Polo is the sport of kings and queens and in today’s modern form is enjoyed by the jet set and elite. Combine polo with an amazing state of the art venue, put in on the beach in the world’s most amazing city, Dubai, and you’ve got a recipe for a thrilling and unforgettable experience. That’s just want the organizers Mamemo did in presenting Julius Baer 2014 Beach Polo Cup Dubai presented by Cadillac.
Dubai is a place where if they don’t do it right and over the top, they don’t do it at all. The Beach Polo Cup was an impressive event from the entrance and all the way through to the final chukker. The event was attended by Dubai’s posh set and included members from the royal family and titans of industry.
Every world-class event needs a bit of star sprinkling to make it a success and to create an international the buzz. Celebrities were also there and were found mingling amongst the nattily dressed polo set of beautiful people in high fashion attire. Stars spotted include footballing legend, Diego Maradona and Hollywood actors, Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson who soaked up the glamorous beach polo vibe at the glitzy event.
The first beach polo match was played for the first time 10 years ago in Dubai. It was organized by the Dubai Beach Polo’s charismatic founder Sam Katiela. Katiela reflects on those early years where he mused “ If they can play polo on grass and snow.. then why not on the sand. “ From this idea beach polo was born and over the decade, the sport has leaped into over 30 cities worldwide including Miami, Chicago, Ibiza, Germany, Mexico, Italy, England, and China. I first experienced beach polo in Miami where is has now become one of the most anticipated events of the spring.
Back to Dubai, with the support of some of the worlds top brand sponsors, Katiela and his lovely wife and event director, Gabriela, put on a truly world class event. The sponsors were out in full force all happily participating for access to an affluent audience and in fun and exhilarating event. Cadillac was on full display and presented their 2015 Escalade for all to admire. Maradiva Resort in Mauritius is an amazing place for attendees to get away for some R&R when leaving Dubai. To take these international hobnobbers to the Mauritius or where ever they may desire, Bombardier and Vista Jet was there to meet and mingle their jets with the jet set.
One of the tastier sponsors was Lindt Chocolate of Switzerland. They not only provided an chocolate sculpture of a polo player for the event winner, they were there with their “chocolate bar” providing delighted guests with a host of chocolate concoctions from cocktails, pastries and a host of other delectable bites. After all, who doesn’t love chocolate and when you have one of the top chocolatiers in the world at the Beach Polo Cup, …it’s the perfect mixture of ingredients.
The even title sponsor was Julius Baer who is known for discrete wealth management. The Beach Polo Cup was clearly the right venue to spend an enjoyable evening with clients as well as to meet some new ones.
The crowd enjoyed watching the matches over the two day event chatting while bottles of Veuve Clicquot popped and the tasty canapés were served. The bites were first rate with an elaborate smorgasbord of dishes to please the most finicky palate.
There were four teams participating comprised of international players from Europe and the mecca of Polo, Argentina as well as local talent. JB Guevra of Argentina shared with me his love of the sport and in playing in Dubai. “I’ve played around the world in the US, UK, and Asia and I always love coming to play in Dubai. I’ve also played a number of beach polo tournaments and this is by far the best. The quality of the field, the organization, the horses and the completion make is a enjoyable for the players and fans every year. “
One cannot mention Polo in Dubai without mentioning the Habtoor family. The Habtoors are a dynasty of commerce and polo and play in virtually all of the major tournaments in the region. Mohammed Al Habtoor was the patron of the Bombardier & Vista Jet team played alongside his son, Habtoor Al Habtoor. Mohammed Al Habtoor won the previous 3 Beach Polo Dubai tournaments consecutively. Mohammed Al Habtoor has been playing polo since 1999 and his commitment to the game has led to playing all around the world resulting in his creation of The Dubai Gold Cup Series, now a World Polo Tour.
The brother of Mohammed al Habtoor is Rashid Al Habtoor and is the Patron of the Julius Bar team. He is also the Chairman of Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club. He has formed the Habtoor Polo Team in Dubai along with his brother Mohammed Al Habtoor and has participated in many International Tournaments in the UK, France, Germany and Spain.
The other team patrons were Stuart Wrigley Maradiva Team and Piero Dillier of LindtMaster Swiss Choclatiers. Piero Dillier, patron of the Lindt team. He is the FIP European Director and a member of the FIP Council of Administration. Away from the Beach Polo Cup, Stuart Rigley is the Patron of the Dubai based Rhino Polo team which has won tournaments in Dubai, Argentina and China. Stuart has played polo in Argentina, China, France, Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and the UK.
In the final of the 2014 Julius Bär Beach Polo Cup Dubai, the teams VistaJet Bombardier and Julius Bär faced each other. In the end team VistaJet Bombardier won by 8-4
As a recent Dubai transplant from Miami, I have grown to enjoy the sport of polo and beach polo in particular. I often visited the majestic green fields of Palm Beach to experience the Sunday polo matches in Wellington as well as the most recent Beach Polo Matches in Miami’s South Beach. I was not aware that beach polo originated in Dubai with the Beach Polo Cup six years ago. It was a most enjoyable weekend for all who attended.
See the full story and more images at Arabia Escapes.