Harbour-view room or 63 Big Macs, sir?

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 July, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 July, 2003, 12:00am


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Hong Kong hotel rates are the most expensive in the Asia-Pacific region relative to the cost of a Big Mac, a new survey has found.

A hotel room in Hong Kong will set consumers back 63.4 Big Macs - the most in Asia and the eighth-highest in the world. The figure was, however, based on the pre-Sars average daily rate from last year.

The Hotel Affordability Index by investment services group Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels found London to be the most expensive city in the world, where a decent hotel room would cost the equivalent of 110 Big Macs.

The group used The Economist magazine's Big Mac Index, which takes the price of a McDonald's Big Mac in cities around the world to determine the relative value of a dollar in each place.

But a tourism industry representative said the finding was misleading as the figure was calculated before the Sars epidemic dealt a severe blow to hotel occupancy rates, which in turn drove hotel room rates downwards. Up to last month, after the World Health Organisation's travel warning was lifted, many hotels still reported occupancy rates ranging from 30 to 65 per cent despite aggressive discount packages.

The index also saw Beijing ranked 29th at 39 Big Macs while Singapore was slightly cheaper at 38 Big Macs and a ranking of 31.

A hotel room in Mexico, meanwhile, costs a mere four Big Macs.