Qatar 2022: World Cup fans acclimatize to desert accommodation — in tents and portacabins

Doha, Qatar

As fans flock to Qatar, they are understandably in holiday mode as they await the prospect of a desert World Cup.

But where better to live in a country that is geographically on a peninsula smaller than Connecticut and is the smallest World Cup host in history?

With Qatar set to welcome an estimated 1.5 million fans during the month-long tournament starting November 20, the scramble for accommodation is likely to increase.

Jimmy and Kenice Leung were among the first fans to arrive at the Fan Village Cabins Free Zone, one of the largest sites available to supporters, checking in on Thursday.

“They built it in the desert,” Jimmy told CNN Sport, as he scanned the site of his residence, which he was impressed by.

“Staying in a hotel or Airbnb in Doha is very expensive so this was a great option.”

Free Zone Fan Village is about 20 minutes by metro from downtown Doha but right now it’s like entering a dystopian world.

There is much more of value around the village – one or two building sites and a main road – so the staff quickly direct you to reception, which is a 10-minute walk to a large car park.

Organized in different colors and mapped in alphabetical order, stretching into the distance are an endless line of portabeans with hundreds of empty tables and chairs, along with large gazebos.

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Basketball courts, outdoor gyms and a giant television screen are dotted around the complex where fans can play and relax.

When CNN visited Friday, only a handful of fans were milling around, though many more were expected during the tournament.

Container living in the desert ... World Cup style.

Navigation is also proving a bit problematic – the Lengs admit to getting lost in the endless makeshift roads that connect the village. However, there are electric scooters to get around and the staff will take you to your door in a golf buggy.
The Leungs work in media and traveled from Hong Kong to watch their favorite team, the Netherlands, at Qatar 2022.

“It’s very quiet at the moment but there are food options and the rooms are nice, but a bit small,” Kennis adds.

As fans like Langs struggled to find their feet in Qatar on Friday, they were greeted by the news that soccer’s world governing body FIFA had made a U-turn and that the eight host of the tournament’s 64 No alcohol will be sold in the stadiums. the match

For those supporters who are on a budget and unable to afford what is on offer from hotels, eight Fan villages provide “casual camping and cabin-style” options.

Some World Cup visitors, however, were less than impressed with what was on offer.

“There are lots of cabins and containers and a big screen so we can all watch the games together but the accommodation, well… what can I say?” Fei Peng from China, who has been here to watch 30 World Cup games, told CNN Sport.

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“This is the best option we can afford. It is so expensive in Doha that we cannot expect more.

According to the official accommodation agency of the Qatar World Cup, a night in a Free Zone Fan Village cabin starts at $207 per night, but in Caravan City, cheaper options can be found for $114 per night.

And if you have your heart set on camping under the stars, a tent is available in Al Khor Village for $423 a night.

If you’re not on a budget, a self-described “Eco Farm” cottage will provide a more luxurious option for $1,023 per night., While a stay on a cruise ship will set you back at least $179.

The cabin comes with container beds and air conditioning.

Many fans are expected to stay in neighboring Qatar, flying in and out of the Gulf state for matches.

Qatar Airways announced in May that it had partnered with regional carriers to launch 160 additional daily return flights at “competitive prices” that would shuttle fans from Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat and Riyadh.

There will be no similar check-in facility to expedite transfers and dedicated transport services will be made available to take fans from the airport to the stadium.

It will also be possible to drive from cities such as Riyadh, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which are all less than seven hours away.
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Those coming to Doha will have to contend with the heat.

The tournament was moved to the winter months due to hot summer temperatures – the average high temperature in Doha in the second half of November is around 28 °C (82 °F), much better than in July, when the World The cup will usually be Conclude, when the average high temperature is about 42 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit).

Even in winter if you come from a cold climate, heat generates energy. Walk too far, too quickly and you’ll soon find yourself drenched in sweat and in need of hydration.

Shade is King and tournament staff, dotted around Doha, are quick to advise you to stay out of direct sunlight.

The heat subsides a bit, though not much, in the evenings, although the nights are humid and muggy.

Fortunately, Doha is fully equipped with air conditioning inside the stadiums and the white wall architecture will also help reduce the intensity of the heat.

With the first match just two days away, the country is putting the finishing touches to its preparations as it prepares itself for the World Cup like no other.


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