The Grand Opening Celebrations at Atlantis The Palm in Dubai, was one for the memory books. At a cost of nearly $20 million, it is touted as the most expensive private party in history. With over 2000 celebrities in attendance, its guest list included such names as: Denzel Washington, Michael Jordan, Janet Jackson, Lindsay Lohan, Cherise Theron, and Quincy Jones. The night’s entertainment was a cross-cultural event with the famous Lebanese Singer, Nawal Zoghby, opening the show, and at a cost of $4 million, Kylie Minogue was the Headline Performer.
Security for the event was quite intense. Access to the Palm Jumeirah, where the Atlantis is located, was restricted. Unless you are a resident of the Palm, or a guest of a resident (guests needed to arrive before 4:00 p.m. to gain entrance), you were not allowed access. It was approximately 5:30 as we approached the entrance way into the Palm Jumeirah. There were police barricades and security turning much of the long line of traffic away. Without the proper resident access card, gaining entrance was futile. We finally made our way past security and all the barricades to the villa, where we settled in to enjoy the evening’s festivities. Located on Frond F, the beachfront property was the ideal spot, with an unobstructed view of the Atlantis before us. We enjoyed an evening of barbequing and drinks, as the sun set and we watched the magnificent display of images reflected onto the façade of the hotel. The most amazing was the 3D images of 2 Aladdin Lamps appearing. These hologram images were so realistic, one would think that they were actually part of the Atlantis.
An amazing sight, but nothing compared to what was in store for us later in the evening. As the evening progressed, we could hear the “La la la, la la la la la” of Kylie’s famous “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”. At approximately 11:30 p.m., the children had long since fell asleep, security was making its beach rounds, and we asked when the fireworks were scheduled to begin. We were told “Soon, very soon!” (Dubai is notorious for not following a committed schedule. When first announced, we were told that the firework display would be held sometime between 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.) Soon after midnight, we could tell that the fireworks would soon begin, so we awoke the children, to prepare them for the show, but nothing was to prepare us for the amazing display of pyrotechnics. What we were expecting was a beautiful display of fireworks over the Atlantis, what we got was an interactive display, with us being right in the middle of the show. Fireworks were going off up and down the Frond, and all around us. It was truly an amazing sight!
As I watched in amazement, I realized that this was bigger than just the Atlantis, and must be going on throughout the whole Palm Jumeirah. I thought “What a magnificent sight this must be from the air”. The 20 -30 minutes of fireworks exploding all around us seemed to go on forever. Jaw dropped, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the display. Each time the fireworks would lessen, and I thought they were coming to an end, another series would start up with great intensity. When the show finally came to a close, the deep silence and smoke filled sky that left one with the impression that they were standing in the middle of a battlefield in war-torn Bosnia. All I could say was “WOW”!