Forget about still or sparkling. Now water butlers can help you figure out which brand of H2O suits your palate best
Do you think tap water is icky? Then this five-star-hotel in Belfast has created the ideal way for you to blow your money.
The Merchant Hotel has taken that most basic of essentials – water – and turned it into wine (in terms of pricing, at least), launching a 13-bottle water menu this summer with an exclusive range of international H2Os.
The hotel's new water menu, which features bottled water ranging from £4.95 to £26.45, will offer guests the chance to sip water from places like Fiji, Italy, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Two new staff members known as "water butlers" have also been hired to help guests find the water they'll most enjoy.
And we thought all water was created equal.
"Just like wine, the location where water is produced will impact on its taste and flavour," Gavin Carroll, general manager of The Merchant Hotel, told the Belfast Telegraph.
"While experts can differentiate between the mineral content and PH balance of different types of water, discerning consumers are also increasingly demanding a wider choice of waters.
"The ethos behind the new water menu is to allow our guests to have the chance and choice to curate their own bespoke food and beverage experience.
"Our water butlers can help customers decide on the type of water that will best complement the food and wine they choose, to enable them to experience the perfect taste journey."
Carroll explained that the waters on offer are some of "the world's best" sourced from glaciers, tropical islands and mountains, while the guests who want a plain old glass of Belfast water will be able to obtain one free of charge.
Well, that's a relief.
The most expensive bottled water on the menu, selling for £26.45, is a still water from Newfoundland called Iceberg, which has the lowest mineral content of any bottled water and is thought to have resisted all impurities by freezing within glacial walls. The taste is said to be "smooth and neutral".
Not every establishment is quite so serious about their water offerings: The Hudson Bar in Belfast released a spoof water menu of its own, with offerings including "My Homeopathist Told Me I Shouldn't Drink Water With Minerals In It" for £10 and "The Card I'm Gonna Use To Pay For This? I Signed It With A Crayon" for £20.
"We'd hate to get left behind on this newest innovation in beverage retailing so here's our brand-new water list! Conveniently arranged by your own personal level of daftness," The Hudson Bar posted on Facebook.
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