Condé Nast Traveller Middle East
WORD OF MOUTH
Opulent overnighters elevate the craze for all things regal
Global travel news and trends including the importance of supporting locally owned safari outfitters in Africa, the craze for bedding down in a palace and where you can find trendy Japanese soufflé pancakes. Plus, we spend two minutes with Emirati race-car driver Amna Al Qubaisi
We’ve been crushing on palatial design for a while now – from the lavish sets on The Crown to the knowing new chintz epitomised by designers such as Martin Brudnizki (Annabel’s in
London) and Laura Gonzalez (Paris’ Lapérouse restaurant). At the dawn of the 2020s, though, only living like a royal will do. Earlier this year, Edinburgh specialist Lateral City opened nine apartments in Abbey Strand at Holyrood Palace – the Queen’s official residence in Scotland – with a physic garden redesigned by Prince Charles. Meanwhile, Jaipur’s City Palace – its pink façade is straight out of one of Wes Anderson’s more fantastical dreams – has become the first royal home to list on Airbnb. The 21-year-old maharajah is offering stays in the baby-blue Gudliya Suite, with proceeds helping women’s charities. In late 2021, Six Senses’ first Indian foray will be set in a 14th-century fort once owned by the Rajasthani royal family, with a design that’s heavy on marbled splendour.
But few openings have been as buzzed-about as the 14room Airelles Le Grand Contrôle, opening next year in the old financial controller’s building at the Palace of Versailles. “We want it to feel like you’re walking into the 18th century,” says interior designer Christophe Tollemer, who has taken primary inspiration from Marie-Antoinette’s Le Petit Trianon and has gone all-out for period accuracy, using only original furniture. As in Louis XIV’s time, the grandest suites will be on lower floors (the staff lived upstairs). Guests will have exclusive access to the palace after day-trippers depart. But even the bombastic king didn’t have a spa and an Alain Ducasse restaurant. The poor chap.