The Château de Versailles is one of the most extravagant properties in the world, and, until recently, only French kings and courtiers could partake of its beauty overnight. Now, a new luxury hotel, Château De Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, has opened its doors on the grounds of the palace to non-royals and royal watchers who wish to stay on property.
It was Louis XIV who took a small hunting lodge for the royal set and turned it into the 2,000-room display of decadence we know as the Château de Versailles. While you won’t find a Hall of Mirrors or a private bedroom enjoyed by Marie-Antoinette at the hotel, there is plenty of lavishness to behold at Le Grand Contrôle. Fourteen rooms and apartments swath guests in royal grandeur, with details including toile de Jouy wallpaper and fabrics and wallpaper and carefully sourced, 18th-century antiques.
French hotelier Airelles went to great lengths to ensure authenticity in its restoration of Le Grand Contrôle. “A dedicated scientific committee of experts (was) set up to ensure a restoration that is both faithful to Louis XVI and respectful of the priceless historical heritage that Le Grand Contrôle represents,” the company said in a release. “The attention to detail in terms of accuracy is second to none. The paintings, furniture, and even the staff’s 18th century-inspired outfits offer a true representation of the period. Guests will also appreciate the Concierge’s wealth of resources on the subject.”
There is a signature Alain Ducasse restaurant, on site, as well as a wellness center and an indoor swimming pool. Guests of the hotel also enjoy views of the elaborate gardens, specifically the parterre of the Orangerie and the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses, and have access to the palace grounds after hours.
The hotel is located in a structure that was designed by Louis XIV’s preferred architect, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and built for the Duke of Beauvilliers, in 1681. In 1788, it became Le Grand Contrôle, an early incarnation of the ministry of finance.
“It was here, in the privacy of these stone walls that the building blocks of American independence were laid out thanks to the financial support of the King of France,” said Airelles in a news release announcing the hotel’s launch. “The European cultural elite would regroup here amidst the elegant decor of Le Grand Contrôle, (Louis XVI’s finance minister Jacque) Necker’s wife holding court with the great names of the Age of Enlightenment. More than two centuries later, it will finally regain its splendor within the estate of the Château de Versailles.”
Photography by: Photos by Renée Kemps