Part of Versailles Palace to become luxury hotel
It’s a sumptuous historical monument, a wildly popular tourist attraction, and a symbol of French monarchy and decadence.
Now the Palace of Versailles is getting ready to add to its list of functions: preparations are underway for a Belgian company to turn The Hotel du Grand Controle, traditionally home to the palace’s treasurers, into a luxury hotel.
The initiative is meant to spur a two-pronged plan to exploit the economic potential of certain valuable, but expensively maintained and often damaged buildings while simultaneously pursuing their renovation. But the handing over of a chunk of treasured public heritage to a private operator is an unusual occurrence in France.
‘A pioneering initiative’
The project is expected to transform the Hotel du Grand Controle into a 23-bedroom hotel scheduled to open in late 2011. Some of those rooms will overlook the “Orangerie”, an elaborate greenhouse featuring lemon trees and orange trees.
Jean-Jacques Aillagon, president of the Chateau de Versailles, has said that without the arrangement he would not have the budget necessary to renovate the building. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Aillagon called the creation of the hotel “a pioneering initiative”. He added that his mission was to save the building, which was “in a very dilapidated state”.