December 16, 2010
The Money Tree
Worth $11 million, standing 13 meters high and draped with jewellery, silver and gold colored balls and white lights, the tree at Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi is the world’s most expensive Christmas tree ever – or so the hotel hopes.
The tree is fake, but the jewels are not. There are 181 pieces of jewellery including diamonds, emeralds, rubies and pearls, according to Khalifa Khouri the owner of Style Gallery, which dressed the tree. There is a mix of rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. The most expensive item on the Christmas tree is a diamond set worth 3.5 million Dirhams, nearly $1 million.
The hotel will soon make a bid for an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, says Hans Olbertz, General Manager of Emirates Palace.
The Christmas tree has been at the hotel since its opening. It has been decorated differently every year to try to give visitors the Christmas feeling when they are away from home. This year the hotel decided to elevate the decorations, according to Mr. Olbertz – an understatement. “We wanted to have another record to coincide with the luxury of the palace.”
It is not what is under this tree that counts, but what is on it. The items are insured for 100 percent of their value and security monitors the tree 24 hours a day. Emirates Palace already has a gold ATM and holds a Guinness record for the most expensive alcoholic shot, a cognac which would set a visitor back a couple of grand, according to Mr. Olbertz.
Mr. Khouri, who celebrates his own birthday on December 25, said “with this tree we are saying Merry Christmas to everyone.”