Wish you could live as grandly as Louis XIV—or at least as grandly as one of his right-hand men? You'll soon be able to. Versailles' Hotel du Grand Controle, built in the 1680s to house the offices and residence of the king's treasurer, will open its doors as a five-star hotel in January 2012. Located a slim 300 feet from the palace, the former mansion sits in a state of disrepair: Evacuated during the French Revolution along with the rest of Versailles, its walls are crumbling in parts—and the palace doesn't have the $7 million needed to restore it.
That job will be handed to Belgian hotel company Ivy International, which will refashion the mansion as a 23-room luxury hotel, and give Versailles a cut of the profits as rent. Guests will be able to spy the Orangerie, where Louis XIV stored his 1,700 orange and palm trees during the winter, from the hotel, which will be redubbed the Hotel de l'Orangerie. But guests can do more than peer out the windows: NPR notes they'll be able to drink champagne in the gardens for the first time in 300 years.