Saturday, March 27, 2010
Just a few items today, but I did want to ask the question to anyone that's been here for more than a couple of years and get their take on things.

RO 50, for a ticket to a ball seems to be the standard going rate these days. The WGO's Crystal Ball kicked off the ball season late last year, and was RO 50. But for your RO 50, you got a boat load of goodies, and of course an open bar and what I'm beginning to call "Ball Quality" food. By that I mean, it's good food, but not spectacular - but then again, when you're cooking for a few hundred in one go, it's got to be spectacularly difficult and the standard they get to is great, but I'm always left thinking a similar thing at the end of a night out at a ball.

Was it worth it? 2 ball tickets = RO 100 (US$ 258). Yes there are other balls that are less money (the Oranje ball was RO 35 I think a ticket) and the food there was great (but a buffet) (the cheese table was excellent!) and of course unlimited piss all night as well.

How much were these balls 3 years ago? 5 years ago?

It'd be interesting to see how much these prices have risen.

In other news, the tennis coach Piras has now been fired (quite rightly so) for being an ex-con from the USA. He was here coaching kids in tennis, but was jailed in the USA for having a sexual relationship with a 15 year old girl (I don't know how old he is, but in his photo he looks 40+). To add to the story, the then 15 year old girl is now married to him and is with him here. The guy did 3 years in jail before being deported from the USA back to his native Italy. Well done to Muscat Daily for that one, a nice piece of journalism.

Don't forget that tonight is Earth Hour, locally between 8.30 and 9.30. So do your bit and go out for a walk or something, and turn off everything in your house (except of course your fridges)! Every little helps.

le fin.


The Restless Quill said...

Turning fridges off for a hour is fine. The food won't really spoil because of how cold it was to start with. I can't say the same for icecream though.

muscati said...

It depends on how much sponsorship they get and the purpose of the ball, i.e. is it just a fun night or if its raising funds for a specific purpose.

It used to be that hotels would charge just 10 rials a person including taxes to cater a gala event if it's a buffet and a seated set menu would be maybe 15 rials. Nowadays hotels quote 20 to 25 rials for buffets and 30 or 35 rials for set dinners. And that doesn't include beverages except soft drinks. If you want fresh juices, you pay extra. If you want a few bottles of win on each table, that's extra. If you want finger foods and tidbits served at the reception before dinner, then that more extra. So that's why these gala dinners or balls are always priced expensive. And if you say that the ANZO ball included a seated dinner and an open bar then there's no way the ticket could have been priced below 35 or 40 rials just to cover the food and beverage- not counting entertainment and other goodies.

And unless they get sponsors who give enough to cover the full cost tickets will remain expensive. And even if sponsors put up enough to cover the full cost, if the event is a charity dinner, the organizers will keep the ticket prices high in order to raise more for the charity of their cause.

Sythe said...

Thanks for your comments -

Muscati - that's my point..... I don't think ANZO has a charity, and I didn't see any selected charity advertised at the event either.

The gig had some big sponsors:

STS, HSBC, A&E being the biggest ones, with 2 others, Oman Aircraft Control College and Tavola.

In terms of goodies - each attendee got to keep a beer bottle cooler thing, and there was a door prize of a lemon squeezer thing for each table (last year it was a bottle opener).

It was a great night and everyone I know that went had an absolutely great time and I'm not trying to detract from that.... I'm just wondering when did these balls suddenly get so expensive?

Anonymous said...

Expensive?? You're having a function in a 4/5 star hotel. Have a look at London prices where you'll be paying between OR 60 and OR 100, and drink prices are far cheaper than Oman.

muscateeress said...

Re: the Italian tennis coach.....anyone read further down the article to see the quote given by one of the board members of Tennis Federation.....can't give it exactly, as haven't got the paper, but, along the lines of....

'Of course I was shocked when the news was disclosed, but up to that point we were pleased with the way the boys and girls were being groomed!!!'

Possibly not the right phrase of choice!! A little proof reading / editing required Muscat Daily

Anonymous said...

Every cent the ANZO ball committee get goes back into the Ball and as such the committee also has to pay the full price for their ticket. The ball only gets sponsorship from A&E in terms of discounted (slightly) alcohol, Tavola give a discount for the table prize and the others give a small monetary sponsorship. The money that was left went to the door prize of cash. By the time you pay for the decorations, canapes, four course meal,cheeses, chocolates, wine, table prizes, band, DJ, sponsor tickets etc it doesnt leave much left out of OMR50 per person for the tickets. ANZO prides themselves on high quality food and good quality wine and that what makes them a very popular ball with tickets selling out in an hour.

Anonymous said...

Every cent the ANZO ball committee get goes back into the Ball and as such the committee also has to pay the full price for their ticket. The ball only gets sponsorship from A&E in terms of discounted (slightly) alcohol, Tavola give a discount for the table prize and the others give a small monetary sponsorship. The money that was left went to the door prize of cash. By the time you pay for the decorations, canapes, four course meal,cheeses, chocolates, wine, table prizes, band, DJ, sponsor tickets etc it doesnt leave much left out of OMR50 per person for the tickets. ANZO prides themselves on high quality food and good quality wine and that what makes them a very popular ball with tickets selling out in an hour.

Undercover Dragon said...

I thought for the money it was a steal.

Top notch booze too.

Sythe said...

Ok thanks for the comments again, and I do need to reiterate that I am not attacking the ANZO ball in particular.

Bet lets talk about ANZO for a second.

The band were great. The DJ was great (Metallica for the last song, however....)

The food was good too, if you were not a vegetarian. The main course with the Lamb was replaced by two pieces of zucchini/courgette hollowed out and filled with some sliced pepper, sweetcorn and asparagus. Hardly something of equal value to those two pieces of lamb (which was great!).

The cheese plate at the end of the night consisted of 3 pieces of Camembert and a total of 5 crackers (yes 5, for a table with 10 people on it).

I'm not criticising the ANZO committee. I'm criticising the hotels, for over-charging, and under-providing.

I think it is VERY commendable that the committee paid for their own tickets - I don't think you should have considering all the effort that was put into it.

The purpose of this discussion is to highlight the gouging that these hotels are doing. Just the other night in Safari bar, I ordered 2 diet Cokes. The total bill? RO 3.800. For 2 cans of Diet Coke. There's profit margins, and then there's just simple gouging.

Please do not mis-understand my comments as critical of ANZO, because they're not. I'm critical of the extortionate prices the hotels here are charging, and then the cop-out with vegetarian options - a reoccurring theme I've witnessed at countless events here.

As for the anon poster who remarked about the cost for ball tickets in London. Labour in the UK is considerably higher than it is here. Alcohol here, in bulk, is about 350bz - 450bz per can/bottle. Budget 10 cans/bottles per head and that's going to be less than RO 5 each. Plus wine lets call it RO 10. As for the food, that must be where the cost is being driven up. The venue rental as well is subject to a supply and demand market and seeing as demand is high and the supply is low, naturally it's more expensive. The real driver for cost in the UK is the cost of the kitchen staff, the entertainment and the wait/bar staff - those costs here are minimal, with some exception for the chef - but the chef's staff won't be making anything comparable to their opposite numbers in the UK in a similar setting.

It will be interesting to see what happens when The Sheraton opens again, with its new ball room (the biggest in the country), and when The Intercon gets rebuilt, and The Hyatt & Kempinski hotels open in The Wave... suddenly there's going to be a lot more supply in the market. I wonder if the prices will drop a little in the years to come?

Anonymous said...

hello, well, if you are not having a go at ANZO, then perhaps you should have worded/couched your original email in a different way, as it did come across as being critical and not really focussing on your point of attacking hotel prices.

Sythe said...

Perhaps you're being overly sensitive? Everyone knows the ANZO ball was a great night as always.

Sorry you misunderstood my article!

Anonymous said...

The 'Whinger' is clearly not Kiwi or Australian !! Next time ..... stay at home and leave the 'costly' ticket for someone else to buy.

Anonymous said...

Having a go at the Safari prices is a joke. They are the same as Rock Bottom or Al Ghazal, not to mention the completely overvalued Left Bank. Safari is not 'cheap', but have you heard the band? Top notch entertainment, definitely the best in Muscat, do you even have a clue how much a top band costs? How much do you pay for drinks when you go to a concert (some of which are very average)? And Safari doesn't even have a ticket/entry fee.

Sorry folks, I think 'Sythe' should stay at home, buy black market DVD's, buy his drinks from Al Fair (...oh sorry, that's a little expensive - go shopping at LuLu's) and a eat bag of (vegetarian) Dorito's. I am sure no one will miss him/her. Meanwhile the rest of us will be having a fabulous time.

The Hyatt staff and the ANZO committee, once again, did a superb job, living up to the expectation of 'best ball in town'! Looking forward to next years ball (for which I would be happy to pay OR 70)!

Anonymous said...

Vegetarian meals and cheese platter envy at the ANZO Ball, diet coke at the Safari bar...I'm surprised they sold you a ticket at any price...harden up chopper.

Sythe said...

Oh! Haters! I'm so proud you came out for me! How exciting!

I wasn't criticising Anzo, and if you read my article properly, you'd have gotten that!

I was a fan of the Earth Beat ( band that was playing at the Safari bar until recently, but must confess I've not made it back to check out the new band yet. I was drinking diet coke because I was driving, and attending their last gig here in Oman before they head to Rock Bottoms in Dubai after a brief break back in Canada.

In fact I wasn't even singling out the Hyatt at all either, but as one of the haters pointed out... yes the other games in town are expensive too.

My blog is about life here, including the cost of things here. Just because I chose to write about, and, God forbid, question the cost of things here, doesn't make me some miser. It's just an observation, and in case you didn't glean from my article, I've attended a lot of balls this year - surely not the activity of a "chopper", no?

But to show I've done my research and am willing to share what I find, here's a sharp knock of reality.

The White Knights Ball in London is one of the most established and longest running balls held there. A dinner ticket to this ball will set you back £90 (51 rials at today's exchange rates). But here's the killer. Are you ready for it?

1 bottle of Becks beer is 11 quid. A G&T? Thats £11.50!

But then again, that particular ball is a fund raiser for people with disabilities. One could argue the same for the ANZO ball!

Perhaps we're doing just fine here in little old Muscat ;)

Becky said...

Goodness me - I am so surprised to read comments from people filled with such vitriol. What is wrong with you people that you can't just have a civilised discussion around a topic ? It seems that it always has to become a personal attack on the blogger on their own territory so to speak.

Sythe is perfectly entitled to question any aspect of life he sees fit. Join in the discussion in a civilised manner or don't join in at all.

You go Sythe - questions make life much more interesting.

Anonymous said...

All this blogging is a bit like a competitive sport!! Let it rest now and long live another ANZO Ball in good spirit, in the way that it is always intended.

Lee said...

Hi Becky, I thought all the conversations held within this blog were civilised. I think Sythe quite enjoys the banter or he would not continue to keep the blog going. And as you pointed out, just as he/she is entitled to question or give his/her opinion, so are the readers of this blog.

Becky said...

Lee - your idea of civilised and mine are clearly rather different. There is questioning and then there is setting out to be personally offensive - I do not find the latter to be acceptable - perhaps I am in the minority in our uncivilised world ?

Lee said...

Hi Becky,
This blog is in the 'public arena' asking for comments, basically encouraging debate. And as mentioned before, you and all other readers are entitled to their opinion.

Sythe said...

Well I'm kind of inclined to agree with Becky. There were some comments that I perceived as an attack on me personally but that's ok because I can take it.

And to be honest, working strictly on the law of averages, your average aussie/kiwi here in Muscat is apparently really stupid, because they can't even read an article properly and just resort to throwing their toys out of the pram and end up making insidious remarks. Or the few lovely people that felt the need to send me extra-insulting emails too. People really do need to actually read and understand what I wrote before being so critical!

But whatever, I'm glad people are being entertained. And stupid people cant be helped!

Blewyn said...

If balls are good value at 40-50R, then how come Muscat restaurants can cook dinner for a couple to order (with starter, main and dessert) and throw in a bottle of wine, for roughly the same amount per person ? The staff/customer ratio is higher, there are no culinary economies of scale, and the quality is better (or should be). Take the Safari Grill for instance. 35Rpp at the most. A ball should be able to get everything done for maximum 20-25Rpp....

As for bands, there's a hundred of them playing in Bahrain / Dubai every night, to a very high standard. Muscat can do the same....I expect the band at the Holiday are quite good - anybody here heards them ?

Anonymous said...

Blewyn, if only Safari Grill would give away a 1000 RO cash door prize!

I've been to a Ball that cost 35 RO pp. I will not be going to that particular Ball ever again. The venue was nasty, the food was nastier and the staff were sitting on the floor behind the buffet chowing down when they thought no one was looking! I hate to think what you'd get for 20-25pp! I agree that Safari Grill is fantastic value for money. I once organised a large group booking at Safari Grill and got a great group rate of 25(? if I remember correctly) pp. It was a fantastic evening, but no evening dress, no fancy decorations/ballroom atmosphere, and no prizes. I can live without those things, but they do make an evening special!

Popular Posts