After serving several months as a prison for the country’s elite, the Ritz-Carlton in Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh might reopen as a hotel — just in time for those romantic Valentine’s Day plans.
The five-star hotel morphed into a prison as part of a so-called crackdown on government corruption.
An employee confirmed to the Associated Press the Ritz would reopen as of February 14, adding that bookings for that date can now be made on the hotel’s website. Phones are currently disconnected until further notice, according to the website.
The employee did note that the hotel is not liable if the booking is cancelled. “Local authorities might extend the hotel lockout for security reasons,” he said, recommending people to make back-up plans just in case.
Sarah Walker-Kerr, a Dubai-based spokeswoman for Marriott, of which the Ritz-Carlton is a subsidiary, declined to comment, according to AP.
The property, dubbed the world’s most expensive prison, is home to some of the country’s top elite after an unprecedented purge led by the young Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Prisoners were said to include around 200 Saudi officials, including 11 members of the kingdom’s royal family, who were held there since November, according to Newsweek.
The anti-corruption crackdown’s goal was to recover as much as $100 billion of misappropriated funds, according to Bloomberg. The hotel’s reopening to the public next month signals what many are assuming is the end of the campaign, presumably with the majority of the cases now settled, Newsweek reports.
For anyone interested in spending the upcoming holiday of love at this high-end retreat, the lowest priced room was the Deluxe for about $346 a night. The hotel promises to “completely [envelop] its discerning guests in majestic surroundings and discreet, attentive service” and offers up such amenities as “spacious suites, a world-class spa, a stunning indoor pool, lavish wedding and event spaces and exceptional dining options,” according to their website.