Now even the Emirates are agreeing: the world's most expensive Christmas tree is an embarrassment.
Surely this must be a top contender in the Wretched Excess Department. This week the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi put up an $11 million Christmas tree in its lobby. To be precise: the fake fir tree cost $10,000 and the jewels adorning it cost $11M. It was meant to be a publicity stunt for the lavish hotel, but it backfired. Big time.
Photo: Emirates Palace Hotel
The 131 different jewellery pieces on the tree were made of diamonds, pearls, emerald necklaces, bracelets, earrings and watches and lots and lots of gold. They were supplied by the hotel's in-house jeweller.
After backlash from the public and questions about whether the over the top tree was in the holiday spirit or just bad taste, the hotel has issued a statement.
Management said that it regretted "attempts to overload" the Christmas tree tradition by adorning it with hundreds of pieces of jewellery from the hotel's jeweller.
Apparently, 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 tried to distance itself from the tree by saying that it was just a venue for exhibiting it. Talk about leaving the jewellery hanging out to dry.
The management claimed that the tree was an effort to boost the holiday spirit for its guests. Displaying a tree "is not a novelty, rather it is a tradition meant to share in celebrating occasions guests hold while they are away from their home countries and families," it said.
They claimed that its creation was based on the United Arab Emirates' "values of openness and tolerance". The manager didn't think people would be offended because the UAE is "a very liberal country." Although the United Arab Emirates is officially Muslim, they have a huge foreign population and and have lights, carollers and santas in every shopping mall.
The hotel was trying to get itself in the Guinness World Records as the world's most expensive tree. Guiness hasn't responded yet. And the tree has not been shorn of its jewels.
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