It has been two years since France first closed its borders and on June 9, the country will once again welcome foreign tourists back. “From June 9, the flow of travellers between France and foreign countries will be reopened according to terms that vary depending on the health situation in third countries and the vaccination of travellers,” the French government announced last Friday. Likewise, starting on June 7, Spain has allowed entry of international visitors.
With vaccination programmes starting to pick up across the world, more European countries are looking towards reopening their borders in a bid to restart their currently dormant travel sector which is said to rake in billions of euros every year during pre-Covid period.
If you are ready to spare no expense, you can now spend a night at the world’s most lavish address, the Château de Versailles. Check into Le Grand Contrôle, the newly launched luxury hotel by French brand Airelles. Built in 1681 by Louis XIV’s favourite architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the hotel occupies three historic buildings on the estate that has since been restored to its former 18th century glory by architect and interior designer Christophe Tollemer.
The Arielles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle is the luxury hotel group’s sixth property. Originally the residence and working space for the minister of finance, the newly renovated buildings have a total of 14 rooms and suites that have all been furnished with furniture from the era and this entailed a countrywide hunt through various auction houses and antique shops. Furthermore, a small team of the nation’s most talented craftsmen and artisans were also convened to salvage the stonework, parquet and wall panelling.
Nestled within the hotel is the Valmont spa that touts treatments inspired by Marie-Antoinette, such as the “Majestic Mirror” facial and “Divine Hand Beauty” massage. Guests can also look forward to gastronomical delights prepared by Michelin-starred French chef Alain Ducasse, who has specially curated a menu inspired by the Sun King. In the afternoon, indulge yourself in an afternoon tea session dedicated to Marie-Antoinette herself.
The highlight of this hotel stay is perhaps the exclusive experiences available. Guests will be assigned to a dedicated butler, access to boats and golf carts as well as private tours to areas such as the Queen’s Hamlet, Hall of Mirrors and other previously unseen living quarters used by the monarchs — this once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore these places without crowds is a huge motivating factor to book a night at Le Grand Contrôle, which costs €1,700 a night (S$2,740). As international travel slowly resumes, it is not a bad idea to include this into your bucket list.