When you are rich, you get used to doing things differently. You don’t like walking on carpetless floors or escalators that don’t gleam. Being served by a measly 1000 men isn’t your style anymore. Keeping all these absolute necessities in mind, one can’t help but agree with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz; that is more indispensable than extravagant. On his first trip to Russia ( to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin), the king traveled with 1500 people. I wonder how he will put these men to work on a four-day visit. Some were probably entrusted with carrying around the pure gold escalator for the royal to disembark. The Saudi monarch also needs a few hundred of the army of 1500 employees to tend to the 1,764 pounds of food.
Besides these essentials, he needs his furniture and carpets. The 85-year old monarch obviously can’t perch his derriere elsewhere after nearly a century of royal comforts that the fittings of the Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons won’t match up. Speaking of these world-class hotels, the Saudi government ultimately booked them thoroughly and even asked some guests to cancel their reservations to make room. Even permanent residents were asked to move out. The government ensured the Saudi king was well-looked after striking a deal on weapons sales and discussions on ways to cooperate on stabilizing the oil market.
Accommodating his massive entourage was a mammoth task leaving the luxury hotels no other option. To serve people food and beverages exactly how they like it, members of the royal entourage replaced some of the hotel staff. King Salman, staying at the Four Seasons, also came with his own furniture. Other than Saudi Arabia’s long-reigning head of state, other noted dignitaries who travel with insanely large entourages are U.S. presidents. Part of their cavalcade is a bullet-proof limousine and a Secret Service protection force. If need be, they too book entire hotels. Former U.S. President Barack Obama stayed at the Ritz in Moscow during a 2009 trip, and President Donald Trump also stayed there in 2013 for the Miss Universe contest.
What’s pretty hilarious is, after all this show of wealth and being so particular about everything from taste, furniture, food, the grand customized golden escalator, had a mechanical misstep and stranded the monarch for nearly 30 seconds before he had to face the ordeal of walking down the stairs.
The technical failure did dampen what could be the most bizarre flex by a billionaire, and the internet indeed wasn’t ready to spare. One user wrote, ‘King of Saudi Arabia forced to walk down the stairs when his golden escalator malfunctioned. Prayers up to Salman during this tough time.’ Another commented, ‘Pffft… that always happens with gold. Everyone knows that you build escalators with diamonds.’ That indeed must’ve been the toughest half-minute of his life. All this bruhaha also cost him about $3 million, not including the cost of services, restaurant meals, and spa treatments.