Developers splash out on Kylie Minogue, four thousand lobsters and seven times more fireworks than the Beijing Olympics
The Atlantis hotel in Dubai opened last night with a star-studded £13m ceremony on the Palm Jumeirah.
The celebrations were in keeping with the country's reputation for excess – a £1.5m performance by Kylie Minogue, a feast of 4,000 lobsters and a firework display visible from space.
The opening of the £1bn Atlantis is reported to have cost around $20m (£13m), with the costs split evenly between Palm developer Nakheel and Sol Kerzner, the developer of the Atlantis hotel.
The Australian chanteuse performed a 45-minute selection of her greatest hits to 2,000 VIPs including Robert de Niro, Charlize Theron, Michael Jordan and Janet Jackson.
Four Michelin-starred chefs were flown in to prepare a banquet of oysters, champagne and lobsters for the guests, and Minogue's performance concluded with a firework display seven times larger than that of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.
If I had to do it all over again, I might do it recognising the fact that we're living through a bit of a tough economic environment
Sol Kerzner, developer of the Atlantis hotel
The ostentatious display of wealth is somewhat incongruous with the rapidly worsening financial crisis enveloping Dubai's property market, a fact that did not escape Kerzner.
He said: “If I had to do it all over again, I might do it recognising the fact that we're living through a bit of a tough economic environment.”
Tough economic environment or not, the opening has captured newspaper headlines across the world, though even the tabloids have criticised the hotel's lavish, somewhat overblown designs. The Daily Mirror called it a “temple of excess” while the Sun was less restrained, describing it as “the eighth chunder of the world”.
The hotel is set across 53ha of land and features 1,539 rooms ranging from an $800 (£550) room to a $35,000 (£23,000) presidential suite. The hotel's aquariums hold 65,000 fish, including sharks, dolphins and – as of yesterday – not a single lobster.