Nearly 50 dignitaries and members of the royal family were arrested in a reform purge in Saudi Arabia over the weekend by Crown Prince Mohamad bin Salman and sent to the Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh — a five-star resort.
Hotel guests of the Ritz-Carlton in Saudi Arabia's capital city, Riyadh, had their stays interrupted Saturday night when the staff asked them to gather in the lobby with their belongings. They were being transferred, they found out, to other area hotels so that the recently arrested Saudi royalty and elites could move in for their detainment, The Guardian Reported.
The 50-acre, 500-suite resort — now the world's most lavish prison — is one of the country’s "most majestic five-star hotels," its website says. And it's easy to see why.
People pay anywhere from $311 to $1,039 a night to be guests at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton. Its room offerings include two-bedroom "royal suites" with king-sized beds and 42-inch TVs.
There are 62,000 square feet of event space, two ballrooms, a spa, an indoor heated pool, bowling alley, six restaurants and a gym.
The hotel boasts internet access throughout its grounds, but a notification on its website warns potential guests that phone and wireless services are not available at the moment.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances,” the note reads, “the hotel’s internet and telephone lines are currently disconnected until further notice.”
Prince Salman executed the arrests Saturday night in an effort to crack down on corruption in the country.
A prince who headed the Saudi National Guard and the economy minister were among those removed from their positions. The purge is being viewed by some as Prince Salman's attempt to consolidate power, the New York Times reported.
Because of their high rank, those arrested could not be thrown in regular jail without severely insulting them, according to Saudi customs. So the Ritz-Carlton — the site of a recent investment conference that the crown prince attended - was the next best option.
"He couldn't have put them in the jail," a senior official told The Guardian. "And he would have known that. So this was the most dignified solution he could find."