Sunday, December 19, 2010
An Abu Dhabi luxury hotel that boasted an $11 million Christmas tree decorated with gold and gems
$11 million fake Christmas tree adorned with rubies, gold and diamonds in the lobby of the Emirates Palace hotel.
A statement from the Emirates Palace hotel said it regretted "attempts to overload" the Christmas tree tradition by adorning it with premium bling including gold, rubies, diamonds and other precious stones from a hotel jeweler.
The statement was a rare bit of reflection on the Gulf's ethos of excess. The tree was unveiled last week with full fanfare in a hotel that features its own gold bar vending machine and a one-week $1 million package that includes private jet jaunts around the Middle East.
But the hotel management apparently had second thoughts after questions arose about whether the opulent tree was innocent good cheer or unfortunate bad taste.
The hotel regrets "attempts to overload the tradition followed by most hotels in the country with meanings and connotations that do not fall in line with the (hotel's) professional standards," said a statement carried on the state-run news agency WAM.
The hotel even tried to distance itself from the 43-foot (13-meter) faux fir in one of its rotundas, saying a hotel-based jeweler was solely responsible for creating and decorating the tree.
"The hotel is just a venue for exhibiting the tree," the statement said.