Hotel denies it regrets bejeweled tree
December 21st, 2010
11:49 AM ET

Hotel denies it regrets bejeweled tree

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.

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Filed under: Abu Dhabi • United Arab Emirates • World
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    Christmas is generally quite a waste: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/why-i-hate-christmas/

    December 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. KiltinSA

    The fact that a Christmas tree was publicly displayed in Abu Dhabi really suprised me.

    December 21, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      It surprised me as well.

      December 21, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • LiveAndLetLive

      Christmas is celebrated across the middle east, not just for the foriegn quests but there are many Christians who live in the middle east. I was actually surprised that CNN showed this story because usually the U.S. media only focuses on stories that portray how intolerant the middle east is, where in fact stories like these are more of the norm...

      December 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mimi

    Although they didn't say what hotel this is I can tell just from the photo. I stayed at this hotel a couple of years ago and I will never forget this tree. Its really amazing to see it in person. And yes I was SHOCKED to see this in Abu Dhabi. Its HUGE!!! And actually now that I think of it, it was after Christmas when I saw it. I remember getting on the plane to go there on new years. And also the fact that it has $11 million in jewelry is not surprising. They have rooms that have gold throughout the bathroom...and that's just the tip of the iceberg. This hotel is AMAZING.

    December 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • anna

      Second paragraph, Emirates Palace Hotel. I have a good friend teaching English there as a second language. She is going to see it on Christmas Eve. The country has a lot of Americans and other's there who do celebrate our holiday. It sounds like they put it up to put smiles on those Christians living in the country and visiting. I think it is a nice gesture. I have Muslim's next door and we talk about our different faiths. It's nice.

      December 21, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sweet

    The christmas tree has been around much much longer. Got something to do with the promise of new life to come brightening the dark roaring of winter.It is cool they put it up out there. The tree does at least recently speak of Christmas. So at least they all are not down on the west.

    December 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Fawad Sayed

    @Everyone:
    The christmas tree display should not surprise anyone. Christians and Muslims have been living together in peace and mutual respect for centeries in these ancient countries and in majority of them still do. Its the negative propanganda and interferience in the internal matters of soverign states -especially ME – that destroys this equilibrium of mutual respect and honoring each others traditions. The West support the righs of Jews more then they support Christians in these countries and for that they will spread lies and propaganda.
    What i am surprised about is that all of your are so surprised that in a land where Jesus was born and raised, there are Christians living there. I mean isnt it pretty obvious there are christians in ME?

    December 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texan

      I think it is very nice.

      December 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kim

    I just hope those who work at that hotel got a bonus for the xmas.

    December 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Island-50

    I'm surprise that an Adu Dahbi hotel was willing to display a Christmas tree decorated with materialistic items...keep it simple: a christmas tree, strings of lights, and ornaments...simple and to the point.

    December 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sunny

    its beautiful........................................

    December 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ryerin

    It's nice to see where our inflated gas price revenues are going and how generous those people are to the more unfortunate people on the planet who are starving and in need of medical treatment and shelter, Thank you Adu Dahbi for your kind generosity to the poor and needy on this planet we call earth NOT

    December 21, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DanteX

    What IDIOTS these people be – They have fallen under the influence of those PATHETIC Caucasians and have ignored the word of God.

    Jeremiah: Chapter 10: Verses 1-10:

    1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

    2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

    3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

    4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

    5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

    6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.

    7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.

    8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.

    9 Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men.

    10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

    Silly Pagan symbols – Silly pagan Caucasians.

    December 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Duanne Hickenbottom

    DanteX. so there aint no such thing as a pagan n/gg roid?

    December 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Duanne Hickenbottom

    DanteX. so there's no such thing as a pagan black man?

    December 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. WINNAR

    that tree looks stuuuuupid

    December 21, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Screw face

    Who gives a fu~k mr.president and america send me another stimulus check

    December 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar

    Everybody should be glad for Xmas. U get $bonus and extra time off. Hell, I am for a Muslim holiday if I get off and more money.

    December 21, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
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