The Hacienda Hotel New Port Richey, Florida

Urban Exploration is something that had always fascinated me, but I've never really had an opportunity to try. So when a coworker of mine approached me last night and asked if I'd be interested in checking out an abandoned hotel, my response was a resounding "Fuck yeah!". Our target: La Hacienda Hotel.

I didn't know this until after I got back home, but it's apparently quite the historic location. History of the Hacienda Hotel. Built in the 1920's, it's the oldest building in New Port Richey, Florida, and was supposed to be a real hotspot for Hollywood stars. According to my friend, the building later served as a mental health institute, but all I could find was a mention of it being used to house elderly people with mental disabilities.

My coworker had actually visited there once before, and left a window unlatched for us to make our entrance. We were a bit surprised, however, when we ran into a pair of kids who had just tried and failed to make their way in to the same building. So, what the hell, we showed them our secret way in.

Bear in mind that all of these photos were taken with a flash, and it was actually quite dark. There are plenty of windows and the building isn't that far off the main road, so we tried to keep our flashlight usage to a minimum.

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Firstly, the Hollywood psych facility impression people give places like this is quite inaccurate.  Updated laws and standards of care prohibit things like leather straps. This sort of facility, Residential Treatment Facility, focuses on the rehabilitation and mainstreaming of people with mental disorders through medication and therapy/counseling.  If your looking for a hollywood scene a state hospital would be a better show. The Hacienda Hotel was sold about 2 years ago, thus explaining the lack of direpair.  The "electrical switchboard thingie" is a fire alarm system that lets you know the exact location of the fire.  The foyer area by the kitchen was the resident dining room. And yes, that is a basement, kitchen supplies and food were kept there.  Chicken wire room held pretty much anything you wouldn't want patients to get into or get stolen.  

What you may not know:

There is a "secret" floor that can be accessed from outside, (Added on in the 90's I believe), or from a door in the kitchen.  It's called the Bordello.  At the top of the stairs covered by red paneling is a tunnel that goes out to the river where booze and hookers were smuggled in. This hole has obviously been filled and is inaccessible.  Also in this floor are rooms which served as offices to case managers as well as the facilities administration.  There is also rumored to be a room of mirrors accessible through what was the staff lounge, this is unconfirmed.  Paranormal activity is limited to staff having their name called and no one around.
The front gate. There's a chain around the gate, but the wall is quite low on the side and easy to hop over.
Making our way in through the window.

Once we were in, I was kind of disappointed. The building was in surprisingly good shape: There was virtually nothing inside; No crazy medical equipment left behind, no beds with leather straps... not even any signs of homeless people having taken up residence.

We got the impression that the building, now owned by the city, was still somewhat maintained. It definitely still had working electricity, with lights on in the stairwells and even a couple of ceiling fans that were running.

Probably the creepiest thing, I thought, was that the second floor grants you a perfect view of the playground next door.

A couple more pics:

The only real sign of disrepair I saw:

Some sort of electrical switchbox thingie:

We were almost ready to call it a night when I poked ahead and found a large foyer-type area which connected to the kitchen. Here, too, the fans were on, which rustled around the window blinds in the dark.
(Pictured are the people we met outside)

The kitchen. Finally, things were starting to get interesting.

And tucked away in the far corner of the kitchen was a metal door, with no sign or any kind of a window to see in. The was a clasp on the door so it could be padlocked shut, but the lock was sitting on a nearby shelf. So, of course, we decided to explore further. Behind the door was a short series of steps leading down into what I assume was the basement. I took this picture without the flash, to give you an idea of what we saw:

That's right, there's a room down the hall which had the lights on. It looked like some kind of maintaince room, with a water heater, tons of piping, and what looked like some water damage.

Oh yeah... did I mention the part of the room that was sectioned off? It had chicken wire windows, and a wooden door that locked from the outside (and only the outside) with a padlock.

I think what really caught our eye, however, was the lettering on the wall inside the room:

That's right, "Killer Cage". This elicited quite a few from everyone, and had just about convinced them that it was time to go. I, however, just had to get a better photo of the mysterious lettering:

I wanted to explore the basement some more, but it was at this point that our lookout on the outside called my friend's cell phone. Apparently, the kids we had entered with just bolted out the front, saying they "think" they tripped a silent alarm. We were kind of skeptical but, unwilling to take chances, we hightailed it out of there and made haste to the local all-night coffee shop. All in all, a very satisfying night.

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