Dubai’s first football-themed hotel where fans can base themselves for the duration of the 2022 Qatar World Cup and be shuttled in and out of Doha for the day will open in November.
NH Dubai on the western side of The Palm Jumeirah will become a hotspot for supporters heading to Qatar to take in the biggest sporting event staged in the region.
Demand for hotel rooms from international football fans planning to stay in the UAE has surged in recent weeks, as the sporting showpiece edges closer to its November 21 kick-off.
The Football Fans Dubai Experience, hosted by the Expat Sport tourism agency, will offer a package of flights from Dubai to Qatar, airport transfers and accommodation at the new NH Dubai The Palm.
Separate hospitality packages will include match tickets.
“This is a completely new addition to the Dubai hospitality landscape," said Sue Holt, executive director of Expat Sport, the exclusive sales agent of official match day hospitality.
"We are collaborating with the official partners of the Fifa World Cup to make this is a unique and immersive experience for our guests.
“As a specialist sports tour operator, we fully understand the travel needs of football supporters, which can be quite specific compared to general holidaymakers.
“There will be international fans who are coming to this region for the first time, so being in a relaxed environment with other like-minded individuals in a stunning location on The Palm should make this an enjoyable and unforgettable holiday.”
Doha day trips planned
During the month-long tournament, NH Dubai The Palm, which is due to open in early November, will be transformed from a modern, 533-room hotel into a hotbed of football fever.
Hotel guests will have access to sports challenges and competitions throughout the tournament, while the hotel’s sports bar will be transformed into a fan zone.
Supporters flying to Doha on a day trip and staying at the hotel will receive welcome packs, tickets and discounts to other designated fan zones around the city to watch games.
Shuttle buses will be laid on so fans can watch other matches at official fan zones around the city at Dubai Harbour, the Coca-Cola Arena and Football Park at DIFC.
Expat Sport is offering a four-night stay for $1,290 (Dh4,700), $2,580 (Dh9,400) for eight nights and a 12-night package for $3,870 (Dh14,200), all of which include twin or double-room accommodation.
Travel and hotel packages are aimed at those already with a match ticket sourced through the Fifa lottery or elsewhere.
The hospitality packages start at $950 (Dh3,500) for a group match and includes stadium parking, food and drink. The most expensive hospitality package is a seat in the Pearl Lounge at $4,950 (Dh18,000) per person for a group match. It includes a six-course meal, entertainment, cocktails and a dedicated concierge service.
A stadium suite can be hired for $22,450 (Dh82,450) for a private dining experience.
Since Expat Sport offered deals to the International Sports Travel Agencies Association, 150 packages have already been snapped up in the UK.
World Cup ticket applications close on August 16
Demand is also expected to flow in from the US, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, the Netherlands and Canada. who qualified for a World Cup finals for only the second time — 2022 will be the country's first for 36 years.
So far, 1.8 million tournament tickets have already been sold, with the final window for applications closing on August 16.
Tickets for the first World Cup held in the Middle East will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis with an online queuing system in place for those hoping to buy.
Fans are limited to buying a maximum of six tickets per match and a maximum of 60 for the tournament to deter bulk-buying by touts who look to resell admissions on the black market for inflated fees.
Supporters have been warned that buying tickets outside of official selling agents could invalidate their purchase, leading to their match tickets being cancelled.
More information on World Cup tickets can be found at FIFA.com.