The Abandoned Soviet Beach Resort of Kobuleti, Georgia
The resort of Kobuleti, on Georgia’s Black Sea Coast is home to some of the most eerie and spooky abandoned hotels we’ve come across. Built to accommodate holidaying workers from across the ex-Soviet Union, these multi story hotels and apartments would have housed thousands of holidaymakers in their heyday.
What is left today are the crumbling facades of once glorious hotels and their facilities – swimming pools, gymnasiums, restaurants and bars. The surrounding lawns and parkland’s have overgrown and are now occupied by bamboo shoots, cows and the odd goat. Check out our gallery below.
The grey beach skyline at Kobuleti stretches for many kilometres and would have been packed with Soviet tourists in its heyday. Today, the majority of the visitors are from Tbilisi and they reside in the many small guest houses that line the boulevard behind the hotels.
The Hotel Colchis is in very good condition and we are not sure of when it actually closed as there are some older websites that advertise it.
The hotel was built in the 1970’s and was under the ownership of the USSR until it was privatised in 1992. It is unclear as to how long it stayed open after this.
While there are some broken windows, mould and rot, the hotel is in good condition and was bought by the Georgian Minister for Energy (ex-AC Milan player Kakha Kaladze) for an estimated $1.5 million.
The indoor swimming pool at the Hotel Colchis.
Conor and the Colchis Hotel in the background
The abandoned sites are very easy to access, and despite being extremely dangerous some of them have no surrounding fences.
The shattered lobby area of the Hotel Colchis. The main entrance to the hotel is still guarded so unfortunately we were unable to gain access
The logo of the Soviet Union tourist agency, Intourist, is still seen on panes of glass around the hotels reception area.
Bamboo, which is a popular plant in the region, has made its way into many parts of the hotel where it grown taller than some of the surrounding buildings
While Kobuleti still has a small domestic tourist industry, it is left mostly to small guest houses and some hotels which have sprung up thanks to new investment from the Georgian government. The unmaintained beach however has become a stretch of grey pebbles and plastic bags while the old boardwalk has been left to the elements of the Black Sea and has been broken up.
It is less than 1 hour to Batumi – which seems like a different world.
The remarkable part is that the Hotel Colchis (previously run by the Soviet State tourist agency Intourist) is still in quite good condition and is guarded by very tough security guards. Unfortunately our total lack of Georgian (or Russian) meant we could not gain entry or take photos inside the lobby, which had a huge grimy and dusty chandelier still hanging from the ceiling. It’s difficult to know when these hotels were abandoned but originally I imagined it would have been between 1990 – 1992 when Intourist was privatised by the new Russian government.
However after some digging I found a couple of old websites still listing the hotel. After some more confusing Google translating I found that the site was bought in 2013 by ex-AC Milan footballer Kakha Kaladze. The football-cum-politician )now Minister for Energy) bought the site for roughly $1.5 million and had plans to refurbish it, But with the current Russian situation and the dire Georgian economy I really can’t see this coming to fruition any time soon.
This former holiday complex is further on the Hotel Colchis and at first we thought it had only been half built but on further inspection we could see that the walls inside the rooms had wallpaper and paint, very strange.
We could not find any information on this building but we believe it was a holiday apartment complex in Soviet times.
The individual wallpapers and paints are still clearly visible in this building
Entry is forbidden and the taller buildings are closed off.
Young calves and the odd goat now graze grounds that were one gardens, tennis courts, soccer fields and swimming pools
One of the oddest features in Kobuleti is this giant statue of a man and his horse and cart. Originally it was two horses but we have no idea what happened the second one.
The statue is made from concrete and is hollow in the centre so we can only imagine it was imported from somewhere else in the ex-Soviet Union
The statue is next to the only new hotel in Kobuleti. We believe this was built as part of a new venture to get life back into Kobuleti. But the location was odd as it is far from the beach and any shops or restaurants. And I’m sure the freaky statue outside would turn customers away!
Life is slow in Kobuleti, apart from trucks trundling through on their way to Tbilisi or Batumi. Many people have goats and cows in their gardens. Needless to say the veal kebabs are delicious!
One of the many crumbling homes on the Kobuleti beachfront. Much like their Tbilisi counterparts, we’ve no idea how their still standing…and still occupied.
The plans for the refurbishment of the eerie Colchis Hotel. It may be a while before we this actually happen…
Kobuleti is accessible by train and Marshurka from Tbilisi (5 hours) and Batumi (1 hour). It is a great location for backpacking as there is free camping along the beach, with loads of firewood around the forest. There are restaurants along the main road serving gorgeous food at amazing prices. . Shops and internet cafes are also available.