Bleak Scenes

Abandoned places, lesser-known attractions, and assorted oddities

Hotel El Mar


The El Mar is an abandoned beachfront love hotel in Otaru, Hokkaido. It's almost next door to the much larger and more luxurious Hotel Luna Coast, which may explain its demise.

I explored it in August 2014. This was the height of the tourist season, and there were a lot of people about, but I think I managed to get in without being observed. At least, if anyone did see me they didn't do anything about it.

All but two of the rooms were in a single building, with a large parking garage on the ground floor, and separate staircases leading to the rooms above. Two other rooms were in a smaller building nearby. An outdoor car park in the rear was provided for vehicles that were too large for the indoor parking spaces.

The rooms had been padlocked shut, but someone had removed the locks from some of them, so I went up to have a look.

The mattresses had been removed, but most of the furniture and fittings were still in place. I think the hotel was abandoned quite recently so the rooms were in relatively good condition. The first room that I entered was on the beach side of the hotel. The ceiling was starting to collapse due to water damage, so the roof must have sprung a leak. From what I've seen, water can quickly damage a property beyond economical repair once the roof loses its integrity.

The second room was still dry and in better condition. The window looked out over a crowded beach, and there were people nearby. Since the room was quite dark, I didn't think anyone would notice me as long as I didn't get too close to the window.

The third room was on the street side of the hotel. It had two levels, with the bedroom and bathroom on the lower level. The window next to the bed looked into the interior of the garage. It was much darker than it looks in the photograph, which was taken using a long exposure. A staircase led up to a single large room, which I realised was inside the little tower in the middle of the building.