Hong Kong loses its most famous floating restaurant

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The Jumbo, which appeared in several films in particular, was towed out of the port of Aberdeen, the Covid having precipitated its bankruptcy.

The Jumbo towed out of the port to an unknown destination, having been taken over by an operator abroad without it being known for the moment which one.

AFP

Hong Kong’s famous floating restaurant, Jumbo, which appears in numerous Cantonese and Hollywood films, left town on Tuesday after desperate attempts to revive the iconic venue. The 76-meter floating behemoth, which could accommodate 2,300 guests, left the typhoon shelter in the south of Hong Kong Island shortly before noon, where it had been moored for nearly half a century.

Designed like a Chinese imperial palace and once considered a must-see, the restaurant has attracted illustrious visitors, from Queen Elizabeth II to Tom Cruise. He has featured in several movies, including Steven Soderbergh’s science thriller “Contagion.” In the film, Hong Kong was the starting point for a virus that would spread around the world and kill some 26 million people.

Foreign destination unknown

Ironically, the operators of this once lavish restaurant cited the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for its permanent closure in March 2020, after nearly a decade of financial difficulties. Hong Kong-based investment firm Melco International Development, which owns the restaurant, announced in May that Jumbo had left the financial hub, before its license expired in June, and found a new operator overseas. His destination was not specified.

Under overcast skies, people watched as he left on the Aberdeen seafront, including Mr Wong, in his 60s. “He was for many years a symbol of Hong Kong”, underlines this Hong Konger who still wants to believe that he will return. Another spectator, Ms. Chan, who regrets seeing him go, came to take a last photo of the juggernaut.

Opened by the King of Macau Casinos

Opened in 1976 by Stanley Ho, Macau’s king of casinos who died in 2020, the Jumbo represented the height of luxury. According to the daily “South China Morning Post”, it featured a “dragon throne” in the style of the Ming dynasty as well as a sumptuous mural.

The restaurant was moored in Aberdeen Harbour, a favorite spot for seafood eateries. Its popularity with tourists in particular had declined in recent years, even before the Covid pandemic.

The restaurant’s operator, Melco International Development, said in May that the establishment had not been profitable since 2013 and that cumulative losses had exceeded 100 million Hong Kong dollars (12.7 million francs). Jumbo’s maintenance costs amounted to millions of dollars each year.

(AFP/MP)

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