Ritz Carlton Riyadh

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Nov 11, 2017
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#1
I would like to seek your advice on this issue. I have a reservation at the Ritz Carlton Riyadh and it has been closed due to the Saudi Purge. The hotel cancelled my reservations which is happening tomorrow. What can i do in this case? Also my emails and calls to the hotel, GM, Directors, Managers have been met with radio silence. Marriott has not been helpful as well, emailed customer care and had no replies, called them and they were clueless about it. I was unable to escalate the situation. The Ritz Carlton ambassadors were not much helpful, they told me that they will get back to me with more information which is just lip service (my stay is happening in 10 hours time). I've given up on Marriott and booked myself at the Doubletree. Just want to find out what my options are? Considering i am a Platinum, can i exercise the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee?
 
Dec 12, 2014
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#2
As a Lifetime Platinum, while the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee would make sense in a normal situation, the fact that the government has more or less taken over the hotel, along with a nearby Courtyard, I doubt the guarantee has any value.

You can escalate through our contacts at http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/marriott/

They probably won't be able to get you a room at the Ritz, but may be able to offer your some sort of compensation.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#3
Wren Kahn this is a difficult situation as it is a political event. The hotel has been commandeered by the govt. The managers may not be able to answer you. The situation sounds pretty bad:

http://www.scmp.com/news/world/midd...z-carlton-has-become-luxury-prison-home-saudi

Here is the partial text (only the part that relates to the hotel for those that do not want to follow a link:

The Riyadh Ritz-Carlton has suddenly become very exclusive – and by popular account, a luxury prison. Earlier this week, just as Saudi Arabia declared an anti-corruption purge that targeted some of the kingdom’s wealthiest and most powerful men, guests were booted out and reservations were cancelled.


Travel agents were told the palatial compound had been taken over for government use.


Saudis gleefully shared screenshots showing the hotel as fully booked, because word was that the VIP detainees – including billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, 10 other princes, four ministers and dozens of former officials and businessmen – were being held there. People have been quipping about who’s going to be added to the “Ritz guest list”.

The government’s Centre for International Communication did not respond to a request for comment on where the detainees are being held.


Just weeks ago, the hotel hosted some of the world’s top officials and businessmen for an investment conference dubbed “Davos in the desert”. On a typical day, the lobby is an informal salon of government officials, consultants and prominent businessmen who hobnob over high tea in halls decorated with leaping bronze horses and pastel trimmings in the style of Louis XIV gone wild. Guests who float in the extravagant indoor pool – male-only – look up at a painted blue sky dotted with clouds.


But on Sunday, the property was shut tight, its massive gates uncharacteristically closed, without a security guard in sight. The hotel’s main phone line has played a busy tone all week. A duty manager reached on a mobile number said the hotel was closed and he had no further information. Marriott, which operates the hotel, declined to comment, citing guest privacy.

Whoever has booked the entire hotel must have decided they need more time. On Sunday, an online search on the hotel’s website showed the next availability on December 1. By Tuesday, it was December 15. On Wednesday, it was February.


That will give guests time to save up. When the hotel reopens, the royal suite will be available for 20,000 riyals (US$5,332) a night.


Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s aggressive power grab represents a huge gamble on the stability of his kingdom and its neighbours.


You can certainly try with the guarantee but it may not be upheld as the hotel seems to have no control over this event -- The government has seized control and it sounds like no one is allowed to communicate.
 
Nov 11, 2017
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#4
Isn't it the basic responsibility of the hotel/Marriott to at least inform guests about the situation and arrange for alternatives? I don't know if I'm expecting too much, but as a Ritz Carlton, the way that they have dealt with the situation (radio silence) has been extremely disappointing. I have lost faith in the brand.
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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#5
I am sorry Wren Kahn but your post "I have lost faith in the brand" is a little naive. Marriott likely does not own the properties they likely manage them and it is likely that the owner/developer is from one of the companies controlled by members of the House of Saud. Given that the purge has taken out members of the royal family ie members of the House of Saud it is clear that there are many businesses that are under scrutiny. Marriott employees in Saudi Arabia are likely worried about their own safety and security and hopefully the parent corporation is also concerned about that. The hotel management may not be allowed to comment for their own security -- and isn't it better that they are concerned more about employees than the "brand"? It is an inconvenience that you have to make alternative plans-- but this is Saudi Arabia -- they have their own customs and rules, and that is their right as a sovereign nation.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#6
I think you need to find another hotel asap. If the hotel has been taken over by the government they hotel may but not even be permitted to contact you.

This is certainly not the fault of Marriott and is an extremely rare event they may not even know how to deal with. And I highly disagree that they are just giving you "lip service" - thry most likely don't have any idea how to deal with this.

I think you need to give them a break and look it is from
the hotels perspective. This just isn't an everyday occurance. I am sure they would prefer having you as a guest instead of having the hotel taken over:

https://www.google.com/amp/www.news...-are-sleeping-floor-ritz-carlton-703645?amp=1
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#7
It may be very hard for the hotel to arrange alternatives as they likely have no idea what may be closed down next and who will be arrested next -- businessmen as well as members of the Royal family have been arrested.

Saudi Arabia is a very different country; it may be a good idea to learn a little about the history, culture and politics before traveling there.
 
Nov 11, 2017
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#8
Typing this from the Doubletree where i just checked in. I understand where all you guys are coming from with regards to this matter, however put yourself in my shoes and imagine receiving an email that the hotel that you have booked way ahead in advance was cancelled just as you are about to board a flight. I understand that the purge was a extremely rare event. But upon doing some googling myself, the siege took place a week ago. Marriott would have known about the situation a week ago and just sat on all the reservations. I think it would have been courteous of them to start informing their guests about what happened as soon as possible. We are not devoid of feelings, we would have understand and made alternative arrangements. Also what if i did not check my email? I would have went to the Ritz Carlton expecting everything to be normal and realise that I am unable to check in.
 
Likes: agnostic

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#9
I did put myself in your shoes before I replied. I would have understood. Don't you think they are hoping that this might have ended and you could have stayed, which is why they canceled at the last minute?

Did you read the article I just posted about what's going on there?

This is not an everyday occurance. Have you thought of going over there and asking about this yourself since you are already there? They are holding government officials as prisoners.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#12
Wren Kahn I think you have a very unrealistic and naive view of the world. You are upset that it took a week to tell you that the reservation was canceled. The government has not been releasing details. No one knew if this was a short term event and the hotel would be open for business or if it is out of commission for good.

The parent company is likely worried about employees safety and security. Others around the world wonder if this will destabilize the country and the region.

The government is not releasing details. For all we know the hotel may be owned by the company of someone that is detained.

I suspect you have little experience traveling in areas in the Middle East or other parts of the world during times of instability.

Saudi Arabia does not issue a lot of tourist visas. If you are there on business perhaps it is better to focus on business. Who is the sponsor of your visa?

You found another hotel to stay in, you are not out on the street. Instead of the Ritz Carleton you are at the Doubletree. So what losses or suffering has been the result of this change. It is an inconvenience certainly but one that caused no long term harm. You show no concern about the likely hundreds of workers, many from other lesser developed countries, that have lost their jobs or are having to work with armed military in their presence or the long term stability of the country and region.

A coup is a highly unusual event. When one travels to the Middle East it is wise to monitor the news before departure. Did you not look at the news on Saudi Arabia once before getting on a plane? Did you have no contact with your visa sponsor? Did you not know that there has been instability since this past summer when bin Nayef was deposed as crown prince?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#13
Bottom line? You are fortunate to have found out about your lack of a room at the Ritz before your checkin time. You've been able to find another hotel room. This seems to be a much better scenario than having your things packed up and put in storage when the hotel was closed to the public. I think the management has many more problems than your reservation. I think their problems are probably huge. Consider yourself lucky ... but watch the local news to be sure they don't decide to take over the hotel you're now in.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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You can escalate through our contacts at http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/marriott/

I would suggest you start writing and voice your displeasure.

Be succinct and ask for the resolution that you desire. You are correct that you should have been informed of the situation in a timely manner and that the hotel chain was remiss in not doing so.

Why did they inform you? Because they were hoping to be able to open their doors to you. the problem with that is, what if you had shown up on their doorstep?