Emirate's Palace $11 million tree: denied
A word to unsuspecting tourists: sometimes you can't actually go inside Emirates Palace just for a look. When you are least expecting it, say when you've decided to take your dad there for high tea or you fancy a peek at a massive Christmas tree decorated with diamonds and sapphires while on a Christmas day ramble, the guard will tell you they aren't letting anyone one in without dinner reservations. And there you are in your sneakers, tank top and Lululemon pants, without any. So I can't say I've seen the thing. And I get that Emirates Palace may indeed regret the whole affair, and that they didn't actually go out and spend $11 million on the thing. Rather they just trotted out the same tree they've had other years (not much more snazzy than half the other hotels in town are boasting) and got a bunch of jewels out on loan to decorate it and then, and this is the part I think they might be smarting about, publicised it. But hey, this is the hotel with the vending machine that dispenses gold bars, remember? The one where the jaw drops upon entering the lobby, that a major Hollywood film with massive bucks and a terrible plot (Sex and the City 2) couldn't even begin to do justic to, even with the entire imagination of the industry's top set designers. This is Opulence, with a capital "O" – no matter what temperature the global economic climate.
Although I am quite sure the staff at Emirates Palace did not mean to be insensitive (no one ever does, do they?) I enjoyed John Oliver's take over at The Bugle podcast – "It's like a 43-foot f***you to the poorest countries in the world" – all the same.