UAE hotel regrets $11m Xmas tree
Abu Dhabi, December 20, 2010
An Abu Dhabi hotel that unveiled a jewel-studded $11 million (BD4.1 million) Christmas tree has said it regrets overloading the tradition.
The Emirates Palace hotel said it regretted 'attempts to overload the tradition followed by most hotels in the country with meanings and connotations that do not fall in line with the professional standards' of the hotel.
'Putting the Christmas 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 was quoted as saying in a report in our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News.
This tradition 'is within the framework of the UAE's policy which is based on the values of openness and tolerance,' the hotel added.
The tree, inaugurated on Wednesday, holds 181 diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and other precious stones, said Khalifa Khouri, owner of Style Gallery, which provided the jewellery.
The jewels, worth more than $11 million, 'will be recovered by their owner at the end of celebrations,' the hotel statement as saying.
The 13-metre faux evergreen, located in the gold leaf-bedecked rotunda of the hotel, is not the first extravagant offering from Emirates Palace - a massive, dome-topped hotel sitting amid fountains and carefully manicured lawns.
The hotel bills itself as a seven-star establishment, and introduced in February a package for a week-long stay priced at $1 million (BD378,000).
Takers of the package get a private butler and a chauffeur-driven Maybach luxury car during their stay, as well as a private jet available for trips to other countries in the region.
And in May, the hotel installed a gold dispenser, becoming the first place outside Germany to instal 'gold to go, the world's first gold vending machine,' said Ex Oriente Lux AG, the German company behind the machine.