With heated stalls and hot milk, life couldn’t get more glamorous for Saudi Arabia’s most beautiful camels when they stay at a luxury compound near Riyadh. For 400 riyals (just over $100) a night, the camels are trimmed, scrubbed and pampered before taking part in beauty contests, where millions of dollars are at stake. The camels, many of which are rented, are checked closely for Botox and other illegal enhancements which could see them thrown out for cheating.
And it’s all done in a COVID safe environment to prevent any disruptive outbreaks. The Tatman, described as the first hotel for camels, is an open-air desert compound near the annual King Abdelaziz Festival, which has prizes totalling $66.6 million. It’s a logical step for the lucrative industry in the well-heeled Gulf, where camels are prized as a symbol of traditional life.
The animals are judged on attributes including their lips, necks, humps and colouring, and wins are highly prestigious for their owners. Omair Al-Qahtani, who is Saudi, checked 80 camels into the Tatman for 16 days, saying it would cost him $160,000-213,000. The facility is “very comfortable, as the camels remain under their care and undergo regular medical examinations”, the 51-year-old businessman told AFP.