The Abu Dhabi hotel that put up that glitzy Christmas tree adorned with $11 million in jewelry denies saying it regrets the ploy, according to The National.
Some commentators had criticized the Emirates Palace Hotel for the 40-foot tree's opulence, saying the money could have been better spent.
Hotel officials seemed to express regret about overdoing it, but now they say they were misunderstood. The ostentatious tree was merely a public relations stunt, nothing more, they say.
"With anything you do, you might get negative responses and negative publicity. That doesn't mean what we did is wrong," Hazem Harfoush, the hotel's assistant director of marketing, told The National.
The statement that got news outlets talking said:
"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. ...
"Putting the Christmas tree up 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."
The hotel told The National that the gems on the tree are worth $11 million, but it hadn't bought them. They belong to a jeweler that has an outlet in the hotel, and they will be returned to the store when the tree comes down.