This week, in an eagerly awaited launch, Airelle’s seventh property, Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle opened outside Paris. The first hotel to operate within the grounds of the Château de Versailles, it’s situated in a building constructed by Louis XIV’s favourite architect, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, in 1681. Guests have access to the 2,000-acre gardens, historic palace halls, apartments and grounds, including areas of the Château that are normally closed to visitors. Here is a property where you can raise the bar on your expectations.
Exclusivity is the watchword with only 14 meticulously restored regal rooms and suites, including a 120 m² signature suite. You will enjoy views over the Orangerie, the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses and the Château. Finished in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century style, the light-filled rooms feature authentic colours and fabrics, chandeliers, art and objects, artefacts and original period furniture. Opulent historical features recreated include parquet flooring, fabrics, stonework and wood panelling. Time to brush up on your Revolution-era French: you may happen upon a love letter from Madame De Staël to her lover Louis, Comte de Narbonne-Lara.
You will discover many other bonuses to this remarkable one-of-a-kind offering, not the least of which is a new dining experience from Alain Ducasse, Ducasse at Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle. The salon has views onto the Orangerie parterre, a bell rings at 8.30 p.m. to signal the beginning of dinner, and in addition to a dazzling multi-course heritage menu, Ducasse offers a Sunday royal brunch. A table not to be missed.
The on-site Valmont spa features a 15 m indoor swimming pool and a wealth of exclusive treatments.
Luxury at this level allows for excessive flights of the imagination. The allure of private events in such a unique venue might include intimate weddings, private dinners or exclusive launches, for up to 54 guests. Imagine hosting an event inside the Palace itself followed by an exclusive overnight takeover, accommodating up to 36 guests across the 14 rooms and suites.
Guests may also choose to add on private tours; after-hours access to the Hall of Mirrors; a Marie Antoinette-themed day including a costume fitting; a private performance at the Royal Opera; or private dining with a string quartet, all at additional cost.
Luxury at this level does not come cheap, but it’s worth every penny. Rates at Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle start from US$2,077 including a dedicated butler; daily tours of Château de Versailles and the Trianon; access to the Palace grounds and Orangerie; use of boats and golf carts on hand to explore the Grand Canal and gardens at leisure; breakfast, afternoon tea and minibar.
The prestigious hotel collection comprises Le Grand Contrôle, Les Airelles in Courchevel, La Bastide in Gordes, Mademoiselle in Val d’Isère and Château de la Messardière and Pan Deï Palais in Saint-Tropez.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor