How Saudi elite became five-star prisoners at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton

Detention of more than 30 senior figures in hotel highlights how kingdom depends on tribal loyalty to secure royal family’s reign

At 11pm on Saturday, guests at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh got a rude awakening. Businesspeople and consultants who were staying in one of Riyadh’s most opulent digs, along with diners and visitors, were all told to assemble in the lobby with their bags. No one knew why.

As guests made their way to buses to be taken to other hotels in the Saudi capital, senior officials were making plans for new arrivals who weren’t prepared for a night away from home, let alone a spell in a five-star hotel. They were soon to become the highest-profile prisoners in the modern kingdom’s history. And the most pampered.

  • Millie_Woods

    I’m not sure what to make of this yet. It’s all rather vague and bizarre. Weirdest coup I’ve ever seen.

    • Exile1981

      I’m thinking the government has hit bottom of its cash flow. They started a oil price war to kill us drilling and oilsands. Now its come back to bite them.

      Those people are in opposition to the current prince. It’s possible they really were planning a coup, but the money they have squirrel away is 10 years of operating funds for the kingdom.

      • Millie_Woods

        That’s as plausible a theory as any I’ve heard yet. In any event I think we’re going to get treated to another mid-east war soon.

  • Spatchcocked

    I hope they can still order up a dozen blonde hookers from GB while they’re killing time in the Ritz.

  • simus1

    The quid pro quo demanded by the saudi sunni religious establishment for their support in the coming war with iran? Not that the new king would need much encouragement along that path. But a line has definitely been crossed somewhere deep in the impenetrable bowels of saudi tribal politics.

  • Linda1000
  • DMB