Wonderfully situated alongside the Château de Versailles gardens, the Trianon Palace has a new lease of life after its acquisition by an American consortium. The kitchens have been entrusted to Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay, one of Great Britian’s trio of three-star chefs.
Lately, however, much has changed at theTrianon Palace.
The decor, for a start. The old-style Trianon was furnished à la Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, with plenty of gilding and ‘authentic ersatz’ marble.
But Fiona Thompson, design director at Richmond International, has preferred to revive the Trianon Palace’s original Art Deco motif. Behind the black glass reception desk - lacquered with a Swarovski crystal inlay - an enormous clock inspired by a 1920s Cartier model welcomes the traveller.
The long central gallery, which used to be an anonymous corridor, has been transformed into a splendid lobby where one can order a drink whilst relaxing in an apple green armchair reminiscent of the verdant tones of the Versailles gardens beyond.
Created by the designer herself (as was every other piece of furniture in the new Trianon), grand Murano chandeliers lend a discreetly smart touch to the whole. The rooms, each unique, sport a range of muted and warm tones which underline the precise Art Deco geometry of the lighting fixtures.
The Trianon Palaceis also home to the Spa Guerlain, covering 3,000 m2 (30,000 ft2) on three levels, with 23 treatment rooms and an enormous 200 m2 (2,100 ft2) indoor pool, 2 metres deep at the centre. All treatments are skilfully orchestrated by Guerlain.
The other major change is in the kitchen. The Trianon Palace has availed itself of the services of Gordon Ramsay, one of only three British 3-star chefs - along with Heston Blumenthal and Alain Roux - and the only one in London. A football player whose knee and career were shattered at age 19, Ramsey learned the cooking ropes chez Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon, among others. Since his apprentice days, this businessman has opened a myriad of fine eateries from Tokyo to Dubai to Los Angeles, earning him a grand total of a dozen stars. The feisty Scot also shines in cookery books and on the telly (no need to mention his reality shows!).
The Trianon Palace’s two restaurants are overseen by Ramsay’s acolyte, Italian Simone Zanoni, who was his assistant in the 3-star London establishment .
The Gordon Ramsay is a gourmet restaurant open evenings whose aim is excellence (at €150 - €200 a person).
The Véranda is a deluxe brasserie (which we tried) - its terrace may well be the most beautiful dining spot to be found a half-hour west of Paris. Absolutely calm (no through roads), it gives onto the part of the Château de Versailles park where sheep are turned out to pasture. Regal and buccolic, it is ideal for a lovers’ rendezvous. The food is robust, elegant and delectable: the red mullet fillet, for once, doesn’t ressemble cigarette paper; the vegetables are appropriately firm to the tooth; and the citrus gelée and its basil sorbet celebrate summer in perfect harmony. Talleyrand’s douceur de vivre must have felt something like this. (Around €60 a person)
1, boulevard de la Reine
Tel: (33) 01 30 84 50 00
Spa: (33) 01 30 84 50 00