The richest man in the Middle East has been released from house arrest in Saudi Arabia -- see the luxurious Ritz Carlton where he was held captive for months

The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh/FacebookPrisoners were held in the hotel for months.

• Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered at least 11 princes – along with numerous ministers – to be arrested in November.

• Billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal, the richest man in the Middle East, according to Forbes, was among them.

• The prisoners are currently being held in the five-star Ritz-Carlton Riyadh in Saudi Arabia’s capital city.

• Prince Alwaleed was released from custody Saturday,and told Reuters that he hasn’t been charged with a crime following his months-long detention.

The unusual captivity of the richest man in the Middle East has come to a close.

Billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal was freed Saturday, NPR reported. He’d been a prisoner in the five-star Ritz-Carlton Riyadh since November 4, 2017, when Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidated power by having 11 princes and numerous government ministers seized.

These captives received better accommodations than a standard prison cell. The royal and non-royal prisoners were reportedly confined to the luxury hotel in the nation’s capital.

Prince Alwaleed even saw his fortune increase by $A1.3 billion in the wake of his release, CNN reported. Forbes now puts his net worth at $A22.62 billion.

The billionaire gave Reuters an interview in the suite where he’d been held for months. He said he was upset about the rumours that he was held in a standard jail and tortured. He said his arrest resulted through a “misunderstanding,” and added that he spent his captivity watching the news, taking walks, swimming, and exercising.

“It’s no problem at all,” he said. “Everything’s fine.”

Here’s a look at the luxury hotel before it was converted into an makeshift prison months ago:


The hotel first opened in 2011 and was the first ever Ritz-Carlton in Saudi Arabia.

Source: Five Star Alliance


It boasts 493 guest rooms, including 49 two-bedroom royal suites and 50 one-bedroom executive suites.

Source: Five Star Alliance


Amenities include a male-only spa, 62,000 square feet of event space, and a bowling alley.

Source: The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh


In terms of dining choices, the hotel featured an Italian restaurant, Chinese cuisine, and a buffet style joint.

Source: The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh


It’s not the first time the Crown Prince has had dealings with the venue. The Guardian reported the he hosted a “high-profile investment summit” at the hotel just two weeks ago.

Source: The Guardian


But on the night of November 4, 2017, guests of the Ritz-Carlton were told to collect their possessions and booted from the premises, the Guardian reported.

Source: The Guardian


The Guardian reported the hotel is being used to house the high-profile prisoners, because it would be considered too “demeaning” to send them to prison.

The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh/Facebook

Source: The Guardian


Business Insider reported the Crown Prince has advocated for a return to “moderate Islam” in the country, but there’s “little transparency” around the arrests, which are ostensibly part of an anti-corruption purge.

Source: Business Insider


The Crown Prince’s targets in this recent roundup included several prominent individuals, including billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal —  the richest man in the Middle East. Forbes reported he owns 95% of Kingdom Holding, which owns stakes in companies like Twitter and Citigroup.

Source: Forbes


The Intercept reported some of the non-royal prisoners are being held together in one room and are sleeping on mattresses.

Source: The Intercept


It’s unclear where exactly all of the royal prisoners are being held within the hotel.

Source: The Intercept


When the hotel was initially commandeered, its website is ran a message warning prospective guests that the space’s internet and telephone lines are disconnected “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

Source: The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh

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