If you have ever fantasized about staying in one of the most opulent palaces in the world, your dream can now become a reality. French hotel company Airelles has opened Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, a luxury hotel located within the the Château de Versailles, the famous royal residence that dates back to the 18th-century reign of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Airelles, part of the French firm LOV Group, has converted a palace building that was originally envisioned in 1681 by Louis XIV’s architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart into the 14-room 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 lake 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 after-hours access to the Hall of Mirrors, 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.
The on-site restaurant Ducasse at Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle features classic French cuisine with a “menu inspired by the flamboyant nature of Louis XIV’s meals,” according to the proprietors. Meals, including a Marie Antoinette–inspired afternoon tea service, will be served to the backdrop of uninterrupted views of the Orangerie. Dinner will be a journey back in time with servers dressed in period attire presenting a five-course feast on gold and silver platters. A “royal brunch” will be offered every Sunday inspired by Le Grand Couvert, the tradition of the king and queen dining before the public.
Le Grand Contrôle can also be booked for weddings, private dinners, and events for up to 54 guests. Events can be hosted inside the main palace as well with the option to buy out the entire hotel for up to 36 guests in the 14 rooms and suites.
“We’re thrilled to be finally opening the doors to Le Grand Contrôle, a project which started out as an ambitious vision in 2016,” stated Airelles CEO Guillaume Fonquernie. “This launch represents an exciting new chapter for Airelles at a very poignant time for the hospitality industry as a whole, as we begin to slowly recover from the pandemic and look forward to brighter times ahead.”
The luxury hotel project is a long time coming, with reports of a planned hotel at Versailles dating as far back as 2011. In 2015, the Château de Versailles put out a call for bids to take on the renovation of three 17th- and 18th-century buildings adjacent to the palace, as well as several other structures on the grounds, and convert them into a luxury hotel. Airelles ultimately won that bid.
Versailles is considered by many to be one of France’s crowning achievements of art, design, and architecture. The 680,000-square-foot palace located on the outskirts of Paris consists of 2,300 rooms and houses many important collections of paintings and sculptures. Its most famous room is the Hall of Mirrors, a gilded gallery that documents France’s 17th-century political victories through 30 paintings on the vaulted ceiling. The massive and immaculate palace gardens are as much a draw as Versailles’s over-the-top interiors.
Airelles’s hotel collection includes Les Airelles, a renovation of the historic Austro-Hungarian Courchevel palace in France’s Les Trois Vallées ski region; La Bastide de Gordes, an 18th-century castle in Provence; Mademoiselle Val d’Isere, a ski chalet in the French Alps; and Château de la Messardière and Pan Deï Palais in Saint-Tropez.
Rates at Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle start at $2,077 per night and include a dedicated butler, daily tours of the Château de Versailles, breakfast, and afternoon tea.
This story was originally published on October 19, 2019, and was updated on June 2, 2021 to include current information.