Not since the reign of the ill-fated French monarchy have guests awoken in Versailles, free to explore the lavish playground of one of history’s greatest kingdoms. Certainly, many have visited the former palace of Louis XIV and have taken in the Sun King’s crumbling, decaying reminder of that greatest age of over-indulgence – but few have had the opportunity to actually make themselves at home within the grounds of Versailles since the French Revolution. Indeed, in recent years the palace has become more ‘museum’ than ‘home’ to those who visit.
However, all of that is going to change in 2011 when the Belgian company Ivy International begins renovations on the Hotel du Grand Controle within the grounds of Versailles.
“The wall here, it’s completely crumbling in parts,” Versailles Deputy Administrator Mikael Hautchamp explains. “Many parts of this building are in this very damaged situation. It’s very difficult for us because our mission is to save the heritage.”
Unable to fund the restoration of the satellite building without outside help, the president of the Chateau de Versailles allowed the private Belgian investors to help with renovations while creating an economically profitable hotel. A percentage of the profits from the hotel are to be paid back to Versailles in rent.
Located about 100 meters from the main palace, the Hotel du Grand Controle is a 23-bedroom building that once housed the King’s Treasurer and his servants. Guests will have views of the castle and L’Orangerie – the grand greenhouse garden of Louis XIV.
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