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July 21, 2008 1:07 PM   Subscribe

Emirates Palace, a seven-star Hotel in Abu-Dhabi, is offering up the world's most expensive vacation.
posted by gman (74 comments total)

 
It looks like Garfield unknowingly mailed his nemesis to pure lavishness.
posted by clearly at 1:12 PM on July 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


To this day I, too, associate Abu Dhabi with Garfield.
posted by everichon at 1:15 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I didn't know there were seven stars.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:19 PM on July 21, 2008


It is so luxurious it broke the rating system, AZ.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:21 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie, there are, like, hundreds of stars.
posted by everichon at 1:21 PM on July 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


I didn't know there were seven stars.

Considering how many places have fought tooth and nail to get three stars from Michelin, I suspect this is a made-up metric that's shorthand for saying "You're spending a fuckton of money."
posted by beaucoupkevin at 1:22 PM on July 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Hey, if the buffet is really good it might be worth it.
posted by ldenneau at 1:25 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


As the revolution goes on, how the stars will multiply! - K. Okamoto
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:28 PM on July 21, 2008


Rich people to rest of world: HA HA, FUCK YOU.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:29 PM on July 21, 2008


Peter Burns, professor of tourism at the University of Brighton, said: "The $1m holiday can be viewed either as a high point or a low point for tourism."

Thank you, Captain Obvious. I think a "professor of tourism" can be viewed as a low point for academia.
posted by ornate insect at 1:32 PM on July 21, 2008 [11 favorites]


That doesn't even sound like that much fun, I mean you get to watch a rug being made swim in the dead sea, and you get a free shotgun? None of that stuff even sounds all that expensive.
posted by delmoi at 1:32 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, there's no vacancies for tonight.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 1:33 PM on July 21, 2008


How much for the memory of this vacation?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:36 PM on July 21, 2008


Fools, money, easily parted.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:47 PM on July 21, 2008


You guys should sleep over on my couch. It is an eleven-star hotel. I was going to just go for ten stars but then, you know, where would I go from there?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:50 PM on July 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Anyone else puzzled as to why you are given a shotgun as a gift? This is right after going golfing and before the optional perfume-making lessons. Why the shotgun?
posted by arnicae at 1:51 PM on July 21, 2008


According to the Wikipedia article, Scorpions and Bon Jovi have already performed there. So there must be a feeling that the hotel's prime is in the past.
posted by longsleeves at 1:55 PM on July 21, 2008


Hey, Dave! You should see this hotel, it's full of stars! - HAL
posted by tommasz at 1:56 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought they gave you the Scorpions or Bon Jovi as a souvenir. tsk That's what I get for skimming.
posted by everichon at 1:56 PM on July 21, 2008


I learned a brilliant word in the most recent issue of Viz*: "Elevenerife." It's used in one-upmanship. Thus:

Bill: "I have just got back from a holiday in Tenerife."

Bob: "Well, I've just got back from my holiday in Elevenerife."

I don't know why this springs to mind right now ...

* Juvenile, foul-mouthed, culturally influential UK "comic for adults".
posted by WPW at 2:02 PM on July 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


I figured the shotgun was for skeet shooting? Maybe the exclusive golf course is more of a country club complete w/ trap.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:03 PM on July 21, 2008


Why the shotgun?

So you can wear the t-shirt they also give you, that says "I Spent a Million Dollars in Abu-Dhabi in One Week and All I Got Was This Lousy Shotgun"

Either that or to kill you travel agent, especially if he/she recommends Abu Dhabi in the summer--when the temperature averages well over 100 degrees.
posted by ornate insect at 2:07 PM on July 21, 2008


I drove by that place a few times when I was in Abu Dhabi. It didn't look like that much fun. The thing about being in the UAE generally is that their idea of decadent is a lot of super rich-person stuff but doesn't include like a lot of drugs and sex tourism and what I think many Westerners would think of as "over the top" wretched excess sorts of things. For example I don't think "a bit of mile-high champers" means what I think it means....
posted by jessamyn at 2:08 PM on July 21, 2008


But you save a couple hundred if you sit through the timeshare pitch, right?

And seriously, Professor of Tourism?! I had a friend in college we called Dr. Bong, but he didn't pretend to be a real doctor.
posted by mosk at 2:11 PM on July 21, 2008


Why the shotgun?

Unless I miss my guess, it's for the day that the revolution comes and people want to put these mothers up against the wall.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:14 PM on July 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


One star hotel: You might get stabbed on the way to the parking lot. Don't lay on bed, it's filthy.
Two star hotel: Stabbing unlikely. They have a pool. Safe to lay on bed if fully clothed.
Three star hotel: Bigger pool. Bed safe for nude activities.
Four star hotel: Same size pool as three star, but with a jacuzzi. Bed is high quality and designed for nude activities.
Five star hotel: Really nice. Big pool and jacuzzi. Also has steam room and sauna. Beds come straight from a top quality brothel.
Six star hotel: Just like five star, but costs twice as much. Brothel beds include high quality prostitute.
Seven star hotel: Giant pool. Absurdly big, and filled with some kind of sparkling water. Beds are made from the finest prostitutes. You can pay to have people stabbed on their way from parking lot. The pecans in the mini-bar cost a million dollars.
posted by quin at 2:19 PM on July 21, 2008 [16 favorites]


"'The fabulously wealthy are suffering from a severe form of ennui caused by "having it all", so their search is not simply for something different but for something that can overtly demonstrate their wealth to others – given the publicity it will generate in star-struck publications like Hello! magazine. 'The $1m holiday is just another form of conspicuous consumption or trophy tourism.'"

Like, who the fuck cares?

Oh, wait. pictures of "Brangelina's" new-born twins might generate $11 - 20 million.

What a fucked-up world we live in. And one which allows a sentence to end in a preposition.
posted by ericb at 2:20 PM on July 21, 2008


The world's most expensive vacation is $1m? You can stay in my tent in my backyard tonight for $1,000,001. NEW WORLD RECORD!
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:21 PM on July 21, 2008


there are five stars unless you award yourself six or -like in this case- just decide to make up a new category.

I think this is a weak post that reads like not much more than an ad.

wasn't there a metatalk thread on gman's posts recently?
posted by krautland at 2:23 PM on July 21, 2008


In related news...

From last week: Abu Dhabi Buys 90% Stake in Chrysler Building.
posted by ericb at 2:23 PM on July 21, 2008


"I don't know what a six-star hotel is," Schulze says, clearly agitated. "Who assigns six stars? If people talk about six stars, they obviously don't know ratings and they don't know the business. The six-star conversation is ridiculous. It's a joke."
posted by ormondsacker at 2:23 PM on July 21, 2008


At least it provides employment opportunities for those who will never see a million dollars/pounds/euros in their lifetimes, and are not prone to nausea at vulgar display.
posted by Cranberry at 2:31 PM on July 21, 2008


from ormondsacker's linked article:

"We've never had a property score one hundred percent," notes Shane O'Flaherty, vice president of quality assurance for the Mobil Travel Guide series, which rates North American properties. "In our world, when you achieve five stars that's perfection. There are only thirty-one Mobil five-star hotels, so we don't see a need for a six-star rating. It's more of a public relations thing." Rival AAA agrees. "It sounds like marketing," says Michael Petrone, director of tourism information development.

Sounds like marketing? No shit. Michael Petrone, meet Peter Burns.

"Claiming six stars is an attempt for a hotel company to position itself above the fray," explains Chekitan Dev, a marketing professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. "I don't think of these hotels as six-star; I think of them as the new five-star. Yesterday's five-star is today's four-star."

So is today's seven star yesterday's six star? I'm so confused.
posted by ornate insect at 2:36 PM on July 21, 2008


wasn't there a metatalk thread on gman's posts recently?

wow. i never saw that til now. and y'all did that thread on my birthday - june 4!
posted by gman at 2:37 PM on July 21, 2008


Seven star hotels

Although the Burj Al Arab characterizes itself as the world's only "7-Star Hotel", several "7-Star" hotels are under construction. These include the Laucala Island in Fiji, Morgan Plaza to be finished in Beijing (China) in March 2008, the Flower of the East under construction in Kish, Iran, The Centaurus Complex under construction in Islamabad, Pakistan and the Pentominium, the Grand Chola in Chennai (India), a complex planned for Metro Manila and The Royalties Castle for Davao City in the Philippines.
posted by gman at 2:41 PM on July 21, 2008


Doesn't being flown up into space count as a holiday any more?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:43 PM on July 21, 2008


Maybe the can spend some of that money on their 1-star website.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:46 PM on July 21, 2008


I'll wait for the last-minute specials on Wotif.com, thanks.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:50 PM on July 21, 2008


Although the Burj Al Arab characterizes itself as the world's only "7-Star Hotel", several "7-Star" hotels are under construction. These include the Laucala Island in Fiji, Morgan Plaza to be finished in Beijing (China) in March 2008, the Flower of the East under construction in Kish, Iran, The Centaurus Complex under construction in Islamabad, Pakistan and the Pentominium, the Grand Chola in Chennai (India), a complex planned for Metro Manila and The Royalties Castle for Davao City in the Philippines.

You left out Blofeld's undersea lair.
posted by ornate insect at 2:50 PM on July 21, 2008


Other than that, this package reeks of a dearth of imagination to me.

I mean, it's just the same old shite as any regular package deal in a shitty resort, only the rooms are made of gold, there's more service, and you get chauffered around all over the place. In other words, it's just a bigger & tackier version of what any idiot in a Club Med resort gets.

If I had a million to spend on a holiday, I'm pretty sure MiGs would be involved. And mock battles between armies of war elephants. Maybe a recreation of Hasan-I-Sabah's fortress & garden of earthly delights at Alamut.

And, if there's any money left over, bungee jumping from a helicopter into that bay in South Africa that's full of jumping Great White Sharks, with a RPG launcher for protection.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:52 PM on July 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


The US is starting to look like a second world country. Not that it's any worse, just the others are better.
posted by stbalbach at 2:53 PM on July 21, 2008


I think Abu Dhabi is trying to compensate for its small collective penis.
posted by kldickson at 2:57 PM on July 21, 2008


'The fabulously wealthy are suffering from a severe form of ennui caused by "having it all",

WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!! MYYY PUUUSSSSSSSYYY HUUUUUURRRRRTTTTSSS!@!!!
posted by notsnot at 3:17 PM on July 21, 2008


I see that UbuRoivas and I share some similar sentiments when it comes to this kind of thing.

I'd suggest taking a ride of the vomit comet for some zero-g jarts using crossbows.

Or no-holds-barred rhino wrestling.

Or finding one of those restaurants that spins on top of some skyscraper, and seeing how fast we can get it going while still eating.
posted by quin at 3:25 PM on July 21, 2008


The free shotgun is their way of saying, "We're quite certain you're a satisfied customer."
posted by codswallop at 3:48 PM on July 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


That doesn't even sound like that much fun, I mean you get to watch a rug being made swim in the dead sea, and you get a free shotgun?

Hey if they can make a rug swim, I think that's worth a million, easy.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:54 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


bungee jumping from a helicopter into that bay in South Africa hotel in Abu Dhabi that's full of jumping Great White Sharks pretentious fools with more money than sense, with a RPG launcher for protection...well, hell whatever I say it's for...it's a fucking rocket launcher!

Much better.
posted by JaredSeth at 3:57 PM on July 21, 2008


Oh, wait. pictures of "Brangelina's" new-born twins might generate $11 - 20 million.

What a fucked-up world we live in. And one which allows a sentence to end in a preposition.


And they're donating all that money to charity...god, that's so fucked up.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:59 PM on July 21, 2008


Hey if they can make a rug swim, I think that's worth a million, easy.

True. In that part of the world, they're more accustomed to flying. It's an impressive feat of training, considering that water is not their natural element.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:34 PM on July 21, 2008


why you are given a shotgun as a gift?

After you realize you spent $1M on a week in a luxurious hotel IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, you may want to use it on yourself.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:55 PM on July 21, 2008


And they're donating all that money to charity...god, that's so fucked up.

$11 - 20 million dollars for "baby pictures" -- with the Brangelina proceeds going to charity -- make such worthwhile and justifiable?

Lest we forget that the rags will profit off of such -- with proceeds going to their corporate coffers.

I stand by my "fucked-up" comment!
posted by ericb at 5:34 PM on July 21, 2008


They left off the part where you get kidnapped, because you're obviously really f'ing rich and important.
posted by davejay at 5:43 PM on July 21, 2008


Also, about the having-too-much-money-ennui thing...

I have a Nintendo DS, and a Sega Casino cartridge. It was fun for a while, but when I obtained enough money that no amount of bidding and loss would have any real impact, it got really boring.

Then I figured out that if you turn the game off after a big loss, the loss doesn't save, so it's like a do-over. I could bet the farm on a ridiculous long shot, and if it tanked, no worries -- power off, power on, wealth restored.

You can imagine how interesting it was at that point. And so in some small way, I understand what it is like to be bored from having too much money, and not care about spending it recklessly.

however, I recognize that this is not a true reflection of the experience, and so if someone would like to help me understand what the real thing is like through first-hand experience, well, wouldn't that be a great way for you to overcome your having-too-much-money-ennui thing?
posted by davejay at 5:47 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Last hotel I stayed at, a Hilton, they charged me for the complimentary bottle of wine. At dinner I asked for a steak knife to eat my soup with, and they totally knew what was up. The breakfast martinis were to die for though.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:13 PM on July 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


At dinner I asked for a steak knife to eat my soup with, and they totally knew what was up.

"Watch out, we've got another fruitloop as a guest"...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:25 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I assumed the shotgun was for hunting the poor. I mean, what do you guys use yours for?
posted by whir at 6:56 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


1 Million seemed a tad expensive. Then I saw it was 1 Million US! I've booked the family!
posted by mattoxic at 8:22 PM on July 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Whoops - read a bit further

Jennifer Lopez, Sir Elton John and Justin Timberlake.

no thanks

Holiday canceled.
posted by mattoxic at 8:24 PM on July 21, 2008


I assumed the shotgun was for hunting the poor. I mean, what do you guys use yours for?

Heming-WAHEY!s.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:27 PM on July 21, 2008


I assumed the shotgun was for hunting the poor. I mean, what do you guys use yours for?
Pheasant hunting, peasant hunting -- isn't the 'h' silent and therefore useless?
posted by GrimJack at 9:50 PM on July 21, 2008


Peasant hunting makes for pleasant hunting.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:51 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


1,676.20 AED = 468.184 AUD
1 AED = 0.279313 AUD

I've paid more for a hotel room. Given I paid for a suite at a local 5-star hotel and they're offering a single room but their 55sqm room isn't that much smaller than the 65sqm suite and the amenities at western hotels are kind of crap I'd say I was the one that was screwed.
posted by Talez at 10:38 PM on July 21, 2008


Oh and I'm not rich. I just like to save up and go for a nice relaxing stay away from home at times.
posted by Talez at 10:43 PM on July 21, 2008


Psh. For a million dollars you could make an igloo out of cocaine.

And still have enough money left over to pay for rehab!
posted by flaterik at 11:10 PM on July 21, 2008


I thought they gave you the Scorpions or Bon Jovi as a souvenir.

Jeez, that's a tough call. I mean, I think the Scorpions would put on a better nightly back-deck show - German work ethic and all that - but I bet Jon Bon & Co. would take better care of the guest quarters, you know? Like they might even redecorate.

For a million bucks, frankly I expected Def Leppard at the very least . . .
posted by gompa at 1:38 AM on July 22, 2008


In the United Arab Emirates 99% (!) of the workforce [1] is composed of foreign nationals, most of whom have their passports confiscated on entry to the country. Reports of unpaid wages, "fees" in excess of wages paid, etc are extremely common. Employers specify the race, religion, and in many cases region within a nation, for the workers they wish to hire. Women from poor nations are often lured to the UAE with promises of work as domestics, and are then used as sex slaves; euphemistically referred to as "prostitutes".

Citizens of the UAE have no real rights. Free speech, freedom of assembly, etc are nonexistent, and, naturally there is no such thing as freedom of religion. The law, if it can be called that, is Sharia with all the torture, execution without appeal, and judicially mandated mutilation that implies.

Homosexuality is illegal, and punishable by death. The UAE has declined to publish any statistics regarding its system of criminal justice, and as a result the number of executed homosexuals is unknown. The UAE does not recognize male on male rape, but rather charges victims with the crime of "forced homosexuality". The UAE is on record as threatening at least one foreign victim (age 15) of homosexual rape by UAE citizens with the charge of forced homosexuality in an effort to silence him.

Technically a "federal republic", out of a population of over 5 million the number of eligible voters is 6,595.

Anyone who puts tourist dollars into the hands of those evil fuckers is, themselves, an evil fucker.

[1] In the private sector.
posted by sotonohito at 8:14 AM on July 22, 2008 [6 favorites]


Peasant hunting makes for pleasant hunting.

Maybe the hunting is good, but the meat is tough and stringy. There's a reason why Abbie Hoffman suggested we "Eat the rich".
posted by Goofyy at 8:46 AM on July 22, 2008


On non-preview: Sotonohito is sadly correct. My partner was just in Dubai on business, where he was told about a westerner being sentenced to prison, for having crumbs from some poppy-seed pastry on his clothes, when returning from Europe. Another person was sentenced to prison for farting on the escalator. (I mean, maybe a few lashes, but prison?!)
posted by Goofyy at 8:50 AM on July 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


exclusive golf course and the complimentary gift of a shotgun

Shotgun golf! Yes! Finally the dream is realized!
posted by bonehead at 8:56 AM on July 22, 2008


I understand what it is like to be bored from having too much money

No one has too much money unless they can pay cash for a squadron of F-22s for personal use.

And yeah, Dubai is a wasteland. May the desert sands quickly swallow up that monstrosity, and may the tides quickly wash away the man made islands.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:02 AM on July 22, 2008


No one has too much money unless they can pay cash for a squadron of F-22s for personal use.

And that, incidentally, would also make for a much better vacation than that frickin' hotel.

(I mean, seriously, can anyone think of a more boring, tedious way to spend a million? I'd rather camp in a field and burn it for warmth. At least I'd have an interesting story out of it. But letting me command a fighter squadron for a week would be awesome!)
posted by suetanvil at 12:56 PM on July 22, 2008


WPW, I think Victor Borge coined that joke. I sometimes steal it to say I was too cool for the norteños and had to form a new gang, the noreleveños instead. Why yes, I do think I'm funny, why do you ask?
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:15 PM on July 22, 2008


Re: seven stars

Yes, it is marketing. And brilliantly so. Everybody hears about 'five star' hotels--that have spiders climbing out of the drain, mould on the walls, and beds with a million miles on them. The 'star' rating system for hotels has completely fallen apart because there is no central authority--a la Michelin, or AAA with their Diamond, or even Zagat--that actually polices the ratings.

When the Burj al-Arab defined itself as a seven star property, they were making that very point: the star rating system is so much hot air. But even if it is hot air, we are light years beyond what even the best can claim. And based on what I have heard from a couple of people who have stayed there? The Burj provides a level of service so far beyond what anyone other than royalty and billionaires can experience that they have redefined the term.

Of course, now we're seeing a proliferation of new hotels that are all calling themselves seven stars. What we need is a Michelin guide for hotels, really.

And as for this conspicuous consumption... at the top strata of wealth, this is actually a really good thing, and should be encouraged. Yes, a fair percentage of that money spent just sloshes around from one gazillionaire to the next, granted. But a nontrivial percentage goes directly towards paying the people who build the buildings, who make the products, who serve the food, who wipe your ass with pristine pieces of silk hand-harvested from the bottoms of Southern (not Northern, naturally) Chinese silkworms. Yes, trickle-down economics is largely a lie, but not always.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:35 PM on July 23, 2008


dirtynumbangelboy Except for the fact that foreign workers in the UAE are systematically exploited and generally return home penniless and/or in debt to their employers your comments re: conspicuous consumption make a certain kind of sense. Given the reality on the ground in the UAE, not so much.
posted by sotonohito at 6:18 AM on July 24, 2008


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