Qatar 2022: $480,000-per-week yacht plays host to super rich


Doha, Qatar
CNN

It has been dubbed the ‘Arabian Riviera’, where the streets are immaculate and are interspersed with luxury hotels that offer shimmering views across the marina. Welcome to ‘The Pearl.’

Work on the artificial island – now one of the most exclusive areas of Doha – started in 2004 and was named after the traditional practice of pearl diving which was a dominant industry in the area before the discovery of oil.

People dressed in designer clothes walk their chi-kei dogs along the promenade while others relax on artificial beaches that sit next to a harbor with shining yachts.

Many of the boats have a permanent mooring in the area, but some have arrived to provide luxurious accommodation to soccer fans looking for the ultimate World Cup experience.

The Saluzi, notable for the striking graffiti style design that adorns its side, is one such superyacht.

It arrived in Doha on November 24 and its army of 35 staff were busy preparing for their first, confidential booking of the tournament as CNN was invited on board for a tour.

A stay on the Saluzi costs nearly $500,000 per week and as soon as you step on board, you are enveloped in luxury.

Guests are invited to exchange their shoes for white fluffy slippers and are greeted with a drink by the immaculately dressed staff who are on hand to tend to clients and ensure they are happy.

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From jacuzzis to self-playing pianos, it’s a floating space with three floors to sleep, play and work across.
Many of the outdoor areas have hot tubs and guests can even play golf on the back of the boat – there’s a pitching green for keen golfers, complete with decomposing balls that turn into fish food when they hit the water.

There are also diving instructors, swimming pools and poker tables – you will never be bored on the Saluzi.

“We can accommodate 32 guests but we are rarely full,” the Saluzzi’s captain Asparu Chorbajiev told CNN.

“When people like privacy, they might just use one or two cabins, but they can also bring a lot of support staff.”

Chorbajiev, who has worked and lived at sea for almost 40 years, would not reveal who will stay on the boat during Qatar 2022, but said his guests are often famous or very wealthy businessmen.

The captain is clearly proud of the ‘Saluzi’ and wanted to show off its many hidden secrets; From its new lamps that guests turn on and off with a remote control device, which is shaped like a gun, to the artwork that decorates the entrance walls.

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The distinctive paintings inside the yacht match the pictures on the outside. All the designs are inspired by the name of the yacht, which is derived from the legendary Chinese war horse.

Each of the bedrooms is designed in a unique style.

A fully equipped gym sits opposite a luxury spa, complete with a massage bed that has the ability to drip wine onto your body as you relax. This yacht even has a hair salon.

A total of 16 cabins are available on the Saluzi, with its VIP rooms equipped with a balcony. There is also a study, a cinema room and an area for gastronomic dining. According to Chorbajiev, the boat is also known for karaoke parties.

All meals are prepared by the crew. The yacht is also spotlessly clean. You leave one site and a team of people suddenly appear to rearrange it back to its pristine condition.

“It’s a global yacht. It’s usually in the Mediterranean every summer,” Chorbajiev said.

“Then, in the winter, we can go to the Far East or places including the Seychelles, Maldives, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong or in the Gulf region like here.”

The yacht was recently in Abu Dhabi for the Formula One Grand Prix, but was delayed getting to Qatar due to reams of paperwork needed to obtain a visa to enter the country, according to Chorbajiev.

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There are many outdoor areas to relax.

There is a fully functioning spa on the superyacht.

While moored in Abu Dhabi for the Grand Prix, the yacht hosted people watching the race from its decks that overlooked part of the track.

Now in Doha, guests can organize limousines that take them to the World Cup stadiums for the games of the tournament. Guests can also request to take the yacht from the marina to see the city from afar.

According to BOAT Pro’s Global Fleet Tracker, more than 20 superyachts have entered Qatari waters since the start of the tournament, including vessels such as Al Lusail and Alaiya, which are moored around Doha.

A superyacht World Cup stay offers something very different from some of the other accommodation available to guests in the city during the tournament.

From tents in the desert to portacabins on the beach in Doha, World Cup organizers have had to be innovative in providing accommodation options to fans with the influx of an estimated 1.5 million people staying in a nation smaller than Connecticut.

CNN visited one of the fan villages as fans began arriving ahead of the tournament.

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