Floating hotels are coming to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup

Sarah Paynter
Reporter

Qatar had 27,000 hotel rooms in fall 2019, a recent report showed — leaving a substantial shortfall, since FIFA requires a minimum 60,000 hotel rooms to accommodate guests at the 2022 World Cup.

To help fill the gap, a semi-submersible vessel will transport 16 identical, pre-assembled, buoyant luxury hotels to Qatar beginning in 2021. Two-by-two, the four-story hotels will be pre-assembled in a shipyard and floated to the peninsular country, providing a total of 1,616 hotel rooms on the coast of Qetaifan Island North, a fan zone near Qatar’s Lusail International Stadium, where the World Cup will take place from Nov. 21, 2022 to Dec. 18, 2022. 

Identical, pre-assembled, buoyant luxury hotels will float to Qatar, beginning in 2021. Renderings and photos provided by: Admares.

“This is the first time ever that pure floating real estate has been used as a temporary solution for accommodation needs at this scale,” said Mikael Hedberg, chief executive officer of Admares, the Finland-based alternative real estate construction company that has been commissioned to deliver the fan accommodations together with international investors.

The hotels’ construction at an undisclosed offsite location creates minimum ecological impact and lends to high energy efficiency — plus, the buildings are solar powered, said Hedberg in an exclusive interview.

Identical, pre-assembled, buoyant luxury hotels will float to Qatar, beginning in 2021. Renderings and photos provided by: Admares.

Designed by Finnish architect firm, Sigge Architects, the hotels will provide a four-star efficient business hotel experience. The nightly rate was not disclosed, but will offer a price point on the reasonable end of expensive World Cup stays. In the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Russia capped hotel rates at $8,355 a night, according to reports. Currently, hotel stay packages for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar range from $1,500 per night to over $3,000 per night, according to sports travel websites

Each 101-key hotel will have a lounge bar and restaurant with an outdoor terrace on the ground floor, said Hedberg.

Identical, pre-assembled, buoyant luxury hotels will float to Qatar, beginning in 2021. Renderings and photos provided by: Admares.

The hotels will be owned by investors, and after the World Cup, will be floated to other cities — many European and South American cities have already expressed interest, said Hedberg.

“After the World Cup, the hotels can be placed at any coastal location where the water is at least 4 meters (13 feet) deep,” said Hedberg.

The hotels are part of a $40 billion effort to increase tourism in Qatar, in part to prepare for the 2022 World Cup, which will be the first time the tournament has been held in the Middle East. 

“It is impressive what Qatar is doing. I don’t think ever in history, has so much been done in just one city,” he said, mentioning Qatar’s new stadiums, tourism and hospitality efforts.

Identical, pre-assembled, buoyant luxury hotels will float to Qatar, beginning in 2021. Renderings and photos provided by: Admares.

Sarah Paynter is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @sarahapaynter

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