The Vanishing £637k ($800,500) Ring at The Ritz

By: Ronnie Tal | Last updated: Mar 21, 2024

It happened to everyone at some point. It’s the end of yet another lovely trip abroad, and you were just about to pack your suitcase, and it’s gone. What is? Something is, whether it’s your credit card, a t-shirt, or your left sandal, the feeling of frustration is all the same. But just how intense your frustration be if it wasn’t your t-shirt, but a £637,000 diamond ring?

This exact thing happened to no other than one wealthy Malaysian Heriss during the last days of her Paris vacation. Was it an Ocean 11-style heist? Was it an alien abduction? No, the twist here is far more surprising than what you may think! So step into the luxurious world of The Ritz Paris, where luxury and intrigue intertwine in a dazzling tale of a mysteriously disappearing diamond ring. There is way more to this Malaysian Heriss than meets the eye.

The Vanishing Act and Suspicious Whispers

It’s yet another bustling Friday in Paris, when a lovely, jet-setting businesswoman sets off on a shopping spree, leaving behind a glittering £637,000 diamond ring on her hotel room table.

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Source: Alamy

But upon her return, the sparkle was replaced by sheer bewilderment—the ring had vanished! She quickly files a police complaint, pointing fingers at the very staff entrusted with the hotel’s renowned hospitality.

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A Fair Accusation?

In her eyes, we can only assume, the people responsible for her precious ring’s disappearance is clear as day. Because who else (other than the distinguished guest herself) had access to the tiny treasure?

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Source: intheknow.com

And of course, a luxurious ring such as this, which would catch anyone’s eye, will probably also make them succumb to their dark urges. 

Flashbacks and Ongoing Intrigues

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time The Ritz Paris has been the stage for high-stakes drama. This beacon of opulence saw its fair share of scandals, pricing that no amount of money can buy your way out of embarrassment.

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Source: Wikipedia

From the not-so-secret affairs that happened between its fancy walls, to numerous crimes and controversial figures attached to its name, the Ritz is definitely not a place of virtue.

Build For the Best of the Best

The timeless grandeur of the Ritz Hotel, where every corridor whispers the stories of the rich, the famous, and the adventurous started in 1898, when Swiss visionary César Ritz breathed life into this Parisian gem, setting the stage for a saga that would intertwine with the threads of celebrity and literary history.

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Source: lemoulinsurcele.com

The hotel quickly became a hub for the world’s richest, most sophisticated individuals, with big names like F. Scott Fitzgerald, who, with a penchant for the bar, immortalized the hotel in one of his most famous novels.

The Ritz Hosted Some Shady Characters

The Ritz’s literary love affair continued with Ernest Hemingway, who not only made the hotel’s bar his home but also, as legend has it, “liberated” it from the Nazis at the end of World War II.

Source: lemoulinsurcele.com

With a few French resistance fighters, Hemingway embarked on a mission to reclaim his beloved hotel, a tale now etched in the annals of the Ritz’s rich history. On the other side of the pendulum, Coco Chanel, a permanent resident of the hotel, conducted her romantic liaison with a German officer, sparking rumors of her being a collaborator.

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Looking to the 21st Century

Today the Ritz remains the grand hotel it was (after undergoing a modern facelift). The question looms: does this transformation risk diluting its storied heritage? Insiders, including Roulet, argue vehemently against it. Tradition, they assert, will always take precedence in the Ritz’s rooms, bars, and corridors.

Source: onemileatatime.com

The modernization, rather than erasing history, only serves to add another chapter to the ongoing saga of the Ritz – a living testament to an era where tales of luxury, fame, and adventure continue to unfold against the timeless elegance of its opulent backdrop.

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A Facelift For the Ages

This tantalizing prospect revolves around the transformative power of renovations and rejuvenation. The Ritz Paris, after undergoing a staggering multimillion-dollar makeover, emerges as a vision of unrivaled grandeur and contemporary luxury.

Source: architecturaldigest.com

The allure of the Palace designation lies in its stringent criteria, demanding a confluence of exceptional elements, from architectural magnificence to a rich tapestry of history that is outside the ordinary. The Ritz Paris, steeped in legacy and lavished with timeless elegance, appears poised to check all these boxes

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Hollywood Heist

Jumping forward to 2018, where a cinematic heist saw armed robbers snatch over EUR 4 million in merchandise from a jewelry shop within the hotel.

Source: Alamy

In a daring heist that unfolded at the iconic Ritz hotel in central Paris on a Wednesday evening, five masked men armed with axes and knives made off with an estimated €4.5 million worth of jewels. The audacious robbers stormed into the five-star establishment, located on rue Cambon near the famed Place Vendôme, around 6:30 pm.

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A Scary Situation

Inside the Ritz, chaos ensued. The assailants smashed display windows with their axes, taking valuable jewels and stuffing them into bags.

Source: annahar.com

Witnesses later told the press about how the terrified guests in the hotel’s Hemingway bar were instructed by staff to take cover on the floor for their safety.

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To Catch a Thief

Other guests sought refuge in the hotel kitchen as the robbers carried out their swift operation. French police patrolling outside the hotel managed to stop three of the culprits, as they tried to escape the scene.

Source: nieuwsblad.be

However, the remaining two robbers escaped through a back door and ran away on a scooter, avoiding capture.

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No One’s Safe in Paris

You would think that such a prestigious hotel would be one of the safest places you could stay in.

Source: X (Twitter)

In actuality, this heist happened after the city of Paris had already increased its security significantly after the world-famous jewelry theft that happened to American mega-celebrity Kim Kardashian in 2016.

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Kim’s Worst Day

In case someone forgot, Kim was held at gunpoint at her Paris apartment, just 10 minutes away from the Rtiz, while she visited the City of Lights during fashion week.

Source: KimKardashian / Instagram

She was bound and gagged but actually managed to untie herself and scream for help, and came out physically unharmed.

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An Aspiring Author?

During the robbery, the criminals stole two cell phones and jewelry valued in the millions. However, it was clarified that only one of the pilfered phones belonged to Kim herself. In a significant development that followed the robbery, French police later arrested 17 individuals related to the crime.

Source: Getty Images

The criminals were not prosecuted until later in 2021, and in an amusing twist, one of the men who were charged with the robbery actually went on to write a book on the incident, if you can believe it.

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A Different Kind of Royalty

From industry royalty to actual royalty, no blue-blooded individual seems to be immune to crimes in France’s capital, the Malaysian heiress during the last days in  Paris included. 

Source: index.hu

In a brazen heist that unfolded within the luxurious confines of the renowned Ritz Paris, a Saudi princess fell victim to a similar theft amounting to more than $900,000 in jewelry, as reported by French police. The royal family member had been residing in an opulent suite within the five-star establishment when the crime occurred.

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The Eyes of the World are Set on the Ritz

As investigators dig into the case, everyone’s paying attention to how the cops are handling it and what they’re doing differently to catch the bad guys.

Source: Alamy

This heist was bold and well-planned, making it feel like a Sherlock Holmes detective story. The public awaits anxiously trying to decide if the French authorities can track down the thieves and get back this priceless ring.

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The Search Begins

After all of these embarrassing incidents, is there no doubt that the hotel took the missing ring very, VERY seriously. They most certainly did, but this was different than any other case. Beneath the surface of this captivating narrative lies some unexpected treachery. Meanwhile, the meticulous search orchestrated by the Ritz Paris’ staff to find this Malaysian woman’s ring was underway and the search seemed nowhere in sight.

Source: Ritzparis.com

Delving into every nook and cranny, the hotel’s employees displayed a level of thoroughness that can be compared to that of detectives in a mystery novel. Imagine the diligence and the keen eye for detail, as they combed through the the halls, the rooms, the dining hall, and virtually every corner of the grand hotel.

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They Didn’t Forget Their Manners

Determined to unveil the whereabouts of the elusive diamond ring. It wasn’t just a search; it was a quest, a pursuit of resolution. In addition to the fact that the staff inspected every corner of the Ritz, their commitment to guest satisfaction continued to shine through.

Source: architecturaldigest.com

The hotel, acknowledging any inconvenience caused, tried to sweeten the Heriess’s stay as much as they could, offering her an additional three nights of accommodation as a guest. Considering their not-so-great reputation regarding theft and expensive missing items, it was the least they could do. However the Heriss wasn’t so keen on spending more time at the hotel considering her precious jewels were “lost” under their watch.

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What Should They Do?

While their guest anxiously waited to see if her ring would be returned to her, she began making several phone calls exposing the Ritz and accusing them of stealing her items themselves. The hotel staff referred back to other similar cases, and couldn’t even begin to fathom the level of damage this would do to their reputation.

Source: bestwestern.fr

There continued to be so much backlash and bookings plummeted. Just a week before a Dutch hotel worker stumbled upon a forgotten treasure worth £5 million tucked away in a drawer, setting the stage for even more suspicion surrounding the hotel. 

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Jewelry Hijinks

Letting their minds wander into local jewelry legends might have been a bad idea because there was no getting out of the loop. Taking their heads out of the clouds, they started to notice how the businesswoman’s outcry started to make undeniable waves.

Source: Alamy

Not letting the smell of blood in the water pass unnoticed, the press started to quickly arrive at the hotel. With microphones and flashing lights everywhere, looking for even the slightest lead and out-of-place act going around inside the building, the Ritz was now in the middle of a full-on public outrage. 

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Press Pandemonium

There’s an old saying, usually recited among celebrities, that “all press is good press”. But when you’re a Parisian establishment looking to preserve a somewhat elitist image, and you’ve had more scandals tied to your name in recent decades more so than your local government- something’s not working for you.

Source: lebrusanstudio.com

But if they thought that their string of bad luck had reached its peak, they were sorely mistaken. The same guest whose ring had disappeared decided to toss out every trace of decency and came out to the hoards of journalists gathering outside the hotel.

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A Very Generous Journalist Indeed

The hotel’s staff were just about to lose their minds when they saw their guest stepping outside to face the cameras. They knew that nothing good could come of it, since the woman didn’t only have a good story for the press to eat up,  but she was also quite the impressive figure, draped in classy Chanel from head to toe.

Source: illustration purposes

“I have been robbed” she cried out, setting the stage for a tearjerking speech, and a young reporter gathered up some courage and stepped right up to her with his microphone. To everyone’s surprise, she didn’t push him away, on the contrary, she leaned in.

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A Red Carpet Crime

As the glitzy lights of the cameras didn’t stop this young report and his very eager speaker from making her statement. Everyone outside the hotels were hypnotized by them both. Everyone, except one of the receptionists. 

Source: illustration purposes

She didn’t have the longest record at the Ritz, but what she did have was a keen eye for detail. The whole thing seemed to be very strange- their high-profile guests were usually inclined to bend over backward to keep their private life, well, private. She recalled the Saudi princess who had been robbed at the hotel, and how until today no one really knows who she was. So why would this woman make things so public?

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Some Serious Digging

The receptionist immediately started to suspect and while the other staff members were busy either turning the Ritz inside out or managing the PR situation, she started to do some digging of her own. 

Source: illustration purposes

She had decided to start with a simple Google search, which was made easy with her unlimited access to all guest details. Was it entirely ethical? perhaps not but she was determined to solve this mystery. Other than her lavish social media accounts and other basic facts, the receptionist found something that lit a speck of curiosity in her. A small hiccup all of a sudden turned into a full-fledged warning sign. 

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Who Was She, Really?

The receptionist’s eyes widened in shock while reading an otherwise boring news article about plans to build a new hotel in Paris, right across the street from the Ritz. The kicker? The person behind this new hotel was none other than that same businesswoman who was now accusing them of theft.

Source: Nikada from Getty Images Signature / Canva Pro

Now the receptionist had a lead, and she wasn’t going to stop there. A quick look outside and she realized that the same young reporter currently interviewing the guest, was the same person who wrote the article she was now reading.  Things were starting to come together.

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There It Was, Clear As Day

The receptionist started to understand what might be standing behind this whole incident. But there were still a few details missing. What connection did the woman have to the journalist, and what, for heaven’s sake, happened to the notorious ring?

Source: Bar Hemingway, Hotel Ritz Paris / Pablo Sanchez / WikiMedia Commons

Ignoring the calls from her friends to help maintain the situation, she started going over security footage from the guests’ check-in date. It took her a few short minutes to find out that on the day before the rings vanished, this guest was sitting at the Bar Hemingway alongside no other than the young journalist, sipping drinks and looking very pleased with themselves, when at some point, the guest discretely handed something over to the reporter.

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Their Reputation Was Hanging by a Thread

When the receptionist’s manager came to scold her for not helping out, she quickly showed him her findings. He was skeptical at first, but as she kept explaining and showing him to footage, suddenly something dawned on him- the guest told him that she would have a person on her behalf cleaning her room that day, and although her request was strange, he allowed it.

Source: Emperatriz Morales / Google Reviews

Another quick glance at the security footage showed that the man who came by to clean her room, carrying a vacuum clear and a cleaning cart, looked a lot like the young reporter. The two were in complete shock. The manager hoped to get their hotel the rank of a Palace, and his efforts to make his guest feel like a princess might have brought the scandal to their door.

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Snubbed by Critics

Ritz Paris, despite its fame and opulence, has yet to attain the distinguished status of a “Palace.” Back in 2010 when the French Ministry of Tourism created the six-star Palace designation, a title exclusively reserved for hotels exemplifying extraordinary beauty, rich history, and culinary prowess.

Source: The Shangri-La rooftop bar © Roméo Balancourt

The Ritz, embarrassingly, failed to get this coveted title. With all of these factors in mind, the entire hotel was buzzing with activity, with employees almost tearing the place apart, trying desperately to find the guest’s missing treasure.

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Hiding Behind the Opulence

Considering the fact that the hotel has rooms such as the Imperial Suite, which is considered a Historic Monument, and boasts an expansive 2,660 square feet, it’s no wonder that the search for the ring turned out to be a serious mission.

Source: dotwnews.com

This opulent retreat features 20-foot ceilings and a meticulously designed bedroom that was designed to imitate the grandeur of none other than Marie Antoinette’s quarters at Versailles. Try to imagine looking through rooms so big and so fancy, while trying not to ruin anything. Yikes.

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They Were Close to Giving Up

Looking for a small ring, no matter how many diamonds are set in it, would be extremely difficult in this almost too-luxurious setting. But now the hotel staff had, at the least, a head start. They started looking through the cleaning carts, but not before the manager stepped outside and informed the press (and the shocked guest) that they had new information that he was certain would lead them to find the ring.

Source: nos.nl

In case you forgot, the guest informed the police that she had placed the ring on a table in her hotel room, but now the situation might have taken a turn she did not expect. 

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No One Saw That Coming

It was a very fancy needle in a very fancy haystack, since the Ritz is probably one of the only places where a ring such as this would blend in with the surroundings. On that morning, after looking for it in what was literally the dirtiest place in the hotel- the dirtbag of the vacuum cleaner, the staff found the £637,000 diamond ring.

Source: Shutterstock

It was quickly discovered that the businesswoman indeed worked with the young journalist to besmirch the Ritz in order to raise publicity for her own hotel and sell a good story to the young journalist. The reporter, in turn, admitted that he very gently dropped the ring to the floor and vacuumed it. He hoped that the story would grant him the promotion he was desperate to have. 

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All’s Well That Ends Well

With the Hotel’s staff being credited with the diligent efforts of the security agents at the Ritz Paris, and the reputation of the hotel avoiding a serious blow, the story had its own little brand of happy ending. 

Source: onemileatatime.com

It’s unknown what became of the businesswoman’s project, or what happened to the young journalist, but we can bet that neither party will ever be welcomed back to the hotel nor any high society circles. The Ritz still proudly looks over Paris, and we can all hope that it will continue to offer impeccable hospitality to its guests without unfavorable surprises. 

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