A $15 million (R210m) jewel-bedecked Christmas tree at the Kempinski Hotel Bahia in Estepona has taken the title of the world’s most expensive tree. Image: www.kempinski.com
JOHANNESBURG - A $15 million (R210 million) jewel-bedecked Christmas tree at the Kempinski Hotel Bahia in Estepona, near Marbella on the Spanish Costa del Sol, has taken the title of the world’s most expensive tree from the current Guinness World Record holder for the world’s most expensive Christmas tree, which is at the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi and was valued at $11 million. 

The Kempinski tree is the product of a partnership between the hotel and celebrity designer Debbie Wingham, who holds a string of “most expensive” titles, including the most expensive wedding cake in the world and the most expensive shoes in the world, which were a pair of sandals made with gold, pink and blue diamonds.  

Amongst the jewellery and pink, red, white and black diamonds, the Kempinski tree also has edible treats, some of which were printed by a 3D printer, as well as traditional decorations as the hotel embraces the Fourth Industrial Revolution and traditions from past decades.  

One of the reasons for the tree launch this year is that the Kempinski Hotel Bahia celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. 

The Kempinski group is one of Europe’s oldest luxury hotel groups, and was created in 1897. It has a portfolio of 78 five-star hotels and residences in 34 countries. A night at the Kempinski Hotel Bahía costs around R9 800 for the special winter promotion.

Spain has been hit hard by the demise of travel group Thomas Cook in September, which stranded 600,000 customers at that time. Spain, which has already seen some hotel closures, is seeking to attract more tourists. 

The Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation said that more than a million autumn and winter visitors will be unable to fly into Spanish destinations. This will result in the closure of at least 500 hotels, generating losses to the tourism sector running into the hundreds of millions of euros.

For context the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City is worth only just over a R1 million, or roughly a two hundredth of the Kempinski tree. The Rockefeller tree has been erected in the same place every year since 1933, so it is “older” than most humans.

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You didnt think id create #theworldsmostlavishchristmastree without making a cake to complement it did you? 🤔🤔🤔 OF COURSE NOT this is Mrs Wingham we are talking about here🎂🍰🍩🍨🍫 and even the mayor turned up for a slice!!!!! The tree was inspired by art deco, most ornaments were the colour palette of peacock feathers hence why I did this 2 peacock number with 400 cupcakes, well there were alot of guests folks as you can see, we did 200 cupcakes replenished twice and they went in 3 mins per 200, is that a world record? 🤔 I was lucky enough to have @kempinskibahia pastry team pre bake the cupcakes and assist with the decorating. After all 400 for one woman, tis abit of an ask! #caketress #cakeart #pastryteam #teamwork #luxurycakes #grandcakes #cakequeen #couturetocakes #couturiertocaketress #fondant #thesugarpaste #sugarwork #thecakedecoratingcompany #sugarartist #cakeartist #cakeoftheweek #igcakes #celebritycakeartist All edible materials provided by @the_cake_decorating_co My fondant of choice @thesugarpaste Cake stand @alessandro__galanti

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The most spectacular “Christmas tree” however must be the hillside tree at Monte Ingino, just outside of Gubbio in central Italy, as this tree is visible from the International Space Station. 

The “tree” consists of a large amount of individual pine trees fitted with lights to make the tree’s outline and baubles. Every year the Pope switches on the tree remotely from the Vatican City.