Question 25

A query has been raised regarding the Saudi experience at the Le Meridien. One person says that the Le Meridien Hotel that Tony Anthony stayed at in Riyadh was not built until 2006, and offers internet links that seem to reference the intention for Le Meridien to open a new hotel in Riyadh in 2006

On page 77 of Taming the Tiger, Tony refers to residing at a hotel named ‘Le Meridian’ in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  On chatting with Tony, he is clear that the hotel was called ‘Le Meridien’ and apologised for the misspelling which appears in the book.  He is unsure if it was part of the well known chain or was an independent hotel which used the same name.  At the time he visited this city, it was undergoing major developments and was becoming the ‘hub’ of Saudi Arabia.  Tourism and business liaisons were growing at a significant rate and the hotel industry thrived. Currently, there is no hotel of that name in Riyadh and the owners of the chain, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc plan to open their first hotel bearing that name in 2016. The ownership of Le Meridien hotels has changed on several occasions.  And in the early 2000s it faced significant financial difficulty. From the available and often scant online documentation it is clear several hotels have been sold and have changed name.  The hotel referred to in Taming the Tiger may have been one of the ones sold during this time (such as the one in Bahrain). (see the section, “Autumn 2000”). Screenshot from website – renaming of Le Meridien Hotel