Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the executive chairman of Nakheel, the hotel developer and operator, said: “I’m thrilled and proud. Five years ago where I am standing now was water.”
The event featured the world’s largest fireworks show and a private concert from the Australian singer Kylie Minogue, who made her Middle East debut. Giant Arabic mosaics were projected onto the side of the hotel throughout the evening.
The entire artificial palm-shaped island on which the facility lies was locked down several hours before the festivities began.
Anyone without a ticket was refused entry; residents were forced to show a special pass or tenancy contract to access their homes.
A special “exclusion zone” was established along the coastline, which banned boats from coming within two nautical miles of the shore.
The midnight fireworks show, designed and executed by Grucci, an American firm, lit up a stretch of the shoreline extending 43km with a display that organisers claimed was visible from space.
The guests were treated to a banquet prepared by several Michelin-rated chefs, among them Nobu Matsuhisa and Giorgio Locatelli.
The hotel was built as part of a joint venture between Nakheel, which is controlled by the Dubai government, and the hotel operator Kerzner International.
Another Kerzner property, the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, recently reported that bookings are down and laid off about 800 employees. News Via