Hong Kong’s famous floating restaurant, Jumbo, which has appeared in numerous Cantonese and Hollywood films, left the city on Tuesday after desperate attempts to revive the iconic venue.
The 76-meter floating mastodon 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” about a virus that kills some 26 million people around the world.
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 come back”.
Another spectator, Ms. Chan, who regrets seeing him go, came to take a last photo of the juggernaut.
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 South China Morning Post, it featured a “dragon throne” in the style of the Ming dynasty as well as a lavish wall painting.
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 been unprofitable since 2013 and that cumulative losses had topped HK$100 million ($12.7 million).
Jumbo’s maintenance costs amounted to millions of dollars each year.