Oct 062017

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz is on a four-day state visit to Russia along with his entourage of 1,500 people, a golden escalator and his own carpets, a person familiar with the matter said.

On Wednesday, the 81-year-old king of the kingdom exited his plane out onto his golden escalator which malfunctioned halfway down and forced him to walk down rest of the way where his cavalcade of cars waited for him along with Russian police escorts.

This is the first visit to Russia by a Saudi monarch and both the countries have already struck a deal on weapons’ sale and how to stabilise the oil market.

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Around 800 kilogrammes of food has been flown in by a Saudi plane that is travelling daily between Riyadh and Moscow to transport supplies, according to the person.

“Members of the royal entourage also replaced some of the hotel staff with their own personnel, who know exactly how they like their coffee made,” he further added.

King Salman even brought his own furniture along to the luxury hotels booked by the Saudi government for the visit. Other guests were asked to cancel their reservations and people who lived there permanently even moved out.

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“The entire hotel is booked through October 8 and isn’t open to the public,” said a doorman dressed in red livery.

Even US presidents travel with large entourages that include a bullet proof limousine and a secret service protection force. US President Donald Trump stayed at the Ritz in Moscow during a trip in 2013 for the Miss Universe contest that he owned apart from former president Barack Obama.

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

This article originally appeared on Bloomberg

The post Saudi king takes 1,500 entourage, golden escalator, food, furniture on Russia trip appeared first on The Express Tribune.

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