Thursday, December 1, 2022

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World Cup fans pay $4,600 to sleep in tents without air conditioning in Qatar, far from the action

A Qatari accommodation provider stunned football fans during the World Cup by offering rooms in a large tent on a desert farm for almost A$5,000 a night.

While some people fretted about paying around A$350 a night for meager accommodation in fan villages next to the big stadiums, the Heenat Salma Farm fan village offers a completely different – and far more expensive – experience.

For up to $4,606 per night, fans can enjoy a non-air-conditioned tented experience with maid service that changes linens only every three days or at changeovers.

While there’s no air-conditioning, there are standing fans to blast the 32-degree daytime temp back in your face.

The property is 17 km from Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and 18 km from Mall of Qatar, meaning you can forget about quick and easy access to games, shopping and a cold beer.

Some of the amenities on offer include a wooden gymnasium, a tent for massage treatments, a swimming pool, free WiFi, and majlis, which is an Arabic term for living room.

Fan Village Heenat Salma Farm has also given itself a generous five out of five suns, although this is not an official rating system and was created by the owners, not a governing body or reviews left by guests.

The village is run by the Qatari company Caravane Earth, which describes itself as a “foundation for promoting social, cultural and environmental change”.

“Today, financial growth overwhelms our sense of belonging to Earth. We treat natural resources as commodities and see value only in the profit they bring. Ancient crafts are viewed through museum glass, while heritage is replaced by habits designed for the immediate comfort of a privileged few,” reads their website.

“At Caravane, we sow, practice and support ethical entrepreneurship, driven by positive systemic impact, with the goal of reconnecting people to their roots, nature and themselves.”

Still, Caravane Earth didn’t seem very opposed to winnings in the run-up to the World Cup, when a Japanese fan posted a screenshot showing an outrageous overnight price of QAR10,935, which is US$3,064, or roughly US$4,600 in Australian currency.

“Qatar World Cup Fan Village, tents have finally appeared. It’s called “Fan Village Heenat Salma Farm” and is extremely expensive at $3,064 per night,” the fan wrote.

“It’s very spacious and has a pool and it’s a great facility that’s a far cry from glamping and it’s very different from the tent we envision. The site is approximately 20km west of central Doha.’

Despite the staggering price, visitors have given the property an overwhelmingly positive rating, particularly enjoying the organic food and artisan experiences on offer.

“We spent one night at Heenat Salma Farm and really enjoyed it. The farm is really pretty – although we’ve been told it’s best to come in winter for more greenery and to see the vegetable garden at its best,” wrote a TripAdvisor guest.

‘The staff is very attentive and friendly, they did absolutely everything to make our stay comfortable and memorable. A great getaway from the usual Doha life.”

However, one guest spoke of the horrifying experience they had leading up to the World Cup when construction noise drowned out their entire stay.

“We spent one night at Heenat Salma Farm but unfortunately we couldn’t sleep. Construction work near our tent from 1am to morning,” they wrote in their review.

“Engine noise back and forth and trucks loading rocks and driving behind our tent. It was surreal as we hoped to find peace and quiet and escape from the relentless construction in the city of Doha.

“Even during breakfast workers were drilling right next to the kitchen. So that was a disturbing and shocking experience for us.”

For fans looking for last minute accommodation for the two remaining Socceroos games in Qatar, the price for a night’s accommodation at the Heenat Salma Farm Fan Village had dropped to around A$1500 per night at the time of publication.

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