Inside the Saudi King’s 1,500-Person Entourage in Moscow

On his historic, four-day state visit to Russia, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz brought 1,500 people, a golden escalator and his own carpets, reported the media quoting people familiar with the matter.

The special escalator he travels with was used by the 81-year-old leader of the Gulf kingdom after he exited his plane late Wednesday and stepped out onto it. However, there was something that went wrong with it. The monarch had to had to walk the rest of the way as the private escalator malfunctioned halfway down. Flanked by Russian police escorts, a cavalcade of cars sped the monarch to the center of the city, reports said.

The two countries have discussed ways to continue to cooperate on stabilizing the oil market and have already struck a deal on weapons sales during the first visit to Russia by a Saudi monarch. And the Saudis made themselves at home in Moscow as they have done in other cities.

Media reports said that in order to transport supplies, a Saudi plane is traveling daily between Riyadh and Moscow. 800 kilograms (1,764 pounds) of food has already been brought in, reports said.

And reports said that because members of the royal entourage know exactly how they like their coffee made, they also replaced some of the hotel staff with their own personnel. His own furniture was also brought in by King Salman, who’s staying at the Four Seasons.

the Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons are the two luxury hotels which were booked entirely for the visit by the Saudi government. And if media reports are to be believed, the two hotels even moved out people who live in the hotel permanently and has had to ask some guests to cancel their reservations to make room for the Saudi guests.

There were no comments available from the representatives from the Ritz and Four Seasons. There was also no response for requests for comments from the Royal Court in Riyadh on size of the delegation.

Sometimes booking entire hotels and travelling with large entourages, including a bullet-proof limousine and a Secret Service protection force, U.S. presidents also have their royal way of travelling. President Donald Trump stayed at the Ritz in Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe contest that he owned and Former U.S. President Barack Obama stayed there at during a 2009 trip.

Vadim Prasov, vice president of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia said that not including what the delegation will spend on services, restaurant meals and spa treatments, the bill for fully booking the two hotels during the visit may run about $3 million.

(Adapted from Bloomberg)

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