Gary Leff at View from the Wing reported on how the crackdown on Saudi corruption resulted in prisoners being housed in the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh. Certainly not bad accommodations for a prison!
Well now it appears housing is getting downgraded for certain Saudi prisoners who don’t happen to be princes or billionaires. A Facebook friend of mine, who happens to be Saudi, posted the following picture of a letter. This letter (apparently) is asking all current guests to leave the Courtyard Marriott. This will give more room for additional detainees. It appears the Ritz Riyadh will continue to be used for prisoners as well but Saudi authorities are very tight lipped on the topic.
Newsweek confirms this letter in this story stating the hotel has been fully booked by authorities through December. It’s interesting that they seem to be overtaking Marriott properties specifically. Perhaps Gary is right and they’re able to get some points for these stays!
I am aware Riyadh may not be on too many travelers radar at the moment. However if it is keep an eye on this story, and in particular your hotel reservations if you have a visit planned. I find it fascinating how the Saudi government handles these arrests vs. in the United States by commandeering Western chain hotels to house prisoners vs. a normal prison. Although with one prisoner being worth $18 billion even the Ritz Riyadh may be a step down in lodgings…