The Saudi Princess and the Multi-Million Dollar Shopping Spree

It’s an old gambit—slipping out of a hotel in the dead of night to dodge the bill.

But it’s a bit tricky when you have an entourage of 60 people, a balance of more than $7 million, and a fleet of limousines and other vehicles waiting to collect you and your mountains of bags.

That was the situation at 3:30 A.M. on May 31, 2012, when Princess Maha bint Mohammed bin Ahmad al-Sudairi reportedly attempted to make something of a run for it at Paris’s five-star Shangri-La Hotel, in the 16th Arrondissement, where she and her retinue had occupied 41 rooms for five months.

After a tense standoff that involved calls to high-ranking diplomats and officials, she was allowed to leave, whereupon she checked into the nearby Royal Monceau, owned by Qatar, a friendly neighbor of Saudi Arabia…