EMIRATES Palace, the luxury Abu Dhabi hotel, made history at the weekend as it unveiled the world’s first vending machine selling gold bars in its lobby.
The ATM machine, itself plated in 24-carat gold, updates its prices every 10 minutes via an internal computer to match those quoted on international markets.
It sells bars weighing up to 10 grams and customised coins, all with a money-back guarantee.
Thomas Geissler, the German chief executive of Ex Oriente Lux, the machine’s maker, said the Emirates Palace was an ideal place to launch his idea due to its über-wealthy Gulf clientele.
He added that the machine’s wares would be as attractive to private investors as to holidaymakers looking to buy extra-special souvenirs.
The machine currently accepts local dirham notes, but the option of using credit cards is set to be introduced in the future.
Geissler’s foray into the Gulf comes after four weeks of frenzied buying by the world’s gold investors, who view the precious metal as a safe haven in uncertain economic and political times.