Through the Lens
Macao Magazine visual journeys
A second chance for the Grande Hotel
What was once the best address in Macao, the haunt of tycoons and celebrities, is now a humble, two-star hotel. The Grande Hotel – as it is still called – has been reinvented, offering clean, comfortable beds in spartan surroundings that won’t break the bank. This is its point of difference today, in a city where accommodation prices can seem exorbitant.
When the Grande Hotel first opened on the Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro in 1941, its Art Deco design (the work of local civil engineer João Canavarro Nolasco) was an instant hit. Its location, close to what was then the landing point of the steamers from Hong Kong, was perfect. In the post-war years, it even appeared in a number of Hong Kong movies.
The Grande’s star began to fade in the late 1960s and it was eventually eclipsed by the glitzier Hotel Lisboa, which opened its doors in 1970. The hotel managed to stay open until 1996, when its owners admitted defeat. They squabbled over what to do with the building, which fell into serious disrepair as it spent decades waiting for an outcome.
A quarter of a century later, three hotelier sisters – Vivian, Jessica, and Veronica Lu – purchased the place and invested MOP 500 million into bringing it back to life. The Grande reopened on 18 August, with 96 budget rooms, still-decent views (with far more skyscrapers these days), and no in-house restaurant.
Photographer Eduardo Leal’s camera documents the reincarnation of a Macao icon.