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Tue 13 Dec 2011 11:50 AM

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Emirates Palace scales back bling Christmas tree

Luxury hotel opts for traditional tree after criticism of last year’s $11m extravaganza

Emirates Palace scales back bling Christmas tree
This years tree has more traditional decor of baubles and bows

Luxury
Abu Dhabi hotel Emirates Palace erected an $11m tree decorated in jewellery and
gems
to mark the festive season last year, but this holiday has opted for a
more modest approach.

Abu
Dhabi’s self-styled ‘seven star’ hotel, has scaled back its Christmas tree this
year after admitting it regretted decorating last year’s tree with $11m of
jewels.

The
tree, thought to be the world’s most expensive, sparked a wave of criticism from
UAE residents
, who said the gesture misrepresented the spirit of Christmas and was
an unnecessary display of wealth.

It appears
the Abu Dhabi hotel listened, as this year it has opted for a more traditional
42ft by 24ft tree covered in baubles and bows.

The
tree’s lights were officially switched on Sunday and ongoing entertainment
includes members of the UAE philharmonic, carol singers from St Joseph’s church
and Santa Claus.

Last
year’s 13-metre fake tree was decorated with jewellery comprising gold,
diamonds, rubies and other gems by the jewellery retailer Style Gallery. But
the hotel said it regretted “attempts to overload the tradition” via state news
agency WAM just days after the unveiling.

“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 said in a statement.

The
hotel last year launched the world’s first gold bar vending machine, dispensing
one, five and 10 gram bars as well as one ounce bars of gold.

Six gold
coins of varied weights and engraved with symbols of gold-producing nations
Canada, Australia and South Africa, are also dispensed by the Gold To Go
machine.

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