A Saudi princess who fled a luxury Paris hotel in the middle of the night to avoid paying her £5 million bill is to have her assets seized in France, a judge has ruled.
Maha Al-Sudairi and her entourage of 60 attempted to sneak out of the exclusive Shangri-La Hotel in a fleet of limos at 3.30am in June last year.
They had racked up the enormous bill after checking into the hotel six months beforehand, taking over the entire 41-room seventh floor. The princess hired the services of Cinquieme Etoile (Fifth Star) to provide daily meals for her and her entourage, as well as chauffeur-driven cars and a security detail.
According to thelocal.fr, the director of Cinquieme Etoile told French daily Le Parisien: "Every day we had about 30 cars at the ready for her and those who accompanied her. We are still awaiting payment."
That payment was estimated to amount to £1.2 million.
When King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia refused to pay the eye-watering hotel bill, the princess attempted to make the quick exit, but was caught in the act by hotel staff. She claimed diplomatic immunity, and fled to the nearby Royal Monceau Hotel, owned by family friend, the Emir of Qatar.
However, the Shangri-La Hotel unsurprisingly did not take too kindly to the Houdini act, and have now won a legal bid to have her assets in France seized.
And her wares in Paris are sizeable; she has three storage units packed with goods from her lavish shopping trips, including artworks, jewellery, and luxury leather goods thought to be worth up to £10 million.
A spokesman for the Shangri-La said the hotel was pleased with the ruling, but that it could take some considerable time before the bill is settled,
According to the Daily Telegraph, the spokesman said: "As far as the process of getting paid goes, it's likely to take a long time. Her belongings will need to be valued and then sold at auction, and even then we may need to take international legal action against the princess before we see any cash."
It is not the first time Maha has been in trouble over unpaid bills in the French capital. Back in 2009, she claimed diplomatic immunity again after running up unpaid shopping bills of more than £15 million, including £60,000 on designer lingerie.
She also needed to be bailed out in 2010 after she ordered £18,000 worth of glassware and silverware from a Paris store.
It is thought her wealthy background often meant her IOU notes were accepted by shopkeepers, many of whom have still not received their payments.
The most expensive hotels in the world
Saudi princess' assets to be seized over unpaid £5m Paris hotel bill
Guests staying in the Imperial Suite at the Park Hyatt Vendôme, Paris can relax in the In Suite Spa, which gives them their own whirlpool bath, steam room, shower and massage table. There’s a huge living room and balcony, a separate dining room, bar and work area along with state of the art TV and sound systems. Cost per night: £12,314
The Ritz-Carlton Suite at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Moscow offers amazing views of the Kremlin and Red Square - which is just one of the reasons why you won’t want to leave your room. Guests are offered five meals a day and the suite has its own library, office room, boardroom, grand piano and dining area - so you’ll have everything you could possibly need at your fingertips. Rooms are furnished in the classic Russian imperial style and if you want to relax there’s flat-screen TVs and top-of-the-range stereo systems and, let’s not forget, your very own sauna. Cost per night: £10,814.
If you dream of relaxing in opulent rooms surrounded by fine antiques, you’ll love the Royal Suite at the Four Seasons George V, Paris. There are two Royal suites in the hotel, both on the first floor with access to a private terrace overlooking the historic fountain of the Three Graces. Each boasts a marble entrance foyer, kitchen and dining area, master bedroom with marble bathroom, steam room and sauna. But it’s the decor that’s most impressive: the entire suite is furnished with French antiques and traditional fabrics and paintings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. It’s like spending the night in a private museum. Cost per night: £10,963.
If you’ve been dreaming of an opulent hotel room, then it’s hard to beat the Royal Suite at the Burj Al Arab, Dubai. Guests enter the 25th floor suite via a private lift, then climb a marble and gold staircase to the master bedroom, which comes complete with a rotating four poster bed. There’s a private cinema and library, marble bathrooms and leopard print carpets - and a team of highly trained butlers to cater to your every demand. As if that’s not enough, you can upgrade your experience to include a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce, BMW - or even a helicopter. Cost per night: £11,629.
The Presidential Suite at the Ritz-Carlton is located way up on the 53rd floor of the tallest building in Tokyo - which means that guests have an amazing view of the Imperial Palace outer gardens and Roppongi Hills. There’s a four-poster bed in the master bedroom, an over-sized marble bathroom with its own flat screen TV and a fully-stocked pantry in case you feel a bit peckish. There’s also a personal butler on hand to cater to your every need so you won’t have to lift a finger. Cost per night: from £15,188.
Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey have both stayed at the Bridge Suite; 10 rooms of pure luxury, bridging the distance between the Royal Towers at Atlantis Paradise Island Resort.The suite is located on the 23rd floor, giving guests spectacular views through 12-foot windows. The huge living room boasts a grant piano and twin entertainment centres and there are four spacious bedrooms, a private kitchen and dining room. You won’t have to lift a finger during your stay, as there’s a permanent staff of seven who access the rooms through a private entrance. Cost per night: £15,254.
Located on the 7th floor of Le Richemond, the penthouse Armleder Suite treats guests to amazing wrap-around views of Lake Leman, the Old Town of Geneva and the Mont-Blanc mountains. Furnished with an eclectic collection of antiques, an impressive art collection and handcrafted chandeliers, the suite features an open-plan living room, dining room and three spacious master suites. Each has a private marble bathroom, and one even has a Turkish hammam. There’s also a state-of-the-art entertainment system, a business area and a fully equipped pantry - just in case guests fancy throwing an impromptu cocktail party on the private terrace. Cost per night: £16,331.
The Ty Warner Penthouse, the Four Seasons Hotel, New York, sits at the top of Manhattan’s tallest tower. It’s the result of a collaboration between hotel owner Ty Warner, designer Peter Marino and architect I.M. Pei, who came out of retirement to help create America’s most exclusive accommodation. Inside the suite you’ll find glass balconies and floor-to-ceiling bay windows set underneath 7m cathedral ceilings. The TVs are programmed to receive every channel worldwide, there’s unlimited global phone calls at your disposal and you have your own butler, trainer, therapist and chauffeur - at the wheel of either a Rolls Royce or a Mercedes - for the duration of your stay. The suite covers the entire top floor of the hotel and the centrepiece is the Thai canopy bed in the master bedroom - the canopy is threaded with gold and the mattress was made entirely by hand. The French doors open to reveal views of Central Park and there’s an indoor-outdoor Zen garden, complete with waterfall, that overlooks downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
Cost per night: £21,316.
Pierce Brosnan, Meryl Streep, Leonardo Di Capri and Mel Gibson have all stayed at the Royal Villa at the Grand Resort Lagonissi. This spectacular villa is set on the south side of a 72-acre peninsula and is designed to make guests feel as if they have their own private island even though it’s just a short drive to Athens. The villa has two master bedrooms - with remote control mattresses - and three marble bathrooms. The bedrooms and living room have working fireplaces and there’s also a business area, indoor and outdoor pools, gym, steam bath and fully-equipped bar and barbecue area. Guests can fly to Athens by private jet from all of the European international airports courtesy of the hotel and they also have their own butler, spa therapist, personal trainer and limousine driver. Cost per night: from £23,666.
The Hugh Hefner Sky Villa is located right at the top of the Palms Fantasy Tower in Las Vegas. Guests access the suite via their own glass lift and step into the ultimate party playground. Along with pop-up plasma TVs, a fully-equipped gym, sauna and spa, full bar and eight-foot circular rotating bed with mirrored ceiling, there’s a private outdoor jacuzzi pool that overlooks the strip below. The villa is so huge it can accommodate up to 250 people. If you like a quiet night in, this obviously isn’t the room for you. Cost per night: £24,462.