The Emirates Palace has received a lot of press at of late. Not surprising considering that the Abu Dhabi hotel displays a Christmas tree reportedly worth $11 million making it by far the most expensive tree of the season. A new statement from the Emirates Palace says that it regrets “attempts to overload the tradition” of tree decorating.
When the hotel unveiled the tree, they said that they were trying for the world record of the most expensively dressed Christmas tree. News of the pricey Abu Dhabi tree soon sped fast around the world. Local jewelers from the hotel’s Style Gallery dressed the tree with fancy gold and pricey gems which all together rang in the total of $11 million. The London-based Guinness World Records confirmed that he Emirates Palace applied for the record. It has not yet reported the outcome.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE as well as the richest city of all the Emirates, has prided itself on keeping a lower profile when displaying its wealth as opposed to its glitzier and more flamboyant Dubai neighbor. The expensive jewelery hanging from the Christmas tree can easily be seen as the Gulf region’s tendency towards excess and flaunting wealth– a view not particularly flattering considering the Christmas tree’s representation of cultural and religious tradition.
Although a Muslim country, the UAE is home to many foreigners and Christmas trees are not an uncommon site during this time of year. Putting up a 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,” said the Emirates Palace statement.
Regardless of its abundant bling, the Emirates Palace Christmas tree is still a breathtaking site to behold. From afar, the viewer hardly notices the flashy jewels, just the sparkling lights and warm presence of the fir tree which reminds us that one can experience the Christmas spirit even at a distance, even in the faraway lands of the desert.