Plastic bottles might not work in the Emirate Palace Hotel – but opulent jewelry decor isn’t fitting either. Image via AFP
“Deck the halls with boughs of diamonds tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la”. Over extravagant Abu Dhabi has done it again! This time it’s with an opulent bejeweled Christmas tree that is now “decking” the main entrance hall of the Emirate’s posh Emirates Palace Hotel .
This outlandish display of oil begotten wealth was inaugurated at the hotel to “accommodate” non-Muslim guests to the hotel, which in itself is a bit strange for a country whose permanent resident population (not including guest workers) is no less than 99.5% Muslim.
The 13 meter (40 ft) tall evergreen was decorated with necklaces made with diamonds, emeralds, pearls, sapphires, rubies and other precious stones, as well as with silver and gold bows, ball-shaped ornaments, and small white lights.
“The bare tree itself is worth $10,000. And the jewelry has a value of $11 million – I think 11.5 to be exact,” says Hans Olbertz, the hotel general manager. The jewelry was donated by Khalifa Khouri, owner of Style Gallery, one the Sheikdom’s popular jewelry establishments.
Another sign of opulence -White Gold Mercedes
This is not the first time that expensive and unusual items have been noted in Abu Dhabi, which is now being touted as a “playground for the rich,” especially those from neighboring oil rich Arab countries.
People are still talking about the white gold Mercedes Benze sports coupe that often turns heads when it pulls up to establishments frequented by wealthy people in Abu Dhabi.
What makes the whole scenario seem a bit out of place is that Abu Dhabi is trying to be a leader in promoting projects that are friendly to the environment, especially the carbon neutral Masdar City project, which when completed “somewhere between 2015 and 2020” will be billed as a showcase for sustainable residential and business communities.
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Abu Dhabi’s opulence was recently displayed to world movie audiences when a large part of the latest Sex and the City 2 movie sequel was supposed to take place in Abu Dhabi, but was actually filmed in Morocco, due to objections by the Sheikdoms rulers.
With all this in mind, it may cause many people wonder why Abu Dhabi was recently voted as the “Best City in the Middle East – Mediterranean Region (MENA)” by study conducted by the Middle East’s job site Bayt.com and research specialists YouGovSiraj.
Haifa’s Bottle Tree
Abu Dhabi needs to be more considerate of environmental aspects, and not just expensive showcases. And this bejeweled Christmas tree is a sterling example of extravagance carried a bit too far.
The Emirate Hotel might better consider the environmental example of Haifa’s Christian, Muslim and Jewish community, who have erected a Christmas tree made entirely from empty plastic bottles – a move to illustrate the need to recycle plastic containers.
The Haifa tree is made from 5,480 recycled plastic bottles, which is obviously more environmentally friendly than the precious stones, and gold and silver used for the Emirates Palace Hotel tree with all that was involved in mining those ornaments.
Maybe Abu Dhabi will one day get this message. At the present time, it doesn’t seem to.
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