Hotel del Salto
Written By: RA
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
A place can house many things; first that comes to mind being people. But a place, beyond its human inhabitants, can also be a home to lingering pasts, dark secrets and, once the humans pass away, lost spirits. Such is the fate of many infrastructures that last long enough to become entwined with its history.
In the case of the recently rehabilitated Hotel del Salto in Bogotá, Colombia, its torrential downfall to becoming an abandoned hotel and eventual suicide spot implies a few more secrets and spirits stuck within its walls than others.
End of a grand era
In the roaring 1920s, wealthy architect Carlo Tapias decided to build a grandiose mansion atop the Tequendama Falls. There were rumors of the land it was built on top of being cursed because of its bloody past during the Spanish Inquisition. But curse notwithstanding, the grand residence hosted extravagant parties filled with drinking, luxury and gluttony. It became a shining beacon sitting atop the allegedly cursed falls by the edge of a well-known dangerous road.
By 1928, Tapias decided to make the grand mansion an equally opulent hotel by putting on some additions to the estate. It was the gem of the area; its dark past overshadowed by the glittering lights of its newfound purpose.
This good fortune eventually ran out.
After 60 years of operating, the Hotel del Sato had finally closed for good. Despite its revitalization as a luxury hotel, the recession brought on by the Wall Street Crash of 1930 impaired a lot of well-to-do socialites in Colombia. Suddenly, traveling with opulent accommodation was no longer a luxury the elite could afford.
The final nail in the coffin was the polluted water from the falls making the building’s material rot from the inside. It is said that the water is so toxic that no living creature could habituate it.
The once grand Hotel del Salto slowly became swallowed by the area’s despondence. It’s dizzying lights dying out for good.
It is said that the spot where Hotel del Salto was built on top of was originally habituated by group known as the Native Muisca. The Native Muisca were an indigenous group around the Columbian region which originated somewhere between the years 1200-1500 CE (common era). Allegedly, during the Spanish inquisition, the Muisca who were captured by colonizers would jump off the edge of the falls. Their belief was that jumping off would allow them to transform into eagles and fly off to freedom. Some speculate that because of the relentless colonizers, the land was eventually cursed by its Native American settlers.
It is no wonder then, that upon the hotel’s demise there were reports not only of rotting floor boards, but of unexplainable apparitions and strange noises within the premises. There were also multiple suicides recorded in the area over the decades, right under the watchful eyes of the worn estate.
It was as though there was a force bringing such desires to the falls.
Renovation and third beginnings
From being an abandoned estate only housing spirits and suicidal settlers, the Hotel del Salto was renovated by the government in 2013. Now called the Casa Museo Salto de Tequendama Biodiversidad y Cultura (Tequendama Falls Museum of Biodiversity and Culture), it is now a museum that is free for anyone to enter – if they dare.
A place is just a place. A house is just a house. But over the years of mounting inhabitants one can’t help but wonder if the noises in the dark corridor of what was once Hotel del Salto are simply the walls creaking, or if it is in fact the whisper of another settler from a bloodier timeline.
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