Thump, thump, thump…
I waited, confused as to why the a part of me managed by second-hand embarrassment wasn’t cringing over this burly 20-something bellowing in a deep voice one thing in French a few king and his meals.
Maybe it was as a result of I used to be a number of glasses deep that I didn’t thoughts, however I think the actual offender was the place I occurred to be—the splendid eating room of the first-ever resort within the complicated of Versailles.
It’s becoming, then, that this resort which simply opened this summer season, Le Grand Contrôle, is the newest choice for our sequence on thrilling new resorts, The New Room with a View. Le Grand Contrôle is housed within the mansion designed in 1681 by Mansart and final occupied earlier than the Revolution as a house by First Minister Jacques Necker. It’s positioned subsequent to the Orangery—which you will discover by standing overlooking the Grand Canal in entrance of the palace, turning left and happening the steps.
If the placement is what grabs you (it’s actually the one true luxurious resort within the space), the décor will reel you in. The resort is an Airelles property (the group additionally has properties in Courchevel, St. Tropez, and Gordes), and so the design was overseen in home by Christophe Tollemer. It’s, fortunately, extra Louis XVI than XIV and so whereas nonetheless opulent, it’s removed from garish.
In actual fact, regardless of working inside historicist constraints and in an period the place so many luxurious resorts all look the identical, the ornament is imaginative, transportive, and, someway, comfy. The underground pool, a part of a spa run by Valmont, is a specific gem.
Every of the 14 rooms and suites (which begin round $2,000 an evening) is completed otherwise. I used to be within the Foucquet Suite, which had the unique gilt mirror frames from the 18th century and a spectacular polonaise cover mattress. However particulars all through the resort are value noting—textiles recreated from historic patterns by Maison Pierre Frey, tech hidden inside leather-based bins, Saint Maximin Limestone counter tops, wicker facet tables—that made the place, nicely, chef’s kiss.
A lot of the yr, however particularly throughout the summer season peak vacationer season, Versailles is extraordinarily crowded. This implies not solely lengthy traces but in addition shuffling by state rooms, residences, and the Corridor of Mirrors with throngs of individuals. Positive, for those who go on a weekday very first thing or keep proper till closing you would possibly snag some respiration room. However, included along with your keep at Le Grand Contrôle is an after-hours tour of the palace the place the one different guests are the opposite visitors, that means you gained’t should obtain an app to edit individuals out of your Corridor of Mirrors image. (Or, for those who’re subsequent degree like one girl staying whereas I used to be there, you may come ready in a fairy story costume in your fast photoshoot within the empty Corridor.)
You additionally get a personal tour of the Petit Trianon, the miniature palace complicated constructed by Madame du Barry and occupied by Marie Antoinette.
Add-on experiences not included within the fee range from having the Corridor of Mirrors lit up for you at night time to dressing up as Marie Antoinette for the day and having macaron tastings and a dinner within the French Pavilion.
Whereas not one of many “experiences” the resorts talks about, one of the vital magical issues I did whereas there was go for a run within the park proper when the palace grounds opened. There was one thing actually surreal about panting up and down the manicured paths in twenty first century athletic gear in a spot that was as soon as the worldwide pinnacle of style and status. (It additionally joins the Exorcist Steps and the Rocky Steps as one of many coolest locations to do stairs.)
Whereas staying on the resort, although, it’s unimaginable to overlook the historical past of the place you’re staying. Not solely due to what is true out the window, but in addition as a result of the employees (a really enticing one, at that) is dressed up in interval costumes.
Which brings me again to that younger man in costume thumping an enormous stick in imitation of the bulletins made on the king’s ceremonial dinners. The meals expertise on the resort is overseen by none apart from Alain Ducasse, a person drowning in Michelin stars. All the pieces is as fabulous as you’d count on (and breakfast, curated by him, is included), however the dinner is completed with a number of the historic re-enacting. Usually, I’d hate such stuff, however I can’t assist feeling that if there’s one place on this planet you’re going to be further with all of the pomp and theatrics—it’s Versailles. It offers you a small style of the absurdity that was court docket life. (I didn’t, nonetheless, take the resort up on its supply to do a royal get up name for visitors.)
If Airelles does as nicely with Le Grand Contrôle as I feel it can, it’s possible it will likely be a brand new addition for American luxurious vacationers who usually spend a number of days on the palace resorts of Paris earlier than heading south. Now, they could simply swing as much as Versailles for an evening or two for a bit style of that royal life.