Le Grand Controle: first hotel opens in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles

The property has opened in three historic converted buildings, and offers views of the palace's famed Orangerie

Le Grand Controle will offer views of the Palace of Versailles' famous 'Orangerie'. AFP
Le Grand Controle will offer views of the Palace of Versailles' famous 'Orangerie'. AFP

Tourists can now stay on the grounds of France's famed Palace of Versailles for the first time, thanks to the opening of a new luxury hotel.

Made up of 14 rooms and suites, the luxurious Le Grand Controle has opened, offering guests the chance to spend the night within one of the world’s most opulent addresses, and experience luxury fit for royalty.

The hotel is situated within three historic buildings dating back to 1681, which have been restored by architect and interior designer Christophe Tollemer, offering stunning views over the palace’s famous Orangerie.

Built by Louis XIV's preferred architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the garden features orange, lemon, oleander, palm and pomegranate trees.

The hotel is named after one of the three buildings it occupies, the Grand Controle building, also built by Mansart, along with Le Petit Controle and the Pavillon.

Guests can also take in the Piece d'Eau des Suisses, a 13-hectare ornamental pool excavated by Swiss Guards between 1679 and 1682.

The palace was built by King Louis XIV, who during the 17th century famously had his former hunting lodge transformed into a sprawling 63,154-square-metre estate, made up of 700 rooms.

Given the luxurious nature of the grounds within which it sits, stays at Le Grand Controle do not come cheap. An overnight stay starts at €1,700 ($2,100) a night.

The hotel is the sixth property for luxury hotel brand Airelles, and features a Louis XIV-inspired menu at its on-site restaurant, helmed by famed chef Alain Ducasse, as well as a Valmont spa, complete with a 15-metre indoor swimming pool.

Each of Le Grand Controle's rooms and suites is individually decorated and named after someone once connected with the property, including Louis XVI’s director-general of finances, statesman Jacques Necker and his daughter, novelist Madame de Stael.

Guests will have a dedicated butler, and be shuttled around the grounds via golf buggy or boat, and have access to previously unseen quarters of the property where royals lived and stayed.

Guests will also have a chance to enjoy a number of exclusive experiences, such as after-hours access to the Hall of Mirrors, avoiding the usually packed crowds, as well as taking a stroll through Le Hameau de la Reine (the Queen’s Hamlet), a private retreat where Marie Antoinette would walk and host her closest friends.

The hotel was due to open in 2020, but was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Chateau de Versailles reopened to the public earlier this year, with all visitors required to book a mandatory time slot for entry.

Updated: June 3, 2021 07:09 PM


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