If you thought the Cartier Polo held at The Guards Club, Windsor was uber-exclusive then you ain’t seen nothing til you've experienced the Middle Eastern version, The Cartier Dubai Polo Challenge.
Usually famed for going one bigger than anyone else – you’ve just got to look at the spanking new Burj Khalifa to get the idea – Dubai’s answer to the Guards Club event is a boutique little number of just 500 elite invited guests who were all treated to a sumptuous luncheon and afternoon tea in between matches. It certainly beat our usual picnic – even one from Fortnum & Mason.
The event, now in its fourth year, was hosted at Per Aquum’s luxurious Desert Palm polo estate, resort and luxury spa. In stark contrast with the vast arid sandscapes of the Dubai desert, the Palm is a veritable oasis of lush green fields and even boasts a rooftop terrace from which avid Middle Eastern polo fans can view romantic sunset chukkas.
Two fiercely fought matches ensued: The Desert Palm Trophy and then the main event The Cartier Dubai Polo Challenge. And the glossiness of the polo ponies was certainly rivaled by the style and star status of the esteemed designer-clad guests milling around.
Top billing though, went to multi-platinum selling Lebanese superstar and singer Nancy Ajram who was completely mobbed by a throng of photographers and fans. The Cartier guest of honour accepted a cheque from the luxury jewellery brand for £130,000 in her role as Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.
However, she explained to the baying journalists that her tenure will go above and beyond simple figurehead status and she plans to release a single in aid of the charity in addition to her eagerly anticipated album. The children’s charity is especially close to heart since becoming a mother herself – her daughter Mila was born last year.
Yes, The Handbook will certainly be paying a return visit – but until then roll on 25 July!