Ritz Carlton and Saudi royals

As TOPHOTELNEWS reported last November, a number of high-profile Saudi Arabian princes and government officials were being temporarily housed in the Saudi capital’s 5-star luxury resort, the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh. These figureheads were being detained following an order by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and carried out by his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and were brought to the hotel at night, as guests were suddenly instructed to leave their suites, take their belongings with them and board buses to other hotels in the city. It was reported that over the course of a few days over 200 Saudi elites, along with members of the royal family and high-ranking officials and businessmen were taken to the hotel and held there without much explanation. Some of the officials were gradually released over the following months, with payments being demanded by the Saudi authorities to secure the release of the person in question. Some reports by the Middle East Monitor suggest that certain figures were made to pay up to 70% of their total wealth in order to be released from what many were calling a “gilded prison”.

Ritz Carlton under Saudi control

While it has been reported that the hotel will once again be open to the public soon, it is unclear as to how and when this will happen. According to some sources, up to 60 officials are still being kept in the hotel, some of whom have reportedly rejected certain offers of money to pay for their freedom. The BBC reported that 95% of people held captive were willing to make a deal to secure their release, but others have obviously been unwilling to strike a bargain and remain in the hotel. Others are said to be being transferred from the Ritz Carlton Riyadh to a local prison. At the initial time of the detention of these figures, the phone lines to the hotel were not operational, and their booking system had been closed. A message on the site states that the phones are still down, and will remain so until further notice. It is still not possible to book a room at the hotel, but apparently, after February 14th, travelers will once again be able to reserve a room in the hotel. A spokeswoman for the hotel said, “The hotel is operating under the directive of local authorities and not as a traditional hotel for the time being.” It is possible that the hotel could continue to be on lockdown past the February 14th date.

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