There’s a Luxury Hotel on the Grounds of Versailles—and There Are Still Rooms Available During the Olympics

Live out your Marie Antoinette dreams with an overnight stay in the ornate 17th-century palace.

Interior of guest room, with fireplace, canopied bed, chandelier, and large mirror

You can now book a stay fit for royalty at the Château de Versailles.

Photo by Renée Kemps/Airelles

If you have ever fantasized about staying in one of the most opulent palaces in the world, your dream can now become a reality. In 2021, French hotel company Airelles opened Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, a luxury hotel located within the the Château de Versailles, the famous royal residence that first opened in the 17th century and is perhaps most associated with the reign of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

In the years since, the hotel has become one of the most coveted stays in France, recently picking up three Michelin keys in that guide’s inaugural hotel rankings list. And, amazingly, despite the crowds expected to descend on the City of Light for this summer’s Olympic Games, which run from July 26 to August 11, 2024, there are rooms available at the property during the festivities.

As of April 25, you can still book a stay at the property during the latter half of the Games, between Wednesday, August 7, and the closing ceremony on Sunday, August 11. But it’ll cost you: Deluxe Rooms begin at $2,885 a night (excluding taxes and fees), while the grand Suite Necker will run you a little over $16,000 (excluding taxes and fees). With its 14-foot ceilings, the suite was the former private apartment of the Controller-General of Finances and last Chief Minister of Louis XVI, Jacques Necker, and a stay includes round-trip transfer from Paris or the airport in a Mercedes S-Class, one lunch and one dinner per day, and a private guide for exclusive tours.

White and gold dining room with table for six in the property’s Alain Ducasse–helmed restaurant

Feast like kings and queens at the property’s Alain Ducasse–helmed restaurant.

Photo by Renée Kemps/Airelles

Is anything special happening at Versailles during the Olympics?

The Château de Versailles will be one of the host venues of the Olympics, with a temporary outdoor arena being built in the Etoile Royale esplanade in the middle of the famed gardens. When the French Court moved into Versailles in 1682, Louis XVI had enormous stables built to accommodate 600 horses, and equestrian heritage has been part of the fabric of the place ever since. Appropriately, the arena will be the location of dressage and show jumping competitions during both the Olympics and the Paralympics. Elsewhere, the individual and team cross-country events will occur on the banks of the Grand Canal, and the grounds will also host the modern pentathlon events: swimming, fencing, riding, running, and shooting.

The UNESCO-designated palace has the distinction of being the only museum that will host events, and it’s leaning into that unique intersection with a series of cultural programs. Majestic Horses at the Heart of Civilization (July 2 to November 3), for instance, is an exhibit highlighting the role of horses in civil and military society from the 16th century to the 20th century; it will sprawl across the palace, including the Hall of Mirrors and the King’s State Apartment. And the palace will offer guided tours related to the themes of sports and the arts, including Versailles, Games, and Sports; Dancing at Court; Gods and Heroes; Versailles by Horse or by Carriage; and Horses in Art.

A white, freestanding bathroom tub beneath window, with view of gardens of Versailles

Many of the rooms look out onto the palace gardens.

Photo by Renée Kemps/Airelles

What is it like to stay at Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle?

Airelles converted a palace building that was originally envisioned in 1681 by Louis XIV’s architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart into the opulent property. The 21st-century incarnation features dining by celebrated French chef Alain Ducasse, a spa by Swiss skincare brand La Maison Valmont, a 50-foot indoor pool, and views of the Orangerie, the section of the palace’s iconic gardens known for its fruit trees, and of the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses, the large pond within the gardens.

The interior spaces were reimagined by architect and interior designer Christophe Tollemer, who drew inspiration from Marie Antoinette’s Versailles estate, Petit Trianon, as well as from Louis XVI’s opulent style. Each of the 14 rooms and suites is uniquely decorated and the property is outfitted with restored and recreated period furniture, artwork, fabrics, chandeliers, and artifacts.

Guests staying at Le Grand Contrôle will have exclusive access to areas of the Château and grounds that are normally closed to visitors and will be able to explore the palace gardens, halls, and apartments. Each stay includes a private morning tour of the Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet prior to the arrival of the general public, a private tour of the palace in the evening after visitors have departed, and unlimited access to the gardens, including boats and golf carts for exploring.

There is also the option to pay extra for a Marie Antoinette–themed costume fitting, a private performance at the Royal Opera, and private dining with a live string quartet in the former apartment of Louis XV’s daughters, among other unique add-ons.

This story was originally published on October 19, 2019, and was updated on April 25, 2024, to include current information.

Michelle Baran is a deputy editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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