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Alain Ducasse and Stéphane Courbit chosen to operate Versailles' future luxury hotel

The authorities managing the Palace of Versailles just announced the winners of a call for tender launched in August 2015 to create a hotel and restaurant in the famous royal Château. Alain Ducasse and Stéphane Courbit, two celebrities of the French luxury hospitality industry, will not be in uncharted territory among Versailles' opulent apartments.

Alain Ducasse and the former television producer Stéphane Courbit (producer of the French first reality show and of several popular talk shows) have been granted the rights to operate the future upscale hotel that will open its doors within the "Château de Versailles". In the hospitality industry, Alain Ducasse's name  is linked to the restaurants of the Plaza Athénée (3 Michelin stars), Meurice (2 Michelin stars), Dorchester in London (3 Michelin stars), and prestigious addresses in NY and Tokyo (Benoit, Le Beige), Doha, Hong-Kong... and soon the Café ORE in the "Pavillon Dufour", as well as the Palace of Versailles. The businessman Stéphane Courbit is also a connoisseur of luxury hospitality, as he is the owner of the Courchevel palaces Les Airelles and Le Mélézin, and the Bastide de Gordes in the Lubéron region, among others. In 2015, he bought back 20% of the shares of his Lov Hotel Group, previously owned by Liliane Bettencourt, France's wealthiest individual (and #11 worldwide, thanks to her shares in L'Oréal).

According to statements of the Authorities managing the Palace of Versailles, the "Lov Hotel Collection" brand will benefit from operating rights over a 60-year period, in exchange for annual fees. Located in a group of buildings overlooking the famous Orangerie (the "Grand Contrôle", "Petit Contrôle", and "Pavillon des Premières Cent Marches", all classified as Historical Monuments), the future hotel will offer twenty-three rooms, as well as a gastronomic restaurant managed by the star chef Alain Ducasse. The hotel's opening is officially slated for 2018, which information should be taken with a pinch of salt in light of the nature of the project (classified buildings for which renovations require approval from preservation experts, roof needing to be fully repaired, upper upscale FF&Es required by the property's positioning...). The renovation project's budget is estimated at 14 million euros, including an investment of more than €600,000 per room (dedicated to works alone, with no ownership of real estate). The goal will undoubtedly be to give this future hotel a luster worthy of today's crowned heads.

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