the swimming pool seeks revenge and a fair maiden dressed in white linen is said to be visible only during dusk leaning against one of the windows.

It is estimated that some 200 tourists a week visit the hotel – situated at an altitude of 1,400 meters – attracted by the building’s architecture and macabre history.

The new revamp hopes to attract tourists of a different kind.