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Venturella Resort | Photo © 2009 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

Venturella Resort and Spa

Location Class:
Built: 1988 | Abandoned: 2008
Status: Restored (2016)
Photojournalist: David Bulit

A promotional photo for Riu Orlando.

The Venturella Resort and Spa started out as the Riu Orlando Hotel in 1988, a 3-star hotel with the luxuries of a 4-star luxury resort, at least that’s how it was marketed as. It was situated close to many of the attractions and parks in the area, such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Seaworld Orlando, Walt Disney World, and Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. Over the years though, the building required remodeling as guests complained of mold in the showers, bugs in the hotel rooms, outdated decor, and bad service.

In late-2007, Marcus Hotels and Resorts announced it was taking over management of the property which was undergoing a $22 million renovation, with plans to reopen in mid-2008 under the new name, Venturella Resort and Spa. The newly renovated 115-room hotel was to feature a Mediterranean/Tuscan theme, two restaurants, a lounge, and a spa, as well as more than 7,000 square feet of meeting space. The property was to also feature new landscaping, including a lake with a beach.

Work on the Venturella Resort was halted mid-renovation. Construction on the building resumed sometime around 2014 and while construction was slow, it was still moving along. Finally, in August 2016, the hotel reopened as a Hyatt Place. Unless you know what it looked like before, the new hotel is unrecognizable from its original appearance as the glass facade has been given a more modern facelift.


David Bulit is a photographer, author, and historian from Miami, Florida. He has published a number of books on abandoned and forgotten locales throughout the United States and continues to advocate for preserving these historic landmarks. His work has been featured throughout the world in news outlets such as the Miami New Times, the Florida Times-Union, the Orlando Sentinel, NPR, Yahoo News, MSN, the Daily Mail, UK Sun, and many others. You can find more of his work at davidbulit.com as well as amazon.com/author/davidbulit.

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