Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Dubai defied the economic crisis last night as stars flocked to South African billionaire Sol Kerzner's Atlantis resort for a $20 million party that included the world's largest fireworks display dazzling enough to be seen from space and a performance by pop singer Kylie Minogue.
The 2,000 guests of the Atlantis, located on a man-made island in the shape of a palm, were treated to a champagne reception and an ``Atlantean Feast'' and danced the warm night away to Minogue's performance of ``Better the Devil You Know'' followed by Samantha Ronson, a DJ friend of actress Lindsay Lohan, mixing 1980s pop music.
``I love Dubai, I love the architecture'', basketball player Michael Jordan said in an interview on the red carpet before the party. ``It's the second time I've been here, I'll be back.''
Janet Jackson, the singer, and Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., boogied to Ronson's classics including Aretha Franklin and Bell Biv DeVoe. Lohan, a shoeless Mischa Barton and model Jade Jagger chatted and smoked cigarettes on the steps of the stage.
Last night's extravaganza was the latest attempt of the emirate to cling on to its reputation as the international jet set's hub in the Arabian Peninsula, even as the boom may be ending, spending is hurt by the credit crisis and stocks decline. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 6.7 percent yesterday, bringing the year-to-date decline to 49 percent.
The second-largest sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates has become the Middle East's premier tourist, financial and commercial destination, benefiting from an inflow of petrodollars and investments from international institutions that have set up offices to tap Persian Gulf wealth after a six-year oil-price boom.
Guests were served a dinner including Atlantic lobster and tiger prawns hosted by Michelin-starred restaurateurs Nobu Matsuhisa and Giorgio Locatelli, who have opened venues in the $1.5 billion Atlantis. The sister of the original Bahamas hotel boasts 1,500 rooms, a dolphin bay and a water park.
The 924 square-meter Bridge Suite, which costs 155,000 dirhams ($42,000) a night excluding breakfast, may be the most expensive hotel room in the world. Atop a curved dome bridging the hotel's two towers, the suite includes a butler service and a 16-seater dining room.