St. Regis Red Sea Resort Opens In Saudi Arabia With Overwater Villas

St. Regis Red Sea Resort Opens In Saudi Arabia With Overwater Villas

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We know that Saudi Arabia is investing an unprecedented amount of money to boost its tourism industry. A big part of this is the Red Sea Project, which covers 28,000 square kilometers on the west coast of the country, and includes an archipelago of more than 90 natural islands. The goal is to build dozens of hotels here by 2030.

Many major luxury hotel groups have committed to opening properties here, and it looks like the first of these that’s bookable with points has just opened. Specifically, I’m talking about the St. Regis Red Sea Resort, which is the brand’s second property in the country, after the recent opening of the St. Regis Riyadh.

Basics of the St. Regis Red Sea Resort

The St. Regis Red Sea Resort is now open. It’s odd, because I’ve seen no press release or announcement of the opening, but the hotel is accepting reservations for stays effective immediately (thanks to @NDH330 for flagging this).

The St. Regis Red Sea Resort is located on a private island, and features 90 beachfront and overwater villas, each with a private pool. The entry level beach villas are the dune villas, marketed as being 75 square meters (807 square feet), with a bedroom, dining area, living area, and outdoor terrace with pool.

St. Regis Red Sea Resort dune villa
St. Regis Red Sea Resort dune villa
St. Regis Red Sea Resort dune villa
St. Regis Red Sea Resort dune villa

The entry level overwater villas are the coral villas, marketed as being 79 square meters (850 square feet), with a bedroom, dining area, living area, and outdoor terrace with pool.

St. Regis Red Sea Resort coral villa
St. Regis Red Sea Resort coral villa
St. Regis Red Sea Resort coral villa
St. Regis Red Sea Resort coral villa

The resorts features a variety of dining outlets, including Nesma (a Middle Eastern restaurant serving breakfast and lunch), Gishiki 45 (a Japanese restaurant serving dinner), Tilina (a steakhouse serving dinner), The Beach Club at St. Regis (serving light bites and meals for lunch and dinner), and The St. Regis Bar (serving drinks and snacks… but no alcohol… for now).

St. Regis Red Sea Resort Nesma Restaurant
St. Regis Red Sea Resort Gishiki 45 Restaurant
St. Regis Red Sea Resort Tilina Restaurant

The resort also features an outdoor pool, a signature St. Regis Spa, a fitness center, and a children’s club.

St. Regis Red Sea Resort pool

Since the St. Regis Red Sea Resort is on a private island, you can only get there by seaplane or chartered yacht. The hotel’s website indicates that “exceptional transportation by the yacht is included in your room rate,” so that’s nice, at least.

The best way to get to the area in general is to fly to Red Sea International Airport (RSI), which is currently served by Saudia nonstop from Jeddah (JED) with 2x weekly flights and Riyadh (RUH) with 3x weekly flights.

St. Regis Red Sea Resort rates & points requirements

Rates at the St. Regis Red Sea Resort are roughly what you’d expect, given that all accommodations here are villas with private pools. Rates currently seem to start at ~$1,300 per night, though get a little cheaper if visiting in summer. Rates for overwater villas currently start at an extra ~$400 per night.

St. Regis Red Sea Resort cash rates

I’m kind of surprised by this, but redeeming points at the St. Regis Red Sea Resort isn’t a particularly good deal as of now. Points rates seem to start at north of 160,000 Bonvoy points per night. I value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents each, so you don’t come out all that much ahead when redeeming points.

St. Regis Red Sea Resort points rates

The reason I’m a bit surprised by the high points cost is because I can’t imagine this hotel will be running high occupancy anytime soon, and Marriott’s costs for redemptions reflect occupancy levels at hotels.

If you are going to book a cash stay at the St. Regis Red Sea, I’d highly recommend doing so through the Marriott STARS program. This will score you perks like complimentary breakfast, a $100 food & beverage credit, a room upgrade subject to availability, and more. Ford is more than happy to help with Marriott STARS reservations, and can be reached at [email protected].

It’s going to be fascinating to see how this develops

I’m intrigued by Saudi Arabia’s attempt to develop its tourism industry. That’s not because I’m a cheerleader for Saudi Arabia, but rather because we’ve never seen a country invest so much money in tourism so quickly, all while admittedly having a bit of a reputation issue in the West.

It’s unbelievable how many hotels are slated to open in the Red Sea Project in the near future, from a Four Seasons, to a Rosewood, to a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, to an EDITION, to a Miraval, to a Grand Hyatt, to an InterContinental, to a Fairmont, and many more.

Can you imagine what it’s like to stay at the St. Regis Red Sea right now? You really have no clue what to expect, as there are primarily just renderings of what the property should look like, with little about what it looks like in real life. Furthermore, the logistics just don’t seem very ironed out yet, given you currently have a total of five weekly flights to this airport.

Are there guests at the hotel yet? What are they like? Is the hotel fully staffed? I have so many questions…

“Build it and they will come,” they say. Well, Saudi Arabia has built it. Now we’ll see if they come…

Bottom line

The St. Regis Red Sea Resort has quietly opened as of early 2024. The property consists exclusively of beachfront and overwater villas. This is the first major points hotel that I know of to open as part of the Red Sea Project.

The country is hoping to eventually make the Red Sea a huge tourist hotspot, but as of now that’s still a work in progress. I’m curious how this evolves…

What do you make of the St. Regis Red Sea Resort?

Conversations (56)
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  1. Sarah Beckcom Guest

    Booking this hotel now, however upon booking the fee goes up by over double for the transportation cost. The same "transportation" that is supposed to be "included in the room rate" so 4,900 SAR for the room and then 5,500 SAR more for the transportation. So the transportation cost more than the actual room and takes the cost from $1,200 USD to $3,200 USD. They say the boat charter is "included in the room rate" but that doesn't seem to be the case.

  2. GregL Guest

    I assume no revealing swimwear for female guests? And no unmarried couples sharing a room? And no alcohol?

    Sounds like a great place for a getaway!

    1. Malc Diamond

      Unmarried couples have been allowed to rent rooms for years (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-49947515). Western swimwear is accepted in designated areas. Most likely, alcohol will be allowed in Red Sea resorts soon.

  3. Mike Guest

    What many people including the Saudi government don't realize that their waters are not as clear and blue as Bora Bora for example. Or the Bahamas. The waters tend to be murky and muddy due to the pollution in the area. What's worse is that the air quality in Saudi Arabia on any given day is bad and air pollution is rampant. Blue, clear skies are rare. This should be kept in mind when someone...

    What many people including the Saudi government don't realize that their waters are not as clear and blue as Bora Bora for example. Or the Bahamas. The waters tend to be murky and muddy due to the pollution in the area. What's worse is that the air quality in Saudi Arabia on any given day is bad and air pollution is rampant. Blue, clear skies are rare. This should be kept in mind when someone is imaging their over water bungalows as comparable to Maldives or Bora Bora.

    1. Malc Diamond

      Every time I've swum in the Red Sea, either in Egypt or Saudi Arabia, the water has been crystal clear. The skies in Saudi Arabia are the bluest I've ever encountered. Maybe Riyadh on a bad day can be hazy, but the rest of the country isn't like that.

    2. CXTraveller Member

      I just returned from KSA and spent time along the Red Sea. I SCUBA dived there and found the water crystal clear, just like in the Egyptian side. When I was 8 to 10 miles offshore boat diving, I noticed a little hazy condition in the afternoon when I looked back to the coast; however, that's pretty normal for a lot of places in the world. When I stayed at Jeddah, I have very clear view of the coastline from my hotel room, so overall, the pollution isn't that bad.

  4. Jake Guest

    Does it feature "missiles and attack boats by Houti"?

  5. iamhere Guest

    Here's the problem. They are trying to spend a lot of money in tourism and for high end brands but not do much else to change their reputation and laws. Other mid-east countries have shown it is possible to change your laws but not become fully western. It will take time for people's perception to change.

  6. Tim Guest

    Stay away from this country if you're traveling with your same sex partner. They consider you a criminal and will murder people like you.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      I'm no champion of this regime, but can you give us any example of Saudi Arabia executing a foreign gay person, for that "offense?"

  7. Chris W Guest

    I very much doubt Western international tourists are the target market for this property (just like that weird new resort Ben recently reviewed in Doha overlooking the carpark).

    I suspect this is built to cater for rich Saudis living in the major cities looking for a weekend break. Money is no object, they don't drink alcohol, they would also be happy to visit in summer because they would just sit inside with the aircon blasting...

    I very much doubt Western international tourists are the target market for this property (just like that weird new resort Ben recently reviewed in Doha overlooking the carpark).

    I suspect this is built to cater for rich Saudis living in the major cities looking for a weekend break. Money is no object, they don't drink alcohol, they would also be happy to visit in summer because they would just sit inside with the aircon blasting all day.

    Just because its a Bonvoy property don't assume its for Americans.

  8. frrp Diamond

    The absurdity of a bar with no alcohol.

    1. jk Guest

      You're absurd. Most people out there don't need alcohol to enjoy themselves. If you can't handle that, go elsewhere.

    2. Tichy Guest

      The problem is..people that don't drink alcohol think that everyone who drinks is an alcoholic. How about having one beer at lunch to relax? How about one cocktail at dinner or one glass of wine at dinner. Hate to bust your bubble, I lived in Saudi for 26 years and there is so much alcohol flowing around that region. The whole Oil industry was built on the back of westerners drinking Siddiqui. Without Siddiqui, it...

      The problem is..people that don't drink alcohol think that everyone who drinks is an alcoholic. How about having one beer at lunch to relax? How about one cocktail at dinner or one glass of wine at dinner. Hate to bust your bubble, I lived in Saudi for 26 years and there is so much alcohol flowing around that region. The whole Oil industry was built on the back of westerners drinking Siddiqui. Without Siddiqui, it would have been a sea of bachelors, no one would have brought their families. Alcohol has been around for thousands of years long before Islam. It's been a fundamental part of the WORLDs CULTURE. Prior to 1952 Alcohol was allowed to be imported into KSA since the beginning of time. To disallow my option, as a tourist, to have one beer, is essentially creating a sense of fear, worrying that my Girlfriends clothing is too revealing (oh sorry that is restricted, married couples only - Read St. Regis fine print). Worrying that I'm one skip away from being arrested for some rule that I have no idea about. For this to be successful, they need to drop all rule and regulations and align themselves with the rest of the world. Make Siddiqui their national alcohol, it already is!! Truth be told!!

    3. Icarus Guest

      A juice bar. I don’t understand why alcohol is so important to so many people, other than alcoholics. Is it not possible to fly or spend two weeks away without it ?

      Is your vacation centred around alcohol? Then book a tour to a wine region.

    4. JP Guest

      @Icarus I mean...

      @frrp don't see that much problem with it.

  9. Steven E Guest

    There appears to be too many things to think about creating anxiety - why would you bother

  10. Raphael Weiner Guest

    Tough to see how a place like this works for Western tourists unless they allow alcohol.

  11. 787 Member

    Much of the criticism against Saudi Arabia (to a lesser extent, Qatar) is unfound and unjustified, and is measured based on western human rights standards (they do not apply worldwide) - they have their own political system, laws, morals and values that is different from the West, and it's doing alright, unlike the West at the moment.

    1. frrp Diamond

      No its not. Criticism for executing ppl who have done nothing wrong other than offend a book a fiction should never be normalised

    2. Icarus Guest

      You mean medieval values including execution, torture and anti LGBTQ legislation.
      KSA spends billions on architectural projects and airlines, yet does nothing to help millions of refugees in the region.
      They want to appear as though they are in the 21st century with a mindset in the 13th.

    3. Miz Guest

      Thanks for clarifying this for us! I always wondered why they dismembered a journalist with bone saw in a consulate. Now I understand it's just their "political system, laws, morals and values that is different from the West, and it's doing alright."

  12. Anthony Diamond

    I would be much more interested in eventually visiting Saudi Arabia if they opened up Mecca and other Islamic sites to non-Muslim visitors. Flying to Saudi Arabia just to stay in a constructed resort area with no alcohol, uncertain personal conduct protocols, and other challenges isn't appealing. But if I could see the Kaaba or whatever on the way to said resort and maybe see/learn stuff, maybe.

    1. Peter Guest

      I doubt that will ever happen and would mean overturning more than a thousand years of sacred history. Yes, it's fascinating to see Mecca especially during the Haj, but a documentary is the closest we non-muslims will ever get.

  13. Patti Guest

    Lol, I happen to check it out last night since I was looking for a 2025 vacation and have already done Red Sea several times from Egypt side.

    Everything said no availability. Hoping they get this ironed out soon.

    1. Dn10 Guest

      Probably aren’t accepting reservations 12+ months out

    2. Patti Guest

      I was looking at later this year since they don't show any 2025 dates.

      Kept saying no availability. Guess I'll have to wait for the novelty to wear off or more resorts.

      I've snorkeled extensively along the Red Sea from Egypt. Want to see the pristine sites from the Saudi side

    3. CXTraveller Member

      I just returned from KSA and spent time along the Red Sea. Talked to a number of expats there who regularly SCUBA dive, Yanbu area is fantastic for diving (I agreed after couple boat dives), and the rule of thumb is that more north on the Saudi side, the better for diving. So this Red Sea Resort is located north of Yanbu, so I can see that could be really good for diving/snorkeling. Like Patti...

      I just returned from KSA and spent time along the Red Sea. Talked to a number of expats there who regularly SCUBA dive, Yanbu area is fantastic for diving (I agreed after couple boat dives), and the rule of thumb is that more north on the Saudi side, the better for diving. So this Red Sea Resort is located north of Yanbu, so I can see that could be really good for diving/snorkeling. Like Patti said, the Saudi side is not frequent by divers, so the reefs are more pristine and health. Egyptian side is regularly dived (I was diving there a year ago on a liveaboard), and in general, on that side, the more south you go, the better.

  14. Charles Chan Massey Guest

    I wouldn’t set foot in that dictatorship posing as a kingdom if you paid me.

  15. Palermo Guest

    Rates are ludicrous when in summer you can get the 4S Dubai or the Jumeirah Al Naseem for a bit over 400 euro or you could go to the Maldives for that. Not sure who they will target. Dubai itself has not many American tourists and certainly very few that use the place as a resort destination. Americans have Mexico, Miami or the Caribbean for that. In Dubai, it is mainly Russian, Europeans (predominantly British)...

    Rates are ludicrous when in summer you can get the 4S Dubai or the Jumeirah Al Naseem for a bit over 400 euro or you could go to the Maldives for that. Not sure who they will target. Dubai itself has not many American tourists and certainly very few that use the place as a resort destination. Americans have Mexico, Miami or the Caribbean for that. In Dubai, it is mainly Russian, Europeans (predominantly British) and Arabs at the top end resorts. I don't see a lot of those tourists going to Saudi any time soon. Also the Red Sea is not that warm in Winter as the Gulf sea with November through February being the high season for Dubai and the region. The high end (and mid and low end) tourists will continue to visit Dubai and Oman and if they want a value for money location in the Red Sea they will just go to Egypt.

    Given the (deserved) bad image and the overwhelming reality of the oppressive Saudi state, I don't see western or Indian tourists going in significant numbers any time soon.

    I do notice that they are pouring money like crazy in vloggers and influencers who are obviously trying to push the place and painting a rose-tinted picture.

  16. Miz Guest

    Ritz Carlton prison is usually overbooked and its torture lounge is outdated. It also lacks water torture facilities. This over water St Regis is great. But they need several more luxury prisons for high profile inmates.

    1. palermo Guest

      Indeed. If as I expect they won't get top end tourists, they can repurpose it as a luxury jail in the next power fight among the elite that rules the country. I can 't see Europeans, Russians and Indians, who are the bread and butter of Dubai resorts, going in significant number. Also the Red Sea is not that warm in winter which is the high season in the area. Low and mid end tourists...

      Indeed. If as I expect they won't get top end tourists, they can repurpose it as a luxury jail in the next power fight among the elite that rules the country. I can 't see Europeans, Russians and Indians, who are the bread and butter of Dubai resorts, going in significant number. Also the Red Sea is not that warm in winter which is the high season in the area. Low and mid end tourists will continue to go to Egypt if they want to visit the Red Sea while high end tourists to the area will continue to visit Dubai and Oman.

    2. UncleRonnie Guest

      If there is lots of J reward availability on the flights and a chance of a suite upgrade on points (which the hotel will have do to attract visitors in the early days), elites will flock there.

    3. Jk groc Guest

      What a moronic comment lol

  17. globetrotter Guest

    Saudi Arabia is the custodian of Islam's two holiest mosques. When it allowed US military stationed on its soil in preparation for liberating Kuwait, it gave rise to bin Laden's Al-Qaeda because the monarchy family allowed the Great Satan in the country. Now, it has Iran presence in Yemen on its southern border. It wants to replicate the success of UAE to attract Western tourists fast and furious by doling out multi-millions $$$ to expand...

    Saudi Arabia is the custodian of Islam's two holiest mosques. When it allowed US military stationed on its soil in preparation for liberating Kuwait, it gave rise to bin Laden's Al-Qaeda because the monarchy family allowed the Great Satan in the country. Now, it has Iran presence in Yemen on its southern border. It wants to replicate the success of UAE to attract Western tourists fast and furious by doling out multi-millions $$$ to expand tourism and sports in golf, tennis, etc... Tourism and oil industries will cement western presence and military to safe guard it from Iran's threat. We will witness terrorist attacks on western interests once hordes of tourists fly in SA. When Americans emphasize on being pampered in luxury and recognized as the "elite" and the government is in bed with the monarchy family with impunity, it speaks volume what our priorities are and little about what our values are. I do not advocate boycotting visiting any country whose policies contradict with ours. It is a clear comprehension of what extreme capitalism is when we witness how US global and domestic companies treat their labor forces, vendors, elite members, customers, etc.. Money and power are their only ultimate priorities.

    1. Anibal Guest

      What is wrong with you?

  18. Stephen Guest

    Beautiful resort in questionable country!

  19. Luke Guest

    And what can I get in the bar to drink? Saudi champagne? (mixture of apple juice and seltzer)

    No thanks rather go to Mexico or somewhere even with room half the size!

    1. Luke Guest

      Also as saw on their website the hotel has "The St Regis Bar" and says "a menu of tempting drinks are served against an elegant backdrop. An experience for the senses, expect skilled mixologists"

      Skilled mixologists to mix some sodas and juices which my 5 year old kid can also have?

  20. DenB Diamond

    The idea of a luxe resort with no drunks is very appealing. I'll be interested in real experience from same-sex couples staying in this and similar properties. My Saudi friends (gay) tell me, among other things, that "Grindr works perfectly fine in Jeddah" so it's tempting to be slightly optimistic. Not sure I want to be the first datapoint LOL. That's a lotta points!

    1. Jk groc Guest

      Why does everything to revolve around alcohol and being gay? Can’t you have fun without getting drunk and exhibiting your sexuality? I’m sure you can. And that your comments and questions are not genuine rather they are just to be offensive and a front to another culture.

      Just stay home

    2. RichM Diamond

      "Can’t you have fun without getting drunk and exhibiting your sexuality? I’m sure you can."

      I'd agree on the being drunk part, but if you're a gay couple, it's not much of a vacation if you have to spend the whole time hiding that fact.

      "Exhibiting your sexuality" might mean as little as a hug with your partner, or asking for a King bed in your room rather than two Queens.

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      And that your comments and questions are not genuine rather they are just to be offensive

      Irony is certainly not your strong suit......

    4. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      I can't speak for KSA or Grindr...

      ...but while traveling with a bud throughout the MidEast in mid 2021 (because they were just about the only international places we could freely come and go!), he had absolutely no trouble meeting Russian/Eastern European ladies on Tinder and some other app (can't remember the name) in Egypt, Dubai, and Qatar.

      In fact, I barely saw him most nights.

      Apparently none of the places care about those sorta...

      I can't speak for KSA or Grindr...

      ...but while traveling with a bud throughout the MidEast in mid 2021 (because they were just about the only international places we could freely come and go!), he had absolutely no trouble meeting Russian/Eastern European ladies on Tinder and some other app (can't remember the name) in Egypt, Dubai, and Qatar.

      In fact, I barely saw him most nights.

      Apparently none of the places care about those sorta things, as long as you don't get stupid with it.

      At this point, I'd be somewhat surprised if KSA is all that different underneath, despite Western fears/assumptions.

    5. Alan Diamond

      I really doubt that the KSA would be that much different. A westerner would be unlikely to date a Saudi woman but being together in public in a big city did not seem to be a problem.
      I rented a car and when I returned it I asked the young Saudi woman at the counter if they could drop me at the bus station. She replied that they did not offer that service but...

      I really doubt that the KSA would be that much different. A westerner would be unlikely to date a Saudi woman but being together in public in a big city did not seem to be a problem.
      I rented a car and when I returned it I asked the young Saudi woman at the counter if they could drop me at the bus station. She replied that they did not offer that service but if I was willing to wait an hour, she would take me in her car. On the drive to the bus station she boasted that she had three different boyfriends and explained the interactions with each one. She did not seem at all uncomfortable having me in her car at all.
      Western perceptions of Saudi are quite mistaken. In fact, this April I am planning on returning with my Mexican girlfriend for another epic road trip. I will say though that the Saudi drivers are some of if not the worst in the entire world.

  21. Cy Guest

    So can my wife walk around the resort in a bathing suit? Can I get a beer? So many questions

    1. Tracy Guest

      Actually a better question to ask if both you and your wife can walk around the resort in bathing suits. Men are also required to dress modestly, torso covered and short pants must covered at least to the knees.

  22. Sisyphus Guest

    “… all while admittedly having a bit of a reputation issue in the West.”

    As always, western exceptionalism makes an appearance.
    “The west” needs to understand that there’s a whole other world that exists elsewhere and doesn’t necessarily play by the same rules, these hotels will do just fine with or without business from the so-called west.

    1. joeblonik787 Gold

      Also, your ruler thinks you can't "do just fine without business from the west." That's literally the entire point of him opening the kingdom, building western-style resorts, building a western-style airline, etc.

      If you need more proof, look at the success of Dubai in diversifying their economy. Oil will stop at some point - either because you'll pump it all, or the economy will transition away. Your ruler is correct in diversifying while you...

      Also, your ruler thinks you can't "do just fine without business from the west." That's literally the entire point of him opening the kingdom, building western-style resorts, building a western-style airline, etc.

      If you need more proof, look at the success of Dubai in diversifying their economy. Oil will stop at some point - either because you'll pump it all, or the economy will transition away. Your ruler is correct in diversifying while you still have the ability.

    2. Sisyphus Guest

      “Your ruler”, who? Justin Trudeau?

      Rich of you to think that Dubai got to where it is based solely on western money when, in reality, it makes up only a fraction of foreign investments.
      India, China, and Russia alone are enough to make these places a success.

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      western money when, in reality, it makes up only a fraction of foreign investments.

      *buzz* FALSE.

      The plurality of the UAE's inflow foreign investment does, and long has, come from five countries, three of which are "Western": UK, India, USA, France, and KSA.

      Take it down to just Dubai, and the numbers skew even further in favor of the West.

      https://www.lloydsbanktrade.com/en/market-potential/united-arab-emirates/investment

  23. Adam L Guest

    Absolutely not. Nothing could get me to go to or spend money in that country.

  24. Dn10 Guest

    Wonder what the real pictures of the resort look like. Would love to see but not seeing too much online. Doesn’t seem worth it until they serve drinks (compared to maldives) but maybe it becomes a competitor to the Maldives over time.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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ConcordeBoy Diamond

<b><i>western money when, in reality, it makes up only a fraction of foreign investments.</i></b> *<i>buzz</i>* FALSE. The plurality of the UAE's inflow foreign investment does, and long has, come from five countries, three of which are "Western": UK, India, USA, France, and KSA. Take it down to just Dubai, and the numbers skew even further in favor of the West. https://www.lloydsbanktrade.com/en/market-potential/united-arab-emirates/investment

3
joeblonik787 Gold

Also, your ruler thinks you can't "do just fine without business from the west." That's literally the entire point of him opening the kingdom, building western-style resorts, building a western-style airline, etc. If you need more proof, look at the success of Dubai in diversifying their economy. Oil will stop at some point - either because you'll pump it all, or the economy will transition away. Your ruler is correct in diversifying while you still have the ability.

3
Adam L Guest

Absolutely not. Nothing could get me to go to or spend money in that country.

3
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