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Tue 2 Sep 2008 07:36 AM

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Atlantis bosses say fire-hit resort will open on time

UPDATE 3: Blaze damage will not delay Sept 24 opening of luxury Palm resort.

The luxury Atlantis hotel and resort on Palm Jumeirah will open as planned on September 24, despite suffering smoke damage in a dramatic fire on Tuesday.

Officials said that investigations have found only limited damage to the external roof and lobby dome of the hotel, although a source close to the project told Arabian Business that the $25,000 a night Bridge Suite - located above the hotel lobby where the fire started - also suffered smoke damage.

The suite offers a generous reception lounge, dining area with a gold-leaf table seating 16 guests, and library with state-of-the-art media centre.

Both the master bedroom and king bedroom have magnificent balcony views. Both rooms have his and her en suite bathrooms, while the third bedroom has two double queens and an en suite.

The source added that just two days ago all 1,500 rooms at Atlantis were occupied as the staff did a sleepover dress rehearsal, where they stayed the night, and tested the facilities.

Investigators were continuing to assess the extent of the damage on Tuesday.

Officials said the blaze at the luxury hotel was contained to the lobby area of the resort after emergency services attended the incident at about 7.30am.

A spokesman said: "We are currently awaiting further information from the local authorities. The fire has since been extinguished. No staff were injured and every one of our employees on site at the time were evacuated immediately.

"The site of the fire appears to be localized in the lobby area of the resort and we are currently unsure of the extent of the damage."

Security officials blocked road access to the hotel, leaving hundreds of people standing at the access road.

The fire comes just weeks before the planned lavish opening of the hotel that has been built by 72-year-old South African property tycoon Sol Kerzner.

The hotel will have a total of sixteen restaurants while its massive aquarium will stock some 65,000 species of marine life.

The project had been finished and fitted-out ahead of schedule. It is not known what caused the fire on the roof of the building.

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Vishal 12 years ago

Neither possible injuries nor deaths deserve a mention? How blindly capitalist are we becoming?