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Poor Shangri-La Paris. It sure has a ton going for it—horse-drawn carriage rides at Christmas time, gorgeous Eiffel Tower views. But that prestige wasn't enough to stop a Saudi Arabian princess from stiffing the hotel on a six-month bill worth over $7 million.
Yup. After booking the entire seventh floor of the hotel for herself and a 60-person entourage, at a cost of EUR 20,000 per night, and remaining there from Christmas until Thursday of last week, Princess Maha al-Sudari tried sneaking out in the middle of the night without so much as tipping the bellhop.
And the worst part? This wasn't the first time.
2012 is shaping up to be a huge year for London travel: there's the matter of a certain sporting event coming to town, and from June 2nd-5th, the city of perpetually grey skies will mark 60-years of Queen Elizabeth the II's rule during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The elaborate celebration fit for, well, a Queen, is set to include a pageant on the Thames River, the lighting of beacons 'round the world, special exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum, and a variety of neighborhood luncheons thrown by locals.
Celebrity Scoop / Royal Hotels / Prince Harry / Courtyard by Marriott Hotels / San Diego Hotels / → All Tags
Good grief. The Courtyard By Marriott Solana Beach might as well put a big sign out front that says, "PRINCE HARRY SLEPT HERE."
We have seen a surge in people wanting to stay in the hotel, and in that room, because of the recent stay. We're fielding a lot of calls and enquiries. 'We are looking at properly creating a royal package - it's being discussed internally. 'But just promoting that's the room he stayed in could be enough. People can stay in the same property, the same room, the same bed as the prince.
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That smile...those eyes
Though we certainly enjoyed speculating on Prince Harry's after-hours partying two weeks ago, we mostly just enjoyed seeing the 27-year-old enjoying a night out on the town. But the story doesn't end there.
A staff member at the Courtyard by Marriott Solana Beach is telling the The Daily Mail that Jessica Donaldson (the unnamed brunette from the Ivy) actually went to meet the Prince for a second time—and stayed the night at his hotel room on the second floor. Donaldson, who is still with her boyfriend of three years, denies such a thing ever happened, despite photos taken of them being intimate at another club in San Diego on a prior evening.
Wills who? The royal prince we really have the um, red hots for is Prince Harry and we're kicking ourselves for not having been at the Andaz San Diego over the weekend when Harry decided to let loose from his Apache military helicopter training.
Us Magazine reports that the Prince hit up the hotel's Ivy rooftop bar (Ivy is a nod to the hotel's former name) with 20 of his friends and started guzzling Absolut Vodka, Red Bull and beer. Then they moved to the hotel's outdoor pool deck where they watched a rugby match in a private cabana.
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His name aside, hotelier Stuart Bowery has absolutely nothing to do with the eponymous New York hotel. Bowery resides across the pond in London, where he manages the comparably luxe Grosvenor property. Bowery recently received profile treatment from Air & Business Travel News, where he had some interesting things to say about the local hotel scene in the wake of London's disastrous riots and in the lead up to next year's Olympic Games.
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It's no secret that the royals love The Goring Hotel in London. After all, that's where Kate Middleton spent her last night as a free woman before marrying Prince William in April. It's also where Prince Harry partied a little too hardy after the nuptials. But we can't help but wonder what the Queen Elizabeth would think of this sexy photoshoot for Marks & Spencers' new line of bridal lingerie. The Daily Mail reports:
The lingerie-clad girls, wearing nude heels, stockings and suspenders, were promoting M&S's new range of bridal lingerie at the Victoria hotel where Kate spent her last night as a Middleton. The vintage-inspired collection, available to buy from today, includes corsets, bras and bodices made of silk and lace.
There was trouble brewing in the Monegasque paradise between Prince Albert of Monaco and his bride Princess Charlene, long before they tied the knot on July 1. But you would think that they could at least try and enjoy their honeymoon in South Africa?
After all, they were staying in the presidential suite of the Oyster Box Hotel on the beach in Umhlanga Rocks. The suite alone spans two floors, with its own private elevator, two bedrooms, two marble bathrooms with views of the ocean, a study, a lounge, a dining room that seats 10 and a fully equipped kitchen. Oh and its own swimming pool.
But sadly the strain of the allegations that Prince Albert fathered yet another child out of wedlock may have forced him to seek out his own less luxurious hotel room at the Hilton in Durban, ten miles away from the Oyster Box.
An interesting fact we learned last week – looks like Kate Middleton isn’t a geek, techie or social media addict. How do we know? Because when we rocked up to her fave hotel, The Goring, just round the corner from Buckingham Palace and where she stayed the night before her wedding, and partied the night of it, we were confronted by this sign in the lounge, where they serve breakfast.
The Goring Lounge is a place for you to relax and unwind. So we ask you to help us preserve your fellow guests’ sense of tranquility…
· switch off your mobile telephone
· let us look after your computer
· hide away all those business papers
· sit back and relax!
Lord knows London already has like a million zillion options for afternoon tea, but when it comes to 5-star hotel restaurants that also offer tea service, the pickings are a little slimmer. That is, until June 1, when The May Fair opens Quince, an Eastern Mediterranean resto pegged to have an open kitchen and chef's table with TV Chef Silvena Rowe behind it all.
Apparently everything from the dishes to the cocktails to the wine list will be Ottoman Empire-influenced:
Did Prince Harry jump from a balcony at The Goring Hotel the night before the Royal Wedding? The Daily Mail sure
hopes thinks so, citing an anonymous source who said Prince Harry was the life of the party until 3am when he leaped off a balcony from the hotel's veranda.
The paper has even created a helpful diagram to show us how Hot Ginger may have done the act. But apparently, he was not so suave in pulling off the feat. The
hotel waiter source tells the Mail:
He had struggled to climb up the railings to get into position, so when he jumped over the edge he did so rather unsteadily and landed awkwardly next to a flower bed.
'He flinched for just a moment before he stood up, rubbing his ankle. Then he looked up, smiled and waved to a roar of cheers before disappearing on to the lawn where there was a secret exit.
Royals, they are just like us! They do stupid things at rehearsal dinners too, making them unbearably hungover for the big day.
Okay, we admit that sometime before we had our coffee this morning, the Royal Wedding got to us and melted our hard hearts just a tad. We're not sure which part was our favorite exactly, but Kate's departure (and the first glimpse of the Sarah Burton-designed Alexander McQueen dress) from The Goring definitely ranks up there.
As we've previously reported, The Goring is Middleton headquarters this week, as Kate stayed there last night, prepped for the wedding there, had her final fitting with Sarah Burton there, and her parents will remain there tonight. Therefore we're betting that it's going to be a feat to access the hotel to soak in some of the royal spirit. In fact, The Goring will likely be overrun with Royal Wedding-obsessed tourists and locals alike for the next few months at least.
Therefore, you're going to need another suggestion for a great hotel afternoon tea, hmm?