The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a five-star accommodation known for its grand indoor pool and gentlemen’s-only spa, is currently being used for a decidedly different purpose: housing elite political prisoners.
According to the New York Times (paywall), the hotel was converted over the weekend into “almost certainly the world’s most luxurious prison.”
On Saturday night, dozens were arrested (paywall) in Saudi Arabia, among them 11 princes and billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Guests at the hotel were roused at 11pm and told to come down to the lobby with their bags, the Guardian reported.
A shaky video posted on the Times’ website showed people lying on mats in the hotel’s ballroom, where military-style weapons rested in the corner.
Prior to housing detainees, The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh was one of the most opulent hotels in the region. International travelers have rated its accommodations at four and a half stars on TripAdvisor, which also recently gave the hotel a certificate of excellence.
On Instagram, patrons have posted hundreds of photos of the Riyadh, which was previously known as:
A lavish location for business meetings