George Clooney


How many stars have been to Dubai? Why aren't there more?

I know, right? Here you have a place where the islands look like palm trees, and the palm trees are made of $10,000 bills, and for some reason Jay-Z is still living in States. There's a reason for it, though, and a very good one.

But first and for the record, plenty of famous people recently have headed to Dubai, including:

1. Tiger Woods, who is building a golf course out there

2. The Clooney, who has appeared at the Dubai Film Festival, and...

3. Satanic chef Gordon Ramsay, who is tired of paying British taxes and says he wants to move to Dubai full-time. But you may be seeing many, many more celebrities there in the near future.


Next week marks the opening of the biggest, splashiest distraction to hit the Middle East since flying carpets. I speak of the Atlantis, the Palm resort, the brainchild of celebrity-friendly developer Sol Kerzner. Kylie Minogue will be singing, and SamRo will be deejaying. And where Sam Ronson is, LiLo is, and where LiLo is...well, you get the idea.

And of course there will be a Nobu restaurant inside. Can't have American stars without a Nobu.

Until this point, most celebrity Dubai sightings have been motivated not by golden sands but by cash. Yes, Brad Pitt has established some interest in Dubai, but it's reportedly a property venture with a company called Zabeel. Even David Beckham, who hearts Dubai and is headed there in December, will be working—training with his new soccer team, the Italian Whoevers.

"There hasn't been a celebrity-friendly environment there until recently," says Jaci Reid, managing director of the PR firm Westin Rinehart, which wrangles celebrities ranging from Anne Hathaway to Kerry Washington to Maggie Gyllenhaal.

"There's a certain familiarity that the stars like to have. Now that celebrities are being invited over on a bigger scale, and by someone they know well, they're growing more comfortable with it."

Now I must go and seek out the location of my own invitation to the star-studded Atlantis opening. I'm sure it's around here somewhere ... lost among all my $10,000 bills.

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