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Hong Kong’s famous floating restaurant towed away after half a century – Reuters

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s Jumbo floating restaurant, a famous but aging tourist attraction that has featured in several Cantonese and Hollywood films, was towed out of town on Tuesday after the Covid pandemic finally sank the struggling business.

The floating giant, which at 76 meters (250ft) long could seat 2,300 diners, departed shortly before noon from the typhoon shelter in southern Hong Kong Island where it has sat for almost a half century.

Designed like a Chinese imperial palace and once considered a must-see landmark, the restaurant has drawn visitors from Queen Elizabeth II to Tom Cruise and has featured in several films, including Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion,” about a deadly global pandemic.

The operators of the lavish restaurant cited the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for closing its doors permanently in March 2020, after around a decade of financial difficulties.

The restaurant has attracted visitors from Queen Elizabeth II to Tom Cruise

Restaurant owner Melco International Development announced last month that before its license expires in June, Jumbo would leave Hong Kong and await a new operator at an undisclosed location. Under overcast skies, a scattered group of spectators gathered on the Aberdeen seafront to watch him being driven.

Mr Wong, a 60-year-old who said he had come specifically to see her off, watched the restaurant’s heavy progress through the waters of the shelter. “The outside has been a symbol of Hong Kong for many years,” he said, adding that he had eaten there once 20 years ago.

“I believe it will come back and I can’t wait to be there,” he added wistfully.

Another viewer, who went by the name Ms. Chan, said she heard the news and came to take one last photo near the restaurant before she left. “I think it’s such a shame to see him go,” she said.

“Jumbo has a long history and has attracted many locals and tourists…It’s a world famous restaurant.”

Opened in 1976 by the late casino magnate Stanley Ho, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant epitomized the height of luxury, reportedly costing more than HK$30 million ($3.8 million) to build. It featured a “dragon throne” in the style of the Ming dynasty as well as an opulent wall painting.

Posted in Dawn, June 15, 2022

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Post expires at 11:18pm on Saturday June 25th, 2022