Get All Access for $5/mo

The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh Wants Business Travelers To Have A Productive Stay Reflecting on the demanding nature of Saudi Arabia's hospitality sector, Graef notes the need for a multicultural approach to provide "exceptional services" to the clients, with the hotel's 700+ staff coming from over 26 different countries.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh
The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh

When asked what aspects he counts as being key for any luxury property to capture interest and loyalty of business travelers, Gerrit Graef, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, puts his staff front and center: "Our ladies and gentlemen- the ones who demonstrate outstanding hospitality service creating guests for life, product innovation, and listening to the hotel's customers." Given that the hotel's overall strategy is "all about service excellence," Graef definitely seems to be on track with this approach. "As a business hotel, we ensure providing the requirements of our corporate travelers in order for their stay to become productive as possible," says Graef. 66% of the hotel's visitors are business travelers, with the largest share coming from the US (23%) and the UAE (21%). A veteran of the hospitality sector with 30 years of industry service, Graef, who's been with The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh for around eight months now, was most recently hotel manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah, and his global experience includes stints in Germany, Dubai, Qatar, and Southeast Asia, among others.

Reflecting on the demanding nature of Saudi Arabia's hospitality sector, Graef notes the need for a multicultural approach to provide "exceptional services" to the clients, with the hotel's 700+ staff coming from over 26 different countries. Discussing The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh's offerings for business travelers, Graef says, "Apart from the basic room amenities we offer to business travelers, we have amenities that will help them be productive and energized during their stay. All of our rooms and suites have high-speed internet access, LAN internet access, computer and fax connections and data port. Our Club rooms and suites have an exclusive access to The Ritz-Carlton Club, a facility that offers six complimentary meals per day to energize our corporate guests. Multi-line and cordless phones with personal voicemail, and in-room safe with power outlet for laptops are available in our suites, be it Executive, Executive Club and Royal suites. Additional features are offered to our guests staying in a Royal suite such as personal office space with workstation and complete office facilities, and butler service for our guest's convenience and comfort."

Pool Foyer.Image credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh.
Given its lavish and palatial settings, the hotel also bowls over its corporate guests with its leisure facilities as well. "During idle time, I suggest to utilize sporting facilities like gymnasium and Strike bowling alley. The Ritz-Carlton, Spa is a perfect place to pamper yourself to relaxation. One can unwind and be satisfied with a wide range of food and beverage facilities inside the hotel." For those who appreciate what's on their plate, Graef suggests trying out some of their latest menu creations from across their food and beverage outlets. "Or, relax in the outdoor space of the Chorisia Lounge, with the display of some of the iconic olive and chorisia trees," he adds. For the professionals who can't function without quality caffeine, Graef highlights the special "Art of Coffee" space recently launched at the hotel's Chorisia Lounge. "Our coffee expert is highly-trained in the craft of coffee making and extraordinary coffee presentation to guests. We use the top 5% of beans produced in the world originated from three different countries such as Colombia, East Java and Ethiopia," says Graef. For the hyperactive professionals among you, that should serve as incentive enough to pack up your bags for Riyadh- and Graef and his team at the Ritz-Carlton will be ready to greet you when you are there.

Related: On The Fly: Four Nutrition Tips For Terminal-Weary Entrepreneurs

Recommended by the GM

Gerrit Graef, General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh

Gerrit Graef, General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh.Image credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh.
Corporate Specs

"The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh has the most diverse, spacious, and palatial meeting spaces in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Our 62,000 square feet of hotel conference space offers the ideal setting for international summits, high-profile board meetings and gala celebrations. Technology wise, we have the latest audio-video equipment, a high-speed wireless internet access for guest's connectivity and a meeting and services app - Chime that can cater to the needs of event planners from room requests, set up changes, culinary alterations and more. This 2016, we have just hosted some of the biggest events in the GCC and KSA such as the AMEX World Luxury Expo 2016 and the 4th Saudi Tweeps Forum that was attended by five GCC ministers. We have also hosted massive corporate events conducted by Majid Al Futtaim Group, a Dubai-based Emirati holding company that is behind the construction of the soon-to-be largest mall in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Royal Protocol KSA. These large-scale events expose us and help us deliver a world-class service to the world-class attendees driving our team to service excellence and delivery."

Ballroom Theater.Image credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh.

"I love Hong, our Chinese restaurant. And it's the Peking duck that I like the most as it is prepared by our Chinese Chef who is originally from Beijing and he makes the dish so authentic and tastefully."

Conference Capabilities

"The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh has two colossal ballrooms at 21,000 square feet each and two vast auditorium-style theaters with stepped floors and built-in stages, perfect for big press conferences and symposium lectures. Our Aubergine restaurant is also available and dedicated for the delegates and accompanying security personnel. Additionally, the hotel has the latest audio- video equipment to support all meeting needs, and a one-of-a-kind meeting and services mobile app (Chime) that can cater to meeting requirements from room requests, set up changes, culinary alterations and more."


"Technology is indeed valuable nowadays especially in the travel and hospitality industries. And so, we at The Ritz-Carlton ensure that our digital platforms are user-friendly and compatible to all devices for maximum benefit of our guests. In fact, we have introduced in the past years some guest services that totally changed the experience from the traditional method of check-in and check-out. Now, Ritz-Carlton guests are able to do this process at the tip of their finger through their mobile phones. The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh also launched a meeting and event planner mobile app – Chime, to utilize the hotel's services with a touch of a button. The app, available for any web-enabled device, can cater to needs from room requests, set up changes, culinary alterations and other options available on the app's menu. Lastly, in the technology efforts of the hotel is the upgrade made to increase the internet bandwidth within the hotel premises, providing a smooth-sailing and fast internet access either inside the guest rooms, meeting rooms, or in the public area."

Chorisia Lounge Outdoor.Image credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh.
A personal favorite from the Ritz-Carlton stable

"The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong is my personal choice. Perhaps, due to the fact that this property is the tallest Ritz-Carlton hotel in the world, located 490 meters in the air. Plus, the food and beverage selections they have are pretty astounding. One of which is the Ozone Bar, the highest bar in the world located on the 118th floor of the International Commerce Centre building overlooking the city center including the famed Victoria Harbour. The location itself appeals to the customers to visit the hotel all over again."

Related: Streamlining Your Stays In Qatar: The Ritz-Carlton Doha

Side Hustle

This Mom Started a Side Hustle on Facebook — Now It Averages $14,000 a Month and She Can 'Work From a Resort in the Maldives'

Heather Freeman was searching for a way to make some extra cash — and her cousin gave her a great idea.


Running A Brand Sprint For Your Organization: The How-To

A brand sprint is a three-hour workshop that comprises six activities, all designed to create a guide that identifies core brand values, personality traits, and strategic positioning for an organization.

Starting a Business

Muna Al Gurg Launches Meem Foundation To Create Sustainable Change In The Lives Of Women And Girls In The MENA

"Our approach is to find innovative entrepreneurial solutions to gender inequality, and be transparent about what works and what doesn't."

Growth Strategies

Say Your Piece: Amid A Crisis, Telling Your Side Of The Story Can Retain Customers With One Foot Out The Door

In a world where reputation is as valuable -if not more so- as revenue, I worry about startups that choose to stick their heads in the sand whenever they find themselves in a tight spot.


"Run Your Way" For Brand Success: A New Balance Perspective On Marketing

The secret to success is to free brands from a one-dimensional approach to marketing, because, just as there is no one right way to run, there is no singular approach to developing a brand.

Business News

Why Does Taylor Swift Keep Stopping Her Shows Mid-Song? It's Actually a Great Lesson in Leadership.

Taylor Swift has paused nearly half of her shows while on the European leg of her Eras tour, and the reason is something leaders can learn from.