The Excelsior goes out with a party and a bang as iconic hotel bows to commercial pressure and makes way for an office tower

By Louise Moon / | April 1, 2019 6:37 PM SGT
Seven hundred guests bid farewell to The Excelsior on Saturday night, as the iconic waterfront hotel closes its doors on 46 years of Hong Kong history on Sunday to make way for an office tower.
The lobby of the 869-room, four-star hotel was filled with music from Revenge of the Pink Panther, the 1978 Peter Sellers comedy that was filmed in the same venue, and re-enacted with original props during a cocktail reception. In one corner, partygoers queued up to pose in a sedan chair next to an actor in old Chinese dress, and another in a British top hat.
Guests flew in from as far away as London and Australia for a HK$4,844 Fond Farewell Package " inclusive of a stay in the hotel's final night of operation " and sampled special courses at the hotel's restaurants, cafe and pub.
They described the party as "full to the rafters", with a buzzing atmosphere full of emotion, yet happiness, and a strong sense of taking part in a momentous occasion in history.
The lobby of The Excelsior on 20 February 2019. On the final night of its 46 years, the lobby recreated the set of Revenge of the Pink Panther, the 1978 comedy that was filmed here. After the final guest checks out on Sunday, March 31, the staff will have the hotel all to themselves for a few hours. The reception desk will turn into a bar, and the concierge desk will become a DJ station. Photo: SCMP / K. Y. Cheng
Staff, meanwhile, told them the waterworks were likely to kick in on Sunday.
On Sunday, the most loyal guest " with 2,200 nights over 63 visits, equivalent to six years of stay at the hotel " will be invited to fire the Noonday Gun, a naval artillery piece held over from Hong Kong's history as a British colony. As he is driven away in a limousine after checkout, the hotel's doors will close for the last time.
"That is it, that is really the ending," said The Excelsior's general manager Torsten van Dullemen, who had twice asked for the job before taking on his assignment in February last year. "At midnight on the 31st, we will unplug all the lights, and [we are] done. We will go."