World Cup: Peek inside a US$200-a-night ‘room’ in Qatar (The Caravan City)

he price of accommodation has been one of the main issues stopping people from traveling to the World Cup in Qatar. Tournament tourists have been managed so strictly...


he price of accommodation has been one of the main issues stopping people from traveling to the World Cup in Qatar. Tournament tourists have been managed so strictly that fans can only book accommodation in the country directly through FIFA, and can only enter the country when they have a Hayya temporary visa. You can only get your Hayya card if you can prove you have accommodation and match tickets, from FIFA.

This has created a monopoly on accommodation run by the football governing body. Among the cheapest places to stay offered by FIFA are its nine Fan Villages inside and outside Qatar.

The cheapest is Caravan City, a vast car park where hundreds of caravans have been placed on the edge of the motorway for fans to stay in for £100 a night. The most expensive is the Heenat Salma Farm which offers luxury facilities like yoga classes and massage treatments for £850 a night.

Most Wales fans we spoke to though are staying in a huge facility near Doha airport offering cabins for £200 a night.

Wales fan Gethin Morgan said: “It’s very basic but actually quite pleasant. The cabin is a bit like staying in a caravan. The bed isn’t the most comfortable but I’m sleeping well and the air con unit and fan, while loud, work really well. The shower is great.

“In terms of the wider camp it’s got a nice festival vibe since all nations are mixed together. There’s food trucks, a Starbucks, a really useful supermarket, a big screen to watch games.

“You can tell it’s pretty hastily put together though, in fact further on down the site it looks like they’re still building. I’ve heard some horror stories about toilets not flushing, showers not working, no hot water etc but ours is all working fine at the moment.

“The only issue we had was that there weren’t any pillows and we were told it was a two day wait for them. We ended up just swiping a couple from the communal areas.”

He added: “Basically it’s tidy enough as long as everything is working, but it’s so overpriced.

“As a budget option it’s great but budget options for this World Cup still mean £200 a night (split between two of us sharing one cabin), which is nuts. I accepted the cost months ago though, and the place is pretty much exactly like the photos advertised, but it is so expensive for what it is.”

Wales fan Luis Lloyd was less complimentary. He said: “The beds are impressively hard, the shower leaks into the room and the air con sounds like a train.”

We spoke to another football fan from Saudi Arabia who had arrived at the site on Tuesday, in time for his nation’s incredible win over Argentina.

He said: “When we arrived there was no room for us. There were lots of people like us, they had no beds for us despite us booking accommodation.

“I’ve come to the Fan Festival now for a few hours in the hope they have sorted the issue in a few hours.”

The campsite offers a 24/7 reception, housekeeping twice a week, a short walk to the metro, food and drink amenities, free WiFi, cinema screen, outdoor gym and tennis court. Rooms are air conditioned with a shower and tea/coffee facilities.

FIFA say their campsites “are ideal for fans who want to be at the heart of the tournament atmosphere, with easy connections to Doha and the stadiums”.

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