Amid refugee tragedy, Saudi King books entire DC hotel
The solitary Syrian toddler found dead on a Turkish beach disturbed the world this week and became the symbol of refugee tragedy unfolding on the shores of Europe.
Equally shocking was the news that the visiting Saudi monarch King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s delegation bought out the entire Four Seasons in Georgetown, one of Washington’s costliest hotels.
Salman’s kingdom, along with Arba neighbors Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, has offered no resettlement places to Syrian refugees, according to Amnesty International.
He came on a three-day trip to mend ties with the US and also to discuss the implications of the Iran nuclear deal.
According to Politico, which first reported the Saudi extravaganza, everyone staying at the 222-room hotel Thursday through Saturday was part of the 79-year-old king’s entourage of Saudi diplomats, family members and assistants.
Guests, who had booked to stay at the Four Seasons during the royal visit, were reportedly moved to other luxury hotels in town.
In anticipation of the royal visit, the hotel rolling out red carpets in order to accommodate the royal’s luxurious taste.
They even rolled out red carpet in the parking garage so that the Saudi royal family does not have to touch asphalt when leaving their Mercedes caravan.
Politico, quoting a Four Seasons guest, said: “Everything is gold. Gold mirrors, gold-end tables, gold lamps – even gold hat racks.”
”Robin Leach would have been proud,” the New York Post said, referring to a TV personality who hosted the program Lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Salman, who ascended the throne in January, does not mind displacing commoners for his own comforts; this summer, during a trip to the French Riviera, his eight-day stay forced the closure of a popular beach, enraging locals.
At the Four Seasons Thursday morning, customers did not seem to mind being displaced from their regular dining spot at the hotel’s lower-level Seasons restaurant to the main floor’s Bourbon Steak, a move made to accommodate the king.
Foreign dignitaries and royals often choose to stay at the Four Seasons as it is near the White House, State Department and Embassy Row. It has also 4,000 sq ft Royal Suite, equipped with private elevator and bulletproof windows for privacy and security.
A representative for the Four Seasons declined to comment on the report.