Friday, 17 December 2010

Extravagance or obscenity?

Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi has unveiled a Christmas tree decorated with pearls and jewellery valued at more than $11million and proudly proclaimed this to be a demonstration of 'religious tolerance' in the Emirate. IMHO, this tree does nothing for 'religious tolerance', its an excuse for a crass display of conspicuous excess, in this case, using religion as a means of displaying one's wealth; yet another 'look at how much I've got' moment. Its the antithesis of the religion it purports to represent and has zero connection to the event that it supposedly symbolizes, the birth of a baby into such poverty that his 'first bed was a cow’s lunch box' (to quote another article).
Yes, this irritates me, and I'm not even religious!
PS  Christmas trees aren't 'Christian', the tree was originally a pagen symbol connected with the celebration of the winter solstice.  
Article: Emirates 24/7 16 December 2010
Christmas came in extravagant fashion to the emirate of Abu Dhabi as a glitzy hotel unveiled a bejewelled Christmas tree valued at more than $11 million.
It is the "most expensive Christmas tree ever," with a "value of over $11 million," said Hans Olbertz, general manager of Emirates Palace hotel, at its inauguration.
The 13-metre (40-foot) faux evergreen, located in the gold leaf-bedecked rotunda of the hotel, is decorated with silver and gold bows, ball-shaped ornaments and small white lights.
But the necklaces, earrings and other jewellery draped around the tree's branches are what give it a record value.
It holds a total of 181 diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and other precious stones, said Khalifa Khouri, owner of Style Gallery, which provided the jewellery.
"The tree itself is about 10,000 dollars," Olbertz said. "The jewellery has a value of over 11 million dollars - I think 11.4, 11.5."
This will probably be an entry into the Guinness book of world records, Olbertz said, adding that Emirates Palace planned to contact the organisation about the tree which is to stay until the end of the year.
The hotel has had a Christmas tree up in previous years, but this year "we said we have to do something different," and the hotel's marketing team hatched the plan, said Olbertz.
The tree is not the first extravagant offering from Emirates Palace - a massive, dome-topped hotel sitting amid fountains and carefully manicured lawns.
The hotel, which bills itself as seven-star, in February introduced a package for a seven-day stay priced at one million dollars.
Takers of the package have a private butler and a chauffeur driven Maybach luxury car at their disposal during their stay, as well as a private jet available for trips to other countries in the region.
And in May, the hotel opened a gold vending machine, becoming the first place outside Germany to install "gold to go, the world's first gold vending machine," said Ex Oriente Lux AG, the German company behind the machine.


  1. I'm completely non-plussed by this. It's a marketing move and a shrewd one. It shows that they're Western friendly, wealthy, up market, blah blah blah. They made it to Drudge's front page. That's worth millions alone.

  2. $11 million ! How many people would that have helped in Pakistan after the floods?

  3. Tacky beyond belief but the question of how many people they could have helped is irrelevant - they didn't buy the decorations - they borrowed them from the jeweler in the hotel! Tacky AND cheapskates!!