Earlier I noted an interview with one of the world’s richest men, a member of the Saudi royal family who was held prisoner by the Saudi government at the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh for 83 days. He was held in 4575 square foot royal suite room 628.
Word on the street was that the government was demanding confession to corruption charges and payment of $6 billion. It’s unclear the terms under which Prince Alaweed bin Talal was released.
The entire hotel was taken over by the government as a prison, and there were reports of torture and even death.
Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, Credit: Ritz-Carlton
Reader Homer asks in the comments, “So did Prince Alaweed earn points and nights on his stay ? Platinum now?”
Here’s what I’d say about the points.
- Marriott’s program allows accumulation only for the member’s room and two additional rooms on the same stay, not for the whole hotel. So the Saudi government didn’t make out so well with Marriott Rewards.
- The meeting planner program caps earning at 50,000 points.
- ‘Wholesale rates’ are ineligible for points accrual, either to the Saudi government or to Prince Alaweed.
- It’s debatable whether or not this was a ‘participating property’ during the time it was commandeered by the Saudi government as a prison.
Guests of this Ritz-Carlton who experienced torture during their stays, however, might reach out to customer relations for compensation. Because I’m not sure their experience lived up to brand standard.
Prince Alaweed has a large stake in Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, owns the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, but just sold the Four Seasons Beirut so the next time he visits Lebanon he could use those customer relations points for a Starwood stay.