The deserted and abandoned hotel loomed up like a ghostly specter from the beach, startling me amid the splendor of the sunshine and sparkling high-rise structures.
“What is that?” I asked pointing beyond the sea wall.
Amid sunbathers and umbrellas, my brother-in-law slowed his truck along the hard packed sands of Daytona Beach. I was riding in the back, so I sat up on the vehicle’s window sill and gazed upward at the creepy eleven or twelve story building, the missing windows hinting at some distant disaster.
“I wonder what happened to this place,” I wondered aloud.
We drove on, leaving the empty, spooky building behind. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What had happened at 2025 South Atlantic Avenue? How could such a grandiose building have fallen into such wrecked state?
I made up my mind… When I had some background, and my camera, I was coming back to this place.
My family and I were vacationing in the Daytona Beach area and by the time my ride along the beach had ended, and we had returned to our hotel, I knew some Internet searching was in order. I Googled “abandoned hotel Daytona Beach” and immediately was presented with a hit that looked promising. “Abandoned Hotels in Daytona – A Photo Essay”.
I clicked the link.
The first few pictures looked nothing like the hotel I’d seen. Perhaps this was a different building? I kept scrolling, and there it was: The Treasure Island Inn (some places label it as Treasure Island Resort). Spooky! I couldn’t help wondering if this was in anyway related to the Treasure Island hotel in Las Vegas (It apparently isn’t). Certainly someone would have fixed this place up by now, right? I mean, this is Daytona Beach.
I kept scrolling through the webpage. And as the ghostly interior pictures began to roll down the screen, I got goose bumps… I really did.
What happened to this place?
The Treasure Island Inn – Wounded, Damaged… Forsaken.
As I visited additional websites, reading captions and surveying the many photos taken inside the dilapidated structure, a story began to materialize. It would appear that the building, like many in the Volusia county area, had fallen victim to the one, two, three punch of the trio of hurricanes back in 2004. Vacant and abandoned, neglect, mold and disrepair took its toll over the next six years. Seen as a blight along the Daytona sand, several online forums were filled with calls to tear it down. Another website hinted that the building may possibly be demolished to make room for a park, condo or new hotel, but that asbestos removal was slowing progress.
I now had some background. Time for another visit.
Two days later, I was back at the spooky site, this time armed with my Canon digital camera. As I climbed the cracked concrete steps from the beach – the railing having been torn from the concrete long ago – I realized that the fencing I’d seen from the previous drive-by was only erected around the now crumbling and stagnant pool recesses. Boards covered most obvious ground level openings into the hotel and some of the upper ones as well.
I was very surprised to find not only a 10-1/2 foot deep main pool (a surprising depth for Daytona Beach pools), but also another pool just to the north of its deeper cousin. Three different Jacuzzis were also situated around the debris strewn area, filled with boards and trash. I saw no openings for entry into the hotel, and wouldn’t have ventured inside even if I’d had the chance (the photo essay pictures (link below) were already enough to have freaked me out with possible unexpected visitors.)
The whole hotel site was just plain sad to look at. Retaining walls were smashed, a crumbling deck ran up to a bar area (with tipped over chairs just visible through the dirty windows), weeds and vegetation ran rampant. Along the ground, red chair cushions and rubble sat fading in the hot Florida sun. Web forums I’d visited suggested that the Treasure Island Resort was once a very fun and family friendly location. It certainly didn’t look that way now.
I’m not sure what it is about seeing a building or site in this state of disrepair, but I find it fascinating to photograph and investigate, wondering at what it once used to be. It’s sort of like a study in “slow-motion destruction” — as nature methodically reclaims what man has attempted to build.
Will the Treasure Island Inn rise again? Only time will tell.
New! (6/26/11) – Revisiting the Treasure Island Inn of Daytona Beach
Pictures! Everyone likes more pictures! If you haven’t already done so, click the little square boxes (at the top of the article). Clicking on the photos will enlarge them as well. You can also go see my slideshow of pictures from the Treasure Island Inn location… Slideshow – Click Here
Ron Masters’ Photography — view photos of the Treasure Island Inn as it was in June 2011
Abandoned Hotels in Daytona – A Photo Essay — These pictures (and the captions) really creeped me out
Here’s a page with a couple of pictures of how the Treasure Island used to look. Click Here.
The Ruins of The Talisman Lodge of Daytona Beach (located 3.8 miles south)
Also “nearby” The Abandoned $100 Million Florida Theme Park. Can you guess it’s name?
Maps of the Treasure Island Inn (Treasure Island Resort)
See the Treasure Island Inn with Google Maps – Click Here
See the Treasure Island Inn with Bing Maps – Click Here (Don’t miss the Aerial view in 3D. Zoom in and rotate it around for some amazingly detailed views)