Receive our newsletter - data-led analysis, original reporting and insights
Community / Public space

Scathingly honest reviews of city landmarks

Last week, a hotel in Blackpool hit the news when it charged £100 to a guest’s credit card for leaving a negative Tripadvisor review. Turns out, the hotel had a “no bad reviews” policy, and, in their eyes at least, the “fine” was completely justified. (Consumer watchdogs and the law didn’t agree: the hotel was forced to refund the guests.)

Unfortunately, city landmarks have no such method for tracking down and punishing those who seek to tar their name all over the internet, no matter how old or revered they may be. Here are a few of the worst reviews out there, to remind us that even architectural marvels must be held up to some level of scrutiny. 

1. The Leaning Tower of Pisa

John O at Tripadvisor takes a step back and sees the tower for the sub-par feat of construction it really is: 

It just looks silly. Imagine a magician with just one trick. Or a tv with only one channel. If you find this exciting and worth a trip then go see the poorly built Leaning Tower of Pisa. As you turn the corner to enter the plaza there it is. And that’s pretty much all there is, Yes the usual souvenir stands and tourists posing as if to keep the tower from falling over. Shows you what PR can accomplish.

For shame, you 12th century Italian publicists. For shame. 

2. The Pyramids at Giza

You’d imagine a spot on the 7 wonders of the world list and a 4,500 year legacy might protect you from criticism, but no – this just in from Jamie R

got there and found its all lies as I can tell you in seconds how its built there isn’t a wonder the only thing that I wondered about was why people don’t tell the truth and not go there its dirty its boring its blocks on top of blocks

You can’t get anything past Jamie R. Let’s hope he never visits Stonehenge. 

3. London’s City Hall

Some hard-hitting architectural commentary from Philip S.:

Just weird– it looks like a crash helmet or something that may fall over.

To be fair, he has a point:

Over on Yelp, Fiona G. had a far more pleasant time – but the experience wasn’t really comparable, as she spent her visit in the presence of an international celebrity:

Brilliant building, especially when you are inside the Mayor’s chamber WITH Mayor Boris, as I was… I love all the steel & glass. Iconic.Fab, especially inside looking out at sunset on the passing boats.

We may or may not start a campaign pushing for London to adopt “Iconic.Fab” as a slogan.

4. The Empire State Building, New York City

 Normants sheds light on the authoritarian operation within the walls of the iconic New York building:

Do not be a sheep. They herd u through the bldg for over 48 min trying to sell & upsell you things. The last straw was that they force you to go through the gift shop and force you to get your picture taken.

Helpfully, the Empire State Building’s team replied via Tripadvisor, assuring Normants that “it is not mandatory to take the showtime photo”. Believe whoever your conscience tells you to.

5. The Brandenberg Gate, Berlin

During his visit, David S. S. uncovered a centuries-long deception:

I was expecting a gate. Imagine my disappointment to find a neoclassical triumphal arch with ruddy great columns. Stunning architecture for sure, but a gate it is not. More Admiralty Arch than a five bar gate. Left feeling unfulfilled and let down. Shame on you Berlin.

6. The Sydney Opera House

Lies coat the international image of Sydney’ famous music venue, too, as Arbus82 discovered: 

When we arrived at the opera house it was very disappointing. Of course, the architecture is nice, but the roof itself was almost yellow and not white as known from the television. Since we were in Sydney anyway, it was not a big deal to visit the opera house. But I would not go there only because of the opera house.

7. Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

From Twonky68:

The worlds most highly over rated…….hahahaha……wonder of the world! Just a concrete pillar! I spent a total of 5 minutes here.

We hear this reviewer was equally unimpressed with the Mona Lisa – “just a piece of canvas!” – and has his/her doubts about whether the Grand Canyon would be more honestly described as a “big hole”. 
This article is from the CityMetric archive: some formatting and images may not be present.