“Royalty by osmosis,” I’ll call it.
My latest crackpot theory struck me after a recent visit to Waldorf Astoria’s Trianon Palace Versailles. Positioned just outside the grounds of Louis XIV’s famous remnant, the Trianon was designed by René Sergent to echo the grandeur of its palatial neighbor.
The hotel opened its doors on the first of May, 1910 and immediately attracted celebrities, artists, and aristocrats from around the globe. During the First World War, the Trianon played an important role as a hospital and later as the drafting site for the Treaty of Versailles.
Following the war’s conclusion, Versailles surged in popularity. Upper class Parisians retreated to the region’s picturesque splendor and lively cafes. Though the world changed dramatically over the decades to come, the Trianon Palace continued to lure high-society guests with its classic, regal ambiance.
Immediately following a comprehensive interior design in 2007, the Trianon became a Waldorf Astoria property. Today, it is among the most exquisite resorts in the world, with Michelin star dining, sprawling gardens, an incredible spa, and a bespoke driving experience.
Despite the hotel’s historical significance, it first struck me as presumptuous to adopt the term “palace.” After all, the Palais de Versailles is so unfathomably opulent that all other structures seem utterly plebian in comparison. But the Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace is more than just a royal wannabe; it is the modern equivalent of eminent accommodation.
Few buildings on earth have the curb appeal of the Trianon. Through gold-laced gates and at the end of a cobblestone driveway, the dazzling structure looks as if it’s been standing since the dawn of time. Indeed it’s difficult to imagine anything else occupying the efflorescent real estate with such authority.
Just within the grand entrance, an extraordinary chandelier dangles from an ornate, domed ceiling. Beyond, French doors flood the main gallery with sunlight, illuminating colorful furniture and modern artwork.
Bordering the hallway, Gordon Ramsay au Trianon, La Véranda, and Bar Galerie restaurants invite guests to overlook lush gardens as they dine. Each morning, breakfast is served on an expansive open-air patio. Fresh-baked croissants, made-to-order crepes and omelets, and ripe fruits taste that much better in the warming sunlight.
At the rear of the resort, Salon Clemenceau often hosts wedding receptions and upmarket banquets (when international peace treaties aren’t being drafted). Beneath the salon’s two large plateaus, the resort’s tri-level Guerlain spa houses two fitness centers, an indoor swimming pool, 14 treatment rooms, and a sun terrace.
Of the 199 total rooms in eight configurations, 100 are located in the main building. Each high-ceilinged haven is decorated with elegant, contemporary furniture that harmonizes with the classic architecture. In-room balconies overlook either the Trianon gardens or the patio. On the 6th floor, accessible by private lift or hidden staircase, Terrace Suites offer a striking view of the Château de Versailles.
If these extravagant touches fail to impress, the Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience should do the trick. Guests can reserve one of three Lamborghini models to tour Versailles in unparalleled style. Whether the V12-powered Aventador S, open-air Huracan 610-4 Spyder, or rear-wheel drive Huracan LP580-2 suits your fancy, each supercar transforms a vacation from memorable to legendary.
Versailles is littered with stunning sights, yet all eyes snap to the troop of brightly colored Lamborghinis. Is this how royalty feels? Trumpeting your presence with popping overrun and high-pitched wails, every sense is intoxicated by hundreds of horsepower. Meander through history later; now’s the time to cut loose.
Back at the Trianon Palace, the rush of piloting an Italian supercar eventually melts once more into relaxation. Beyond the plush accommodations, Waldorf Astoria’s staff seizes every opportunity to spoil their guests. It would be enough for the hotel representatives to be competent, but each team member appears to genuinely love their work. As a guest, this distinction makes all the difference.
Over a century in the company of true sovereignty has shaped the Trianon’s character. You can’t sleep in the Palais de Versailles, but you can have a taste of its historical grandeur at the Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace.