The Grand Lisboa Hotel certainly does not go unnoticed among those visiting the Chinese gambling Mecca of Macau.
However, members and editors of the travel website VirtualTourist.com have gone few steps further.
The strong opinionated bunch dealt a serious blow to the pride of architects Dennis Lau and Ng Chun Man, designers of the Macau landmark. The Grand Lisboa Hotel appears in second place in the website's List of the World's Top 10 Ugliest Buildings.
The fine folks at VirtualTourist.com went on asking asked Mark Baez, A.I.A. and Principal Project Designer at Venice, California-based M Designs to reflect on their list of top ugliest buildings.
Baez has less than entertaining comments on the Grand Lisboa. "With a solid resemblance to the "I Dream of Jeannie" lamp, this flashy structure can at least be admired for its campiness. As if it were not flashy enough as is, the exterior actually lights up with over one million colorful LED lights."
For those too young to know or with poor memory, "I Dream of Jeannie" was a popular sitcom of the 60s. Aired on NBC between 1965 and 1970, the sitcom starred Barbara Eden as a charming genie, and Larry Hagman as her master.
Love it or hate it, the Grand Lisboa is impossible to miss, given it is the tallest building in Macau. Standing 261 metres (856 ft) tall, the Grand Lisboa Hotel Macau opened to the public in two phases; the casino floors and restaurants opened in February 2007, while the 430-rooms hotel first opened for business in December 2008.
I remember first visiting the casino floor at the Grand Lisboa Hotel while visiting Macau in January 2008. My first impression was that despite the clear shot at impressing visitors, the interior of the Grand Lisboa lacks the care for details and luxury feel typical of Las Veags Casinos like The Bellagio or the Venetian.
I found common areas and the casino floor impressive but lacking personality, almost quite ordinary. However, having visited Macau in 2001, it is only fair to note that the Grand Lisboa represents a giant step forward compared to what the former Portuguese colony offered in term of gambling facilities prior to its opening.
Today, with alternatives like The Venetian Macau or The Wynn Macau, The Grand Lisboa is far less attractive to gamblers visiting Macau from abroad. However, the symbolism of its unique design probably is appealing to gamblers from nearby Hong Kong or mainland China.
It is safe to say the smart folks at VirtualTourist.com have not made friends in Macau or other parts of the world, for that matter. This is their official list of the World's Top 10 Ugliest Buildings:
1) Sheffield Hallam University; Sheffield, U.K., 2) Grand Lisboa Hotel; Macau, 3) M2 Building; Tokyo-to, Japan, 4) Spruce Tree Centre; St. Paul, Minnesota, 5) Palace of Justice; Florence, Italy, 6) Whitney Museum of American Art; New York City, New York, 7) Industriens Hus; Copenhagen, Denmark, 8) Hong Kong Museum of Art; Kowloon, Hong Kong, 9) Exhibition Wing, Van Gogh Museum; Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 10) Plattenbauten; Germany.