Hotel Grand Lisboa

Forget egg tarts and Portuguese colonial streetscapes — it was when I first saw the menacing silhouette of the Hotel Grand Lisboa that I wanted to visit Macau. Looming over the old peninsula with the arrogance of a preening peacock, it seemed to speak volumes about the state of the colony-turned-Special Administrative Region: a fusion of Latin flair, commercial glitz, and authoritarian sinister.

This symbolism seemed even more pertinent when I learned that the Grand Lisboa was not some gaudy spectacle of the 1970s or 80s, but of much more recent vintage — the mad dream of mogul Stanley Ho, who has installed a massive diamond named after himself in the lobby, which is an equally insane sight to behold, resembling a cross between the tacky Vegas casinos that inspired many of the megahotels opening in the territory and something much more stylish, like the interior of Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House. But it’s the way the Grand Lisboa not only oddly seems to sum up Macau, but dominate it, revealing itself above every rooftop and beyond every twist in the street.

This entry was written by Christopher Szabla , posted on Friday January 22 2010at 12:01 am , filed under Architecture, Asia Pacific and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

2 Responses to “Hotel Grand Lisboa”

  • Great photos. I first visited Macau in 2005 and when I returned the second time, in 2008, I was shocked to see the Grand Lisboa. It’s almost unimaginably gaudy yet also very appropriate on many symbolic levels.

    This is one of the reasons why I love Macau. There are parts that still feel like a Portuguese-ruled backwater, parts that are like a 1960s time capsule of Cantonese culture and parts that are a reminder of the city’s new role as a theme park/playground for the New China.

  • Mary says:

    It is so obnoxious-looking. I have not realized Macau would change after my visit in 2001.