The Belfast Hotel Where You Can Order a $41 Bottle of Water
Not sure how it’ll pair with your food? Two on-staff “water butlers” will help you decide.
For when regular water just won’t do, a Belfast hotel is launching a “water menu” with water bottle selections that will cost you up to £26.45—or $41.29 in U.S. dollars. According to the Belfast Telegraph, the city’s five-star Merchant Hotel is rolling out this menu of 13 bottled waters this summer, along with two “water butlers” trained to help guests decide which water has the right mineral content and pH balance. The water comes from places like Iceland, Fiji, and the Faroe Islands, and the cheapest bottle begins at £4.95 ($7.75).
Hotel general manager Gavin Carroll told the Belfast Telegraph that “discerning customers” have been asking for a wider variety of waters, so the idea of the water menu was to provide more choices for the hotel’s guests. On the lowest end of the spectrum are two 750ml bottles of water from the United Kingdom, a bottle of sparkling from Speyside and still water from Whitehole Springs. That insanely expensive $41 water? It’s a 750ml bottle of still water from the Canadian Arctic ice shelf bottled by ICEBERG, whose website declares that the water’s “availability is determined by nature.”
Of course, guests will not be forced to indulge in the water menu. The hotel notes on its Facebook page that, “we understand the new water menu won't be for everyone.” Rather, the menu will be in addition to the presumably more basic water that the hotel already offers. And, yes, guests can still drink tap water—“Belfast water,” as the Merchant Hotel calls it—for free.
Gimmicky as the Merchant Hotel’s water menu may be, it is certainly not the first of its kind. Two years ago, an LA restaurant created a 45-page water menu that came with a water sommelier, but the most expensive bottle on that menu was a mere $16. As it turns out, that was a steal.