You Can Now Spend the Night at the Château de Versailles

Le Grand Contrôle is the first hotel to open within the iconic palace grounds

Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle

Renée Kemps

For those looking to ensure their European vacation this summer is an over-the-top return to the continent, look no further than the much-anticipated Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, located on the grounds of the one-and-only Versailles Palace in France. Opening its doors on June 1, Le Grand Contrôle is the first hotel to open within the iconic Château de Versailles palace grounds. Guests get an exclusive peek into the enchanting world of Versailles as they explore the 2,000-acre gardens, palace halls, and apartments traversed by Europe’s elite over the centuries.

This is the seventh property for the Airelles hospitality group, which also has hotels in the French Alps, Cote de Azur, and St. Tropez. “We’re thrilled to be finally opening the doors to Le Grand Contrôle, a project which started as an ambitious vision in 2016 is now ready to be shared with our much-loved guests,” said Guillaume Fonquernie, the CEO of Airelles. “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.”

With views over the Orangerie, the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses and the Château, Le Grand Contrôle is housed within a building constructed in 1681 by Louis XIV’s favorite architect, Jules Hardouin-Mansart. The stunning property has been meticulously restored by architect and interior designer Christophe Tollemer, who was inspired by the neighboring Petit Trianon Palace. He chose to focus on 1788—the year in which Marie Antoinette redecorated Petit Trianon.

The hotel has 14 regal rooms and suites, each individually decorated in an elegant 18th-century style, with period furnishings, rich textiles, chandeliers, artwork, and artifacts, including a love letter from Madame De Staël to her lover Louis, Comte de Narbonne-Lara. In addition, the prestigious Maison Pierre Frey has created period wall hangings for each room, displaying original designs from the Château archives.

Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle room

Renée Kemps

Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle bathroom

Renée Kemps

Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle rooms

Renée Kemps

Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle restaurant

Renée Kemps

At the on-site restaurant, Ducasse at Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, award-winning Chef Alain Ducasse takes diners on a journey through time via a menu inspired by the flamboyant nature of Louis XIV’s meals. For lunch, there’s a selection of reimagined French classics like mallard Galantine with foie gras and pistachios, traditional Vol-au-vent, and scallops with Jerusalem artichokes and truffles, and a daily Marie Antoinette afternoon tea. But dinner is the real showstopper—and yes, it is a show, with the waitstaff in period costume serving an array of gold, silver, and vermeil dome-covered dishes. A bell rings at 8:30 p.m. to signal the beginning of the meal, which is reminiscent of the king’s royal banquets.

Every Sunday, a royal brunch is served, inspired by ‘Le Grand Couvert,’ an ancient French ritual where the king and queen would dine in front of the public. An impressive buffet takes center stage, overflowing with classic French dishes. 

After all that indulgence, guests can relax at the Valmont spa, which boasts a hand-painted fresco and Carrara marble checkerboard floor, inspired by the palace’s marble courtyard. In addition, guests can enjoy the 49-foot indoor swimming pool, hammam, sauna, and restorative menu of treatments. 

The hotel offers many exclusive curated experiences for guests, including access to areas of the Château normally closed to visitors. There are also boats and golf carts on hand to explore the Grand Canal and gardens. Each stay includes a private tour of the Trianon in the morning, before the arrival of the general public; a private tour of the palace every evening once all visitors have departed, taking in the King and Queen’s State Apartments and previously unseen living areas of the sovereigns; and unlimited access to the Orangerie Gardens.

There is also a selection of add-on experiences like after-hours access to the Hall of Mirrors; a Marie Antoinette-themed day including a costume fitting, private performance at the Royal Opera and private dining with a string quartet in the former apartment of Louis XIV’s daughters; and the chance to follow in the footsteps of former head gardener to the royals, André Le Nôtre.

Rates at Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, start at $2,077 and include a dedicated butler, the private tours mentioned above, breakfast, tea, minibar, and use of the golf carts and boats on property. To book a room, visit the hotel's website.

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