Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh's 'five-star jail', to reopen for business as detained royals are moved or freed

Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh's 'five-star jail', to reopen for business as detained royals are moved or freed
1 min read
15 January, 2018
Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel has been closed for bookings since November, after more than 200 princes, ministers and businessmen were rounded up in an anti-corruption purge.
The Ritz-Carlton website was listing rooms as available from 14 February. [Getty]

The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh will re-open for business in February after serving as a five-star jail for royals and ministers detained in a sweeping Saudi corruption probe.

The hotel has been closed for bookings since November after more than 200 princes, ministers and businessmen were rounded up in an anti-corruption purge.

Most were held at the luxury hotel, with the majority of those detained striking monetary settlements in exchange for their freedom.

A source, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to brief the press, said there were "preparations to open in February" but could not give further details. 

The Ritz-Carlton website was listing rooms as available from 14 February.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old son of the king, spearheaded the crackdown on corruption among members of the government and royal family as he consolidated his grip on power in the kingdom.

The most high-profile target of the crackdown was billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the 57th-richest person in the world, with an $18 billion fortune according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Authorities insist the purge aimed to target endemic corruption as Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy.