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Tito Meets Penthouse

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Partying with Tito and the Penthouse Magazine Pets at the Adriatic coast.

It was the 70‘s, it was Tito’s Yugolsavia and it was Bob Guccione’s dream project.

*The Haludovo Palace Hotel in it’s splendor 

At the beginning of the 1970‘s Penthouse Magazine owner Bob Guccione commissioned architect Boris Magaš to build a decadent’s playground on the Island of Krk.  Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia wanted to show how detached it was from the Soviet Union, opening borders to foreign visitors by taking away Visa restrictions.  Europe needed somewhere new to party and the unspoiled Adriatic coast seemed a perfect location to become the new party hot spot.

*Photo by Jana Jocif 

With a lascivious celebration the Haludovo Palace hotel complex opened on June 15,1972.  It had hanging gardens, lavish pools, expensive mid-century furniture, men wore thick mustaches, Mexican-inspired salsa music was blasting out from the speakers and Penthouse Magazine “pets” delivered piña coladas and casually spun roulette wheels.  Guccione himself referred to his Penthouse Pets as the ‘new soldiers of the Cold War’.

*1972 Penthouse Magazine cover announcing the opening of Haludovo Palace Hotel

The rumor said the hotel was serving more than 100 kilos of lobster, 5 kilos of caviar, and hundreds of bottles of champagne daily by resort guests including heads of state like Olof Palme, Saddam Hussein and a young and unexperienced Silvio Berlusconi.  While the wealthier guests enjoyed the opulence of the hotel, down to a swimming pool filled with champagne.

*Photo by Gunter Blokken

But only one year after opening, the opulent casino complex was declared bankrupt.  The reason?  The hotel’s backbone of middle-class foreign tourists did not spend half the money the hotel was expecting to make from the casino and Yugoslav citizens were forbidden entry by the government.

*Photo by Nikola Sarnavka

Today the Haludovo Palace Hotel complex sits as a beautiful ruin of a modern dream of pleasure and progress in socialist times, a frustrated effort to join the capitalistic western culture with the sexy, beautiful and exotic Eastern Europe.  Meanwhile next time in Krk you should really include this as part of your trip itinerary.

*Photo by Nikola Sarnavka

*Photo by Nikola Sarnavka
*Photo by Nate Robert

*Photo by Gunter Blokken

*Photo by Tomislav Buza

*Photo by Nikola Sarnavka
*Photo by Nikola Sarnavka


  1. Chrisminuslynn

    I love this. Just booked our flights to Krk.

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