RIP Bob Guccione: Scenes From Penthouse Adriatic Club: Then, and Now

Penthouse founder Bob Guccione died yesterday (technically still today for me). It felt strange to read about it in the news right after it hit the internet’s news sites, mostly because I thought about it as a pretty symbolic event. The magazine and its culture was a sentiment from before my time, and like its counterparts, still seems to me like something from a bygone era. An era that is in one concrete way, formally over. I guess it’s so curious to me because it is so distant, but its attitudes still shape contemporary sex culture.

Anyway, it’s late. In 1972, Bob Guccione put $45 million into opening the Penthouse Adriatic Club in (then-Communist) Yugoslavia. He staffed it with 70 American Penthouse Pets. Snip from Yugoslavian, which has original press releases:

(…) “We have detected a real formula in the struggle against the cold war” revealed Bob Guccione, editor and publisher of Penthouse – “The International Magazine for Men.” The ingredients were described in an interview with Nedeljne informativne novine (NIN), the Belgrade weekly. A reasonable amount of Western capital, in this case 45 million dollars provided by Guiccione’s publication, is combined with socialist financing and skills, in this case supplied by the Rijeka “Brodokomerc,” and “the most exciting and exotic resort experience of all time” is constructed for Westerners vacationing in the East. On June 15 of this year the “grand opening” of just such a mutual enterprise, The Penthouse Adriatic, was celebrated on Krk, the largest island in the Adriatic Sea (410 square km.). The establishment was described in the June 1972 issue of Penthouse: “Richly located on the idyllic island of Krk, a few miles south of Trieste and directly opposite Venice, this mile-long Xanadu of glittering buildings will become for international cognoscenti a premier playground for summer and winter seasons alike.” (…read more,, image via)

penthouse yugoslavia

penthouse yugoslavia

I can’t seem to be able to find out what happened to the Penthouse Adriatic, or how long it has been left to decay. Twitter pal happosai sent me this large gallery of photos as it is today (images via), empty and abaondoned.

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  1. While I had no particular knowledge of this specific hotel, what probably happened was that it was a victim of privatization. It is actually now in what is Croatia just outside Malinska-Dubasnica, a small town on the Northern side of Krk.

    When the break up of former Yugoslavia happened, there was the issue of what to do with various businesses. Despite the fact that Penthouse owned this hotel, they probably had to set up a shell company in Croatia in order to buy it. This is still the case today for anyone who is not a Croatian national and wants to own anything from a donkey shack to skyscraper in that you can’t directly own it without Croatian nationality.

    Judging by the age of decay, someone along the line in President Tudjman’s rather corrupt regime (they sold off tons of things that were actually property of the Croatian people) this is what happened to this hotel. Its shell company ownership was “revoked”, someone got it, didn’t know how to run a hotel, and then just let it fold in to dust.

    Kind of a stupid idea from the get-go as while in a decent spot, there’s no international airport or train nearby, Krk can only be accessed by a single, small bridge, and importing Penthouse Pets to staff it was loony given the fact that my Slavic lady kin are gorgeous.

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