Grand Ambition in Dubai

Photograph for TIME by CELIA PETERSON / ARABIANEYE

MAN WITH A PLAN: Sol Kerzner in the lobby of the Atlantis

Leave it to glitzy Dubai to throw one of the most extravagant parties in living memory amid the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression. And leave it to Sol Kerzner, hotelier extraordinaire, "the best saloonkeeper in the world," as his friend Frank Sinatra once dubbed him, to organize the bash.

On Nov. 20, the Dom Pérignon is set to flow as international revelers from Robert De Niro and Jean Paul Gaultier to Bollywood star Bipasha Basu gather to celebrate the grand opening of the Atlantis, a $1.5 billion, 1,500-room hotel resort that is over-the-top...

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