A Second Marriott Hotel Has Been Commandeered By the Saudi Government

Saudi Arabia commandeered the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh to use as a prison as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman moved against powerful senior princes and government leaders over this past weekend.

All guests on property were unilaterally kicked out, reservations dishonored. Here are photos from inside the Ritz-Carlton prison.

Now the Saudi government has taken over the Marriott Courtyard Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter, too.

A worker at the nearby four-star Courtyard by Marriott in the Saudi capital’s diplomatic quarter confirmed to Newsweek that Saudi authorities had commandeered the hotel for their own use, forcing guests to leave.

“Unfortunately this month is completely fully booked,” the receptionist, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed, adding that December was unavailable too. … “The local higher authorities booked all the hotel,” she added. “We just received this order yesterday.”

Marriott Courtyard Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter, Credit: Marriott

The property isn’t taking reservations for check-in at all through end of the year.

Though the Saudis seem to like occupying Marriotts, 3 Marriott hotels remain available for booking in the nation’s capital.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Jackpot for Marriot , i am sure all guests must be compensated well . Otherwise we would have seen guests complaining videos circulating around. Maybe some
    Of the hotels higher staff sending letters to the Crown Prince for discounted jail cell rates LOL to get their hotel fully booked for two months or more woow

  2. Steve Please do you really think Marriott is “eating it” really. Wake up and smell the coffee

  3. Do the prisoners earn points? And can the redeem them for cigarettes and extra toilet paper? Or do they need to see Morgan Freeman for those things?

  4. The Saudis are prepping for a full-scale Mideast war they will fight to the last American soldier.

  5. Tassojunior.

    The Saudis want the Israelis to fight the Iranians and Iranian-supported elements to the last Israeli.

    The Saudis want Americans to fight the Iranians and Iranian-supported elements only to the degree that it leaves us/the US as the undisputed global hegemonic power and makes Saudi Arabia the undisputed regional power.

    The Saudis want Americans to wrestle the Turks and hold them down.

    The Saudis want anything and everything as long as it leaves the Saudi king and his spawn in a good enough position to remain the oil king and become the undisputed hegemonic power of the region.

    But with Israel having nuclear weapons, Iran being nuclear weapon capable within a year or two if it gets external assistance, and with Pakistan not eager to use its nuclear weapons for Saudi use, the Saudis are wiling to try to game the US and pulling the strings to manipulate our dictator-kiss-up Trump Administration in a way that even Putin couldn’t dream of pulling off.

    The Saudi king and crown prince love Trump. And that’s not a good thing for America.

  6. I’ve stayed at the Courtyard adjacent to the DQ (Diplomatic Quarter) many, many times – its the only reasonable hotel within walking distance of the DQ (and the Ritz-Carlton is only a bit further from the DQ – but a world of luxury above). When I’m there, the Courtyard is usually packed with ex-pat consultants and contractors with projects/clients in the DQ. The rooms and service at the Courtyard are average, and the restaurant buffet is okay for breakfast and dinner. The gym (of course men only) is just better than no gym at all. Surely a major step down from the Ritz-Carlton, and must be a huge disappointment for those detainees that didn’t make it into the Ritz.

    The Ritz-Carlton, on the other hand, is true 5-star luxury. I’ve had many meetings there over coffee, as well as participated in a few receptions associated with projects and professional meetings. The grounds are massive – lots of room for stabling camels and horses, and walking between the Courtyard to the Ritz you occasionally see a few camels and/or horses being tended.

    My view of working at the DQ (and my advice to my employees) has always been – stay focussed on the task, because there’s pretty much nothing else to do but work while we’re on site. The sooner we complete the project, the sooner we can leave! But the country is definitely changing, and the change is quickly accelerating. A trip to KSA is in many ways a trip back in time. But that’s changing fast.

    MBS is taking on a very heavy lift. He will get stiff resistance from vested interests that have something (or a lot) to lose, and others for whom change is simply threatening. The question is can he pull it off. It will be interesting to watch.

  7. MBS reminds me of a self-serving fool who thinks himself the wisest man but really is the fool who just managed to get lucky enough to be born in the right place at the right time to have near total power without the wits to know the danger or not controlling his ambitions.

    As is said: the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions. MBS is a case in point.

    Unlike those doing work in Saudi Arabia without a robust diplomatic cover, I don’t have to kiss up to MBS to pad my bank account and avoid a Saudi jail, gilded or otherwise.

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