A £1,200 a night hotel in Indonesia...and a rose petal massage from Ria
By Simon Parry
Last updated at 2:30 AM on 10th April 2011
Prince Andrew enjoyed a sensual massage from a pretty young Indonesian woman in his £1,200-a-night hotel suite during his official trade trip last week.
The Prince relaxed under the hands of petite masseuse Ria at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta, where his presidential suite boasted butler service and a built-in sauna.
The Prince was on his first official overseas trip as a UK trade ambassador since the
controversy over his friendship with the convicted child molester Jeffrey Epstein had threatened his survival in the role.
It was disclosed last month that Andrew had enjoyed regular massages during stays at the £4 million Florida mansion where billionaire financier Epstein abused teenage girls.
While there was no suggestion that the Prince was involved in any impropriety at the Palm Springs house, or knew what had allegedly happened there, the revelations handed fresh ammunition to critics already concerned over his trade envoy role.
Shrugging off the controversy, the 51-year-old Royal enjoyed his hour-long massage at the Shangri-La on Tuesday evening soon after arriving in the Indonesian capital.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday yesterday, masseuse Ria, 28, said it was the fourth time she had massaged the Prince. She gave him three massages – one a day – when he visited Indonesia in 2008 and stayed in the same hotel.
She said: ‘He was friendly to me. I called him Sir at first because my English is not good and I find it difficult to say Your Royal Highness. He told me, “Just call me Andrew. I am Andrew here.” ’
The Prince slept through most of his one-hour treatment, during which Ria used rosewater and aromatic oils.
She added: ‘He was very tired after his journey, I think. I wanted to ask him about the Royal Wedding but I was scared to speak to him too much. I was worried I might talk too much, so I didn’t say anything.’
Ria was hand-picked by managers at the Shangri La to give the Prince the £30-an-hour massage and was given strict briefings on protocol and behaviour.
During his 2008 visit, Ria said she massaged Prince Andrew on the bed of his suite but last week a special massage bed was brought up to his suite from the hotel’s spa at the Prince’s request.
She said: ‘The Prince prefers to use a massage bed but it was small and he is a big man. It was quite difficult for me to work around it.’
Ria said her friends and family were excited when they heard she had met Andrew. ‘He has been on TV in Indonesia and everybody is talking about him. I was so happy to meet him and to see him and to touch him.’
Asked if Andrew had given her a tip, Ria said: ‘That’s a secret.’
The Prince’s visit to Indonesia included a meeting with the country’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who provided a Mercedes limousine and police motorbike outriders for him throughout his stay in Jakarta.
Andrew’s use of a presidential motorcade added to the already chronic congestion in Jakarta’s streets as lanes were shut for up to 30 minutes before he set off on each engagement.
Malcolm Llewellyn, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia, who had two meetings with the Prince, said technically only the president was entitled to a motorcade and road closures around Jakarta. But he said the privilege was sometimes extended to other VIPs. He added that Andrew had completed a busy programme in the Indonesian capital.
‘If he hadn’t had the motorcade he wouldn’t have got to any of his engagements. I am very glad he came. He does a very good job,’ Mr Llewellyn said.
‘We can all be criticised for what we do, of course, but as far as I am concerned I am delighted he came here.’
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘We cannot comment on private issues. All personal expenses for the Duke of York during overseas visits are paid for personally by His Royal Highness.’
A source close to the Duke of York said last night: ‘It is well known that the Duke of York, like many other travellers after long-haul scheduled flights, receives massages.
‘It would be quite wrong to make any suggestion or implication that anything improper took place in Indonesia, as it did not.’