A Qatari accommodation vendor has stunned football fans during the World Cup by offering rooms in a large tent on a desert farm for almost $5000AUD a night.
While some people were angry at paying around $350AUD per night for meagre accommodation in fan villages flanking the major stadiums, the Fan Village Heenat Salma Farm offers a completely different – and far more expensive – experience.
For as much as $4,606 per night, fans can ‘enjoy’ a non-airconditioned tent experience with housekeeping that only comes to change the linen once every three days or on changeover.
While there is no air-con, there are pedestal fans to blast the 32 degree daytime temperature back into your face.
The accommodation is located 17km from Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and 18km to Mall of Qatar, so you can forget quick and easy access to games, shopping and a cold beer as well.
Some of the amenities on offer include a gym made of wood, a massage treatment tent, a swimming pool, complimentary WiFi and majlis, which is an Arabic term meaning sitting rooms.
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 Qatar company Caravane Earth, which spruiks itself as ‘a foundation that promotes social, cultural and ecological transformation’.
‘Today, financial growth overpowers our sense of belonging to Earth. We treat natural resources as commodities, finding value only in the profit they bring. Ancient craft is gazed on through museum glass, as heritage is replaced with habits that serve the immediate comfort of a privileged few,’ their website reads.
‘At Caravane we seed, practice and support ethical entrepreneurship driven by positive systemic impact, with the aim of reconnecting humans to their roots, nature and to themselves.’
Yet Caravane Earth did not seem super opposed to profits in the build-up to the World Cup, when one Japanese fan posted a screenshot of an outrageous nightly rate of QAR 10,935, which equates to $US3064, or roughly $4600 in Australian currency.
‘Qatar World Cup fan village, tents have finally appeared. It is called “Fan Village Heenat Salma Farm” and is extremely expensive at 3,064 USD per night,’ the fan posted.
Despite the eye-watering price tag, visitors have largely given positive reviews of the accommodation and particularly enjoy the organic food and craft-making experiences on offer.
‘We spent one night at Heenat Salma farm and very much enjoyed it. The farm is really nice – although as we came to know, best is to come in winter to have even more greenery around and to be able to see the vegetable garden at its best,’ one guest posted on TripAdvisor.
‘The staff is very attentive and welcoming, 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 horrific experience they had in the lead-up to the World Cup when construction noise drowned out their entire stay.
‘We stayed one night at Heenat Salma Farm, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to sleep. Construction works near our tent from 1 am non stop till morning,’ they posted in their review.
‘Engine noise back and forth and truck loading stones and driving behind our tent. It was surreal as we were hoping to find peace and silence, escaping the relentless construction works from Doha city.
‘Even during the breakfast we had workers drilling right next to the kitchen. So this was a restless and shocking experience for us.’
For fans looking for last-minute accommodation for the two remaining Socceroos games in Qatar, the price of a night’s accommodation at Fan Village Heenat Salma Farm had dropped to about AUD$1500 a night at the time of publication.