Partying with Tito and the Penthouse Magazine Pets at the Adriatic coast.
At the beginning of the 1970â€˜s Penthouse Magazine owner Bob Guccione commissioned architect Boris MagaÅ¡Â to build a decadentâ€™s playground on the Island of Krk. Â Josip Broz Titoâ€™s Yugoslavia wanted to show how detached it was from the Soviet Union, opening borders to foreign visitors by taking away Visa restrictions. Â 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 JocifÂ
With a lascivious celebration the Haludovo Palace hotel complex opened on June 15,1972. Â 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 â€œpetsâ€ delivered piÃ±a coladas and casually spun roulette wheels. Â Guccione himself referred to his Penthouse Pets as the â€˜new soldiers of the Cold Warâ€™.
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 likeÂ Olof Palme,Â Saddam Hussein and a young and unexperienced Silvio Berlusconi. Â 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. Â The reason? Â The hotelâ€™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 byÂ 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. Â Meanwhile next time in Krk you should really include this as part of your trip itinerary.