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You can stay inside the Palace of Versailles at Le Grand Contrôle

Arriving at Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle is like stepping into a different world, such is the spell of the charming 13-suite hotel. It opened in June 2021 after four years of meticulous renovation of three historic 1681 buildings designed by King Louis XIV’s architect, Jules Hardouin-Mansart.

Paris designer Christophe Tollemer in turn worked his magic, dressing it in a magnificent decor with stunning Pierre Frey fabrics, wallpapers and carpets – some replicas of originals. Polished antique furniture, shimmering chandeliers and gleaming silver and glassware reflect 18th-century opulent splendour. The charming hotel ambassador, Dominique Jego, attributes Le Grand Contrôle’s appeal to immersing guests in the grand era of Versailles, well away from the ordinary.

Le Grand Contrôle
Le Grand Contrôle, Château de Versailles

Inside Le Grand Contrôle

Tollemer drew inspiration from the neighbouring Petit Trianon Palace and Louis XVI’s personal style. He focussed on 1788 as a benchmark – the year Marie Antoinette redecorated Petit Trianon. Le Grand Contrôle’s 13 rooms and suites mimic an elegant 18th-century style. They feature authentic colours, fabrics, chandeliers and artwork. Tollemer worked closely with Emmanuelle Vidal-Delagneau, a highly experienced specialist in French heritage and art in the selection of authentic art and objects from the 17th and 18th centuries. The prestigious Maison Pierre Frey created period wall hangings for each room, displaying original designs taken from the Château archives. Themes include flowers and butterflies characteristic of the ‘return to nature’ advocated by philosopher Jean-Jacques Rosseau. Each room also contains a love letter from Madame De Staël to her lover Louis, Comte de Narbonne-Lara.

Baron de Staël Holstein room at Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle
Junior Suite Baron de Staël

Suites

One lavish spacious suite, named after the King’s finance minister Jacques Necker, is decked in wallpaper and drapes with flowers and butterflies, a fireplace, four-poster bed, upholstered couches and armchairs, antique books and artwork. In the morning you can watch the sun rise over Versailles from the large windown, a magical sight. You can experience the King’s wake-up ritual where staff enter while soft baroque music plays, curtains are opened, a fragrant bubble bath is drawn and an orange-scented milk drink – Marie Antionette’s favourite – delivered.

Grand Suite Necker Chambre
Grand Suite Necker Chambre
Le Grand Contrôle’s suites
Le Grand Contrôle’s Grand Suite Necker Salle

Guest experiences

Butlers will help organise your stay … fancy horse riding or a Valmont Spa treatment? In 1788 style, staff have 23 different courtier ‘uniforms’ made from kilometres of fabrics, 5,000 buttons and 120 metres of braid.

Spend your days at Le Grand Contrôle a restorative spa by Valmont, in the 15-metre indoor swimming pool, and enjoying exclusive access to the Château.

Dinner is a theatrical affair at the Alain Ducasse Michelin-starred restaurant, bathed in soft candlelight and showcasing a menu fit for a king and queen. Service is executed with well-choreographed precision as courses are announced with a fanfare including flambéed langoustine with tender chestnuts, turbot with caviar, veal with jus and a decadent grand finale of strawberry king cake, with wines to match plus chocolates.

Guests can also use boats and golf carts to explore the Grand Canal and gardens at leisure.

Hotel owner Airelles has curated a number of exclusive experiences so guests can access areas of the Château and grounds that are normally closed to visitors.

These include:

A private tour of The Trianon

Each morning, before the arrival of the general public, hotel guests are invited to join a tour of The Trianon and The Queen’s Hamlet (Le Hameau de la Reine). The tour differs each day with the guide showcasing different areas, including Marie Antoinette’s much-loved English Gardens and Louis XIV’s Grand Trianon.

Private tour of the Château

Guests are treated to a VIP after-hours tour of Versailles’ shimmering centrepiece, the magnificent Hall of Mirrors. Wander with a guide, contemplating the grandeur of royal life amid 357 ornate mirrors.

Unlimited Access to the Orangery Gardens

Guests can visit the magnificent gardens at any time of day. Staff will take you on a drive in a hotel golf buggy to discover Versailles’ vast manicured gardens with 50 fountains – there were once 2,400 – parterre and topiary gardens, and the 1.6-kilometre Grand Canal.

Afternoon tea

A delicious afternoon tea that would see Marie-Antionette beaming is served on the terrace with Vienna-style brioche rolls, pretty pastries and dainty raspberry-topped tarts with champagne bubbling in hollow stem glasses – fancied by the King, as poisonous residue could be easily spotted.

Beauvilliers bathroom at Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle

Guest can also book the following paid experiences.

  • After-hours access to the Hall of Mirrors
  • A Marie Antoinette-themed day including a costume fitting
  • A private performance at the Royal Opera
  • Private dining with a string quartet in the former apartment of Louis XV’s daughters
  • The chance to follow in the footsteps of the former head gardener to the royals, André Le Nôtre
Le Grand ContrôleLe Grand Contrôle

A feast fit for a king

Dinner at Le Grand Contrôle is a theatrical event. At 8.30pm, the restaurant staff, dressed in period costume, ring a bell for dinner. Guests experience a five-course gourmet feast. It starts with a selection of soups and starters followed by roasts and salads, then dessert and, finally, fruit.

On Sunday the hotel serves a royal brunch inspired by ‘Le Grand Couvert’, an ancient French ritual where the king and queen would dine in front of the public.

Le Grand Contrôle price

Rates at Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle start from €1,700, including a dedicated butler, daily tours of Château de Versailles and the Trianon, access to the Palace grounds including use of boats and golf carts, as well as breakfast, afternoon tea and minibar snacks.