Royal Residence: At Palace of Versailles’s First Luxury Hotel, You Can Retrace The Steps Of France’s Colorful Monarchs - Travel

The Palace’s Le Grand Contrôle offers a full experience of French royalty life ala King Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, from the regal suites to food inspired by its famous residents.

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Do you fancy a life like a French king? At the newly-opened Le Grand Contrôle, this experience is now available for travellers.

Considered as one of the most opulent addresses in the world, the hotel is set within the gates of Château de Versailles (or the Palace of Versailles), the seat of French power back in the 17th century and for 30 years now, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The hotel is named after the Grand Contrôle building, one of three structures where it is based, along with Le Petit Controle and the Pavilion. It was built by Louis XIV’s preferred architect Jules-Hardouin Mansart back in 1681, and was fully restored by architect and interior designer Christophe Tollemer.

Today, guests can get a taste of revamped royal classics for £1,700 or just over $2,000 a night.

Halls and gardens

The sixth property from luxury hotel brand Airelles houses a total of 14 individually decorated rooms and suites, complete with period furnishings and fittings. It comes with majestic views of the palace’s garden building Orangerie, filled with orange, lemon, oleander, palm, and pomegranate trees; the gardens of Versailles reflecting the work of gardener to the royals, André Le Nôtre; and the Lake of Swiss Guards, a13-hectare ornamental pool.

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With a dedicated butler, guests can retrace the steps of one of the palace’s well-known residents, Marie Antoinette, at the Le Hameau de la Reine. Also called the Queen’s Hamlet, this is where the French Queen consort used to take walks and host her closest friends.

Guests may also access boats, golf carts, the palace, a Valmont spa with a 15-meter indoor pool, and an exclusive, after-hours experience at the Hall of Mirrors which, when booked, allows an exploration of the famous hall and its 357 mirrors without the usual crowd.

Completing the experience of French nobility is the Chef Alain Ducasse-helmed on-site restaurant. It offers royal gastronomic delights inspired by France’s 72-year ruler King Louis XIV, with classic French dishes and even an afternoon tea dedicated to Marie Antoinette.

Le Grande Contrôle’s launch follows the reopening of Château de Versailles to the public early this year.

Originally a hunting lodge by King Louis XIII, the successor King Louis XIV transformed it into a 63,159 square-meter, 700-room estate in the 17th century. It took 50 years to complete with the help of 30,000 workers, with King Louis XV and King Louis XVI also staying in the said palace during their reign. In recent years, it has become the backdrop of Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette, and the television series Versailles.

Le Grande Contrôle accepts bookings and reservations through the Airelles website.

Banner Photo by Clark Van Der Beken on Unsplash

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