Reports: Ritz-Carlton Riyadh Being Used as Jail for Saudi Princes
Saudi Arabia launched a high-profile "anti-corruption" crackdown overnight on Saturday, arresting 11 princes and 38 former government ministers, deputies and businessmen, according to ABC News. Among those arrested include Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who is a noteworthy investor in US companies such as Twitter, Apple, Lyft, Citigroup, Four Seasons and Fairmont.
The New York Times also reported that a private airport used by princes and businessmen had been closed by the Saudi government to prevent further targets of the raid from escaping the country. While the Saudi government is hailing these sweeping arrests as part of an anti-corruption reformation, some Middle East observers say the actions are a cover for a consolidation of power by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Where are the accused being held? Well, they aren't in any ordinary jail:
The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh is a Tier 1 property with prices starting at $275 per night. Standard deluxe rooms at the hotel normally feature air conditioning, a marble bathroom, a 37" flat screen television and touch screen controls.
Calls to the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh on Sunday failed to connect on three different attempts, and Ritz-Carlton's online reservations system shows no check-in dates available though the end of November:
Three phone agents at Marriott reservations were unaware of any situation at the hotel, but the first available night found by all three agents was December 1. A Marriott spokesperson told TPG that "‘As a matter of guest privacy, we do not discuss the guests or groups with whom we do business or who may be visitors of the hotel."
If you have a reservation for the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh anytime soon, you're going to want to call Marriott about your options.