16 September 2019
Peninsula Hotel is promising more variety in its Christmas and New Year buffets after revising the prices upward. Photo: Bloomberg
Peninsula Hotel is promising more variety in its Christmas and New Year buffets after revising the prices upward. Photo: Bloomberg

Prepare to pay more for festive spreads at big hotels

If you are one of those who prefer to dine at posh hotels for Christmas or New Year’s Eve celebrations, be prepared to shell out more this year.

Most of the big hotels in the city have raised their prices for set-meal and buffet packages for the big days during the upcoming festive season.

The price hikes come despite a slew of negative macro news, which include an economic slowdown, stock market slide, Sino-US trade war, and cooling property market.

Take a look at The Verandah – I am talking about The Peninsula hotel’s famed restaurant, and not the similarly named dining venue of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club — where a New Year’s dinner will cost HK$1,488 per head, before service charge.

That will mean an increase of 25 percent in the bill compared to last year.

A Christmas Eve dinner, meanwhile, will come at HK$2,088 per head, translating to a 5 percent price hike. For those who are thankful that the increase is only mild, let’s bear in mind that the holiday meal amounts to double the price of the regular dinner buffet there on other days.

A Peninsula spokesman said the hotel made the price adjustment in line with the increased costs in food and wages. But he promised that there would be more variety in the festive food on the special days.

Peninsula is, of course, a legendary name in Hong Kong and many people would be willing to pay whatever it asks for its special offerings.

Personally, I must say I’ve had many enjoyable buffet meals at the hotel, which has an enchanting ambience and old-world charm with a history that goes back 90 years.

One reason why Peninsula appears even more confident now that it will never have to worry about lack of customers is the hotel’s proximity to the newly opened West Kowloon Terminus.

As wealthy Chinese come to Hong Kong for quick trips via high-speed rail, the Peninsula can expect more cross-border patrons.

Talking of other big hotels, we can find a few holiday meal packages coming at a lower price, but that is mostly an exception.

Mandarin Oriental’s Clippers Lounge is offering New Year’s Eve lunch at HK$928 per head, down 14.7 percent compared to earlier.

However, its New Year’s Eve dinner will cost HK$1.488 per head, up 7.2 percent.

Most five-star establishments such as the Island Shangri-La’s Cafe Too and JW Cafe at JW Marriott saw their Christmas Eve’s dinner buffet packages marked up nearly 10 percent, to around HK$1,100.

Welcome to Asia’s World City, where prices will keep moving only one way — up — regardless of the economy and the markets.

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EJ Insight writer