Ritz-Carlton Riyadh ‘gilded prison’ hotel to reopen
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – The five-star Ritz-Carlton, which has been a detention centre for princes and top officials, is taking bookings again after being on lockdown since November 2017.
An estimate of more than 200 elites, including 11 princes, ministers, and wealthy businessmen had been held there and other hotels, since the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched an unprecedented drive against corruption and abuse of power and privilege in the kingdom.
Some of the detainees including Prince Miteb bin Abdullah (once a contender to the throne) had been freed after reaching a settlement. He was held for more than three weeks and was released after making an agreement to pay a hefty sum of more than USD$ 1 billion.
This campaign is just one step towards the Crown Prince’s many ambitions, such as moving the country’s economy away from its dependence on oil and opening up the conservative country to foreign investment and tourism.
The Ritz-Carlton served as a majestic retreat to world-renowned figures such as President Trump and former President Barack Obama. It offers 52 acres of lavishly landscaped gardens, spacious and sumptuous accommodations, fine-dining restaurants, and 62,000 square feet of elegant event space.
It’s now taking reservations but with the provision that bookings might still be cancelled at short notice. The hotel’s telephone lines are temporarily disconnected. And travellers are advised to book at their own risk.
Ritz-Carlton Riyadh plans to reopen its doors just in time for Valentine’s Day.