via Times Online
Kylie Minogue lead the star-studded arrivals at the opening of the lavish bash to launch the world’s most expensive holiday resort.
The lavish Palm Jumeirah man-made island in Dubai is throwing the most expensive private party ever staged – at a cost of more than £16million – to celebrate the opening of the $1.5bn hotel Atlantis on the centre of the island.
The Australian singer, 40, looked stunning as she arrived at the lavish resort dressed in a pink and black floral chiffon gown with flowing train and her blonde hair in a curly short hairdo.
More than 2,000 celebrities from all over the world are due to watch Kylie Minogue make her Middle East debut.
The party included a 60 minute set by Kylie – for which she was reportedly paid an astonishing £2million – and what has been billed as the world’s largest ever fireworks display reported to cost another £3million.
The display had five times more fireworks than the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics.
It lit up the entire 43 kilometres of coastline of the Palm, an island whose beachside homes have already been bought up at a terrific rate by celebrities across the world.
Lily Allen and pal Rhys Ifans were among the first to arrive, followed close behind by former The O.C. actress Mischa Barton arrived on the arm of British designer Matthew Williamson.
There were no shortage of Oscar winners at the star-studded party, with Robert De Niro arriving with his wife Grace Hightower and Charlize Theron looking stunning in a Grecian white gown with her beau Stuart Townsend.
Other couples at the bash included model-of-the-moment Agyness Deyn and her boyfriend Albert Hammond Jnr of The Strokes and fellow model Daisy Lowe and her beau Will Cameron.
There were plenty of single celebrity females in attendance too, including Lily Allen, Jade Jagger, Trinny Woodall and Mary-Kate Olsen.
Awkwardly for German tennis legend Boris Becker, his ex-fiancée Sandy Alessandra Meyer-Wolden was also in attendance, just weeks after they announced their break-up.
On Becker’s arm was his ex-girlfriend Sharlely Kerssenberg, who he split up from shortly before he began dating Meyer-Wolden in August.
Speaking on Sky News, just two hours before she was due to go on stage, an excited Kylie said: ‘It’s staggering. I guess more is more here and they have done a great job. My room’s very nice.
‘It’s a different set list to the tour I’m doing at the moment. It’s an edited show especially for tonight.’
The 40-year-old star remained tight-lipped about how much she was earning for her set, she said: ‘I can’t tell you how much pocket money I get, it goes straight in my piggy bank.’
Speaking about the hotel’s potential, she added: ‘I think there’s a lot of people who love this kind of thing you get sun and everything you could wish for. My crew and dancers have been having a great time.’
However even Dubai is feeling the pain of the global financial crisis, and prices of real estate on the Palm Jumeirah are plummeting.
The spectacular bash – called Birth of an Icon – The Celebration – is being put on by Sol Kerzner, the South African billionaire owner of the Atlantis.
Atlantis shoots skyward from the outer ring of the Palm and is an ocean-themed resort with 1,539 rooms.
It has 17 hectares of water park amusement, further marine and entertainment attractions, and a collection of some of the most renowned world-class chefs.
Dinner tonight will be designed by four Michelin-starred chefs including Giorgio Locatelli and Nobu Matsuhisa.
The stellar guestlist also includes politicians, musicians and royalty who will be accommodated free at the resort – costing some £5,000 per head.
The hotel caused controversy last month when environmentalists campaigned for it to release a whale shark from its aquarium.
The 13ft whale shark, nicknamed Sammy, was the star attraction in a huge tank in the lobby of the luxury hotel.