World's Ugliest Hotels

ugliest hotels

st_tuper33, Flickr

With so many hotel options around the world, architects, designers, and hoteliers face an ever-increasing need to make their properties stand out. Experimenting with modern design, competing in the tallest and biggest race, and pushing limits for construction records can give a hotel extra notoriety and make a hotel a destination in itself for travelers.

With so many hotel options around the world, architects, designers, and hoteliers face an ever-increasing need to make their properties stand out. Experimenting with modern design, competing in the tallest and biggest race, and pushing limits for construction records can give a hotel extra notoriety and make a hotel a destination in itself for travelers.

But what about when it goes too far, and they end up sticking out like a sore thumb? Ultimately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder – but it's possible for a design to either ever-so-slightly or entirely miss the mark. We give you a sampling of some of the ugliest hotels in the world.

Know of one that's even more hideous? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

World's Ugliest Hotels
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World's Ugliest Hotels

Location: Madrid, Spain
This bold hotel in Madrid’s Chamartín district tastes the rainbow, and leaves a trashy flavor in our mouths. Designed as a collaboration between 19 architects, including Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, the futurist structure is ambitious – but the contrast against the cityscape and the large geometric outcroppings at the roof make this stab at the unusual a little unappealing.

Location: Singapore
Newly opened in 2010, the Marina Bay Sands is distinguished as the most expensive standalone casino property in the world, and the number one provoker of the question "What the heck is that?" in Singapore. Its bizarre, alien-like design features three 55-story buildings connected at the top by a "SkyPark" (complete with a swimming pool and restaurants).

Location: Dalat, Vietnam
Known as the “Crazy House,” it’s easy to see how this 10-room guesthouse in Northern Vietnam got its nickname. Architect Dang Viet Nga has acknowledged elements of the structure as being fairy tale-ish, as well as an homage to Antoni Gaudi. We’re not sure which fairy tale includes giraffes or caged hens and guinea fowl, but hey, to each their own.

Location: Cottonwood, Idaho
This beagle-shaped building has become a monument to oddball chintz in Idaho, where guests stay in dog-themed rooms adorned with doggie tchotchkes. And while it may be "cute," ask yourself: Would you pay money to sleep there?

Location: New York, New York
The Standard became one of the hippest spots in New York City's Meatpacking District after opening in 2009, but its Corbusian-revival design (by Andre Balazs) continues to make it stand out (to many people, for all the wrong reasons). Described as everything from "grim," to "chic," "masculine," and "weird," the building became even more infamous after certain guests were seen engaging in exhibitionist fantasies in front of guest room windows for the viewing pleasure (or horror) of pedestrians on the streets and in High Line Park below.

Location: Huilo Huilo Reserve, Chile
Sure, some people are into the whole "enchanted forest" thing, but the Magic Mountain Hotel is more homely than it is homey. The waterfall and moss tumbling down from the cone-shaped, muddy-looking structure evoke the smell of mildew and just general creepiness. Fortunately, the Magic Mountain is hidden away inside the Huilo Huilo Reserve in Southern Chile – far from plain sight.

Location: Genting, Malaysia
The First World Hotel is one of the largest hotels in the world, and features 10 restaurants, an on-site amusement park and a replica of the Statue of Liberty. It is truly tack-tastic. Towers 1 and 2 of the colorful complex are particularly disruptive to the eye.

Location: Pyongyang, North Korea
The 105-story Ryugyong has the dubious distinction of being called "The Hotel of Doom" by Esquire and is consistently ranked as one of the ugliest buildings on Earth. The ill-boding, pyramid-like tower has dominated the skyline of the North Korean capital since 1987, but never opened its doors to guests. Construction on the Ryugyong Hotel began in the late 1980s, but was put on hold in 1992 – and didn't resume until nearly two decades later. While it was originally intended (as is still referred to) as a hotel, it isn't currently clear how the structure will be used after the Egyptian company that is working on the project is finished.

Location: New York, New York
Looking for color? Crazy shapes? Wild, skewing angles? Instant access to the Theater District and all that Times Square has to offer? The Westin New York Times Square definitely makes up for in touristy convienence what it lacks in attractiveness, but the hotel stands out and seemingly begs to be critiqued even in the garish, hyperactive glare 42nd Street.

Location: Bratislava, Slovakia
Hmmm, where to start? The Hotel Spirit is certainly spirited – and would make even Picasso roll over in his grave. Prices at this eccentric joint start at €21 per person, and they also offer a "complimentary nutrition supplement" with the cost of a room. Educational workshops, alternative medicine and "psychotronic analysis" of your health are available as well – leading us to wonder just how far-out a stay at Hotel Spirit must be.

Location: Macau
The Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino opened between 2007 and 2008 as the tallest building in Macau. Needless to say, it isn't just the hotel's height that grabs attention. Its sci-fi influenced dome and enormous frond-like tower look simultaneously kooky and ominous – and that is not an easy look to achieve. While the on-site restaurant, Robuchon a Galera, has garnered 3 Michelin stars, the hotel's exterior leaves something to be desired in terms of taste.

Location: Brasilia, Brazil
Brasilia is well-known for its post-modern urbanism, non-traditional landscaping and experimental architecture. The Royal Tulip Hotel fits in with its peculiar Brasilian peers: Oscar Niemeyer's Cathedral of Brasilia and Brazilian Congress are quite famous for their unusual designs. But something about the hotel's exterior doesn't make the cut between unusual and ugly.

Location: Antwerp, Belgium
There's plenty going on visually on the exterior of this Belgian hotel, which sits in a prime area of Antwerp near the train station, zoo and Diamond Area. It's a modern, colorful attempt to pay homage to signature Flemish sloped roofs and quaint architecture, but it doesn't work out too well. Instead of blending with Antwerp's scenery, the schizophrenic facade gives sharp peaks, porthole-style windows, yellow, maroon, edges and curves a try. Not pretty.

Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The soon-to-be-completed Abraj Al-Bait Towers in Saudi Arabia will be the largest hotel in the world when construction is done, as well as a shopping mall, apartment complex and lunar observation center. The centerpiece of the structure is the Big Ben-esque clock tower, which will also have four clock faces that each measure 141 feet in diameter. Keep in mind, all this construction and glitz is going up directly across the street from the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam.

The project is intended to create a new option for the five million Muslims who make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca each year. While the Mecca Royal Clock Hotel Tower stands out in its scope and flashiness, it’s attempting to balance out the opulence with features like an enormous prayer room and an Islamic museum. But perhaps the Vegas-style gaudiness isn’t really appropriate or appealing in Islam’s holiest city? Many people are offended by the hotel, and are worried that it will take away from the spiritual atmosphere of the city. Regardless of the religious element, the Abraj Al-Bait Towers are shaping up to be pretty obnoxious.


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