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Mice Net : February 2009
united arab emirates anything goes story By brad foster EvErything is biggEr and better in the United Arab Emirates. And if they don’t have one of something, then they’re probably planning to build it. emirate, Dubai. Formally established in 1971, the UAE occupies an area of 83,600 square kilometres along the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The UAE is bordered by Qatar in the west, Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and Oman to the north and east. While four-fifths of the UAE is desert, it has a contrast of landscapes ranging from sand dunes to rocky mountains, fertile plains and desert oases. It is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the world, thanks largely to the rulers of Dubai who have made it a mission of theirs to offer the biggest, best and brightest of everything. And, since the seeds of that vision were first planted, they’ve made considerable progress in achieving those aims. There is some who believe that Dubai will experience a slowdown in construction of its infrastructure as the global credit crunch hits this year, but not this writer. Money, it seems, is not in short supply in Dubai. And money talks. Case in point: just after stock exchanges around the world took a battering in late 2008 Dubai threw what is undoubtedly the largest party for a hotel opening the world has ever seen. The party of the century was to celebrate the official opening of the first resort on The Palm Jumeirah – Atlantis, The Palm. T he United Arab Emirates is a constitutional confederation of seven emirates – Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, and the best known The event for the 1539-room resort was reported as costing US$20 million, which included a fireworks display seven times larger than the fireworks of the Beijing Olympics, and performances by Kylie Minogue and Middle-Eastern pop sensation Nawal in front of 2000 guests including Lindsay Lohan, Mary-Kate Olsen, Robert DeNiro, Janet Jackson and Oprah. The event was hosted by international hotelier, Sol Kerzner, Chairman of Kerzner International and H.E Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of Nakheel, the developers and operators of Atlantis, The Palm, to introduce Palm Jumeirah and the Atlantis brand to the world. Kylie Minogue opened her 60-minute performance with On a Night Like This, wearing a black and gold Jean-Paul Gaultier creation, designed specifically and exclusively for the occasion and closed with Better, The Devil You Know. Guests dined on signature dishes prepared by Atlantis’ multi Michelin- starred chefs, Santi Santamaria, Michel Rostang, Giorgio Locatelli and celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa, before heading to the exclusive Royal Afterglow party with top US DJ, Samantha Ronson. Atlantis, The Palm was created by Kerzner International Holdings Limited, a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts. With its enviable location atop the crescent of The Palm Jumeirah, the opening of Atlantis, The Palm continues ABOVE: Atlantis, The Palm Grand Opening. Photo by Paul Thuysbaert. mice.net 171