I have nothing against being rich, as long as the wealth is deserved and doesn’t stem from abuse of power and corruption, but even when it’s justified, excessively showing it off can appear inappropriate. I found sometimes that in the UAE luxury is too easily boasted, like in Abu Dhabi Emirates Palace.
Government-owned Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi is a 5-star luxury hotel operated by Kempinski Hotels & Resorts Group. It’s a lavish show of opulence in Arabian style, complete with golden door handles, marble stairs, gold-distributing vending machine, dancing fountains, landscaped swimming pools and a private marina. If you feel a little tired, you can unwind with some of their sumptuous spa treatments in a luxury version of a traditional Moroccan hammam.
I appreciate that the UAE is a wealthy state and, I’m told, rulers devote a huge amount of money to charity projects, which makes them honorable. However, when I went to the super-luxurious Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace all that ostentation was a bit too much. I’m not going to start a crusade against luxury nor a debate on whether it’s good or not to show off, but when I was staring at the vending machine spitting out gold ingots (or better “potentially” spitting out, since I wasn’t really inserting my ridiculous bank card), I did mull over a thing or two.
Meandering through Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace corridors felt like discovering the different areas of an amusement park where exaggeration is the rule.
Truth be said, the Abu Dhabi Emirates Palace was not built and is not meant to be an amusement park but “simply” a hotel, so very likely curious people (like me, that is) are not welcome. Fair enough, but they also have a bar which, if intended solely for the hotel’s guests is probably not going to do too well.
I was told, for Christmas 2010, one of the leading jewelers sponsored the annual Christmas tree, and thought opportune to pack it with diamonds. Apparently, the “gift” provoked a debate, mainly caused by the fact that such a display of luxury is not in line with a proper Christmas spirit.
Call me boring, polemical, disenchanted, but when I see such a wealth-boasting I can’t restrain myself from thinking that in the world there are far too many needy people rather than well-heeled and that maybe, if resources were better managed, Unicef, Onu and all similar NGOs and institutions wouldn’t have to issue year after year shocking poverty stats.