24-Hour Room Service: Trianon Palace, Versailles

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The Independent Travel

Versailles isn't a destination you'd automatically associate with moderation or self-restraint. The chateau itself is so wildly opulent that during its heyday it required a quarter of the national income of France to maintain. Which is why the Trianon Palace, located on the edge of the royal park, seems like the perfect place for some unseemly over-indulgence.

Versailles isn't a destination you'd automatically associate with moderation or self-restraint. The chateau itself is so wildly opulent that during its heyday it required a quarter of the national income of France to maintain. Which is why the Trianon Palace, located on the edge of the royal park, seems like the perfect place for some unseemly over-indulgence.

However, for the last two decades the hotel's spa, originally opened by Givenchy in 1982, has been keeping coiffeured Parisians and international guests in trim. Forget over-indulgence, this is where you come to lose weight. Guests can soak, wrap, scrub and dip in any number of algae- or seaweed-based confections in one of 26 low-lit, high-tech beauty rooms. Treatments are administered by an army of suitably hushed, white-clad women, all in possession of a firm technique and a deft way with ointment. And for those who want to get thin quickly there's the "slimming escapade" menu that includes electro-osmosis, a hyperactive multi-jet bath and the delightful sounding slendertone drainage treatment.

Once you're done in the spa the hotel's restaurant Les Trois Marches carries on the good work. Although it's recognised by the Michelin guide as one of France's finest, chef Gerard Vie offers a "diet" version of the menu on request. It sounds terribly harsh to plump for the healthy option when presented with a menu of such wealth; you can almost hear the ghost of Marie Antoinette crying "let them eat cake". But when the mouthwatering slithers of scallops arrive followed by course after course of the tastiest morsels, it's worth remembering that the French idea of low calorie is a little different to ours.

The Trianon's interior designers have looked to the Palace of Versailles for inspiration. The hotel was renovated in 2001 and a Louis XV theme - vast columns, crystal chandeliers and marble floors - runs throughout.

The hotel was built in 1910 and quickly became a magnet for global A-listers, drawn by its luxury, its prestigious neighbour and the relative calm it offered from the tumult of Paris. During the First World War it was transformed into a hospital but once peace was restored it reverted to its original role. In 1940 it got caught up in the next War and, on the order of Marshall Goering, became the headquarters of the Luftwaffe. For those of a fanciful imagination, Marie Antoinette's isn't the only ghost you could meet on the stairs.

Still, such a chequered history hasn't put off the great, the good, the rich and the famous. Marlene Dietrich, Sarah Bernhardt, JD Rockefeller Jr and Paul Getty, and more recently Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Pierce Brosnan are just a few to have swept through its marble reception and into its lavish rooms.

LOCATION

Trianon Palace, 1 Boulevard de la Reine, 78000, Versailles, Paris (00 33 1 30 84 50 00; www.westin.com/trianonpalace)

Situated in the royal city on the edge of the park of the Palace of Versailles, the hotel is a five-minute walk from the chateau itself and a 20-minute drive from the Place de la Concorde in central Paris.

Time to international airport: the nearest airport is Orly International. A taxi ride costs €40 (£28.50) and the journey takes 20 minutes.

COMFORTABLE

The Trianon Palace Hotel contains 192 rooms, including 93 suites and apartments in the palace and 99 bedrooms in the pavilion, which was added in 1990 and is linked to the palace by an underground passageway. On the fifth and sixth floors of the palace there are two duplex suites that open out onto magnificent terraces with views over the Palace of Versailles. From my room on the fourth floor, French windows opened onto a small balcony overlooking the revered Marie Antoinette sheep grazing in the park of the chateau. Period tapestries and paintings, ornate fireplaces and plenty of marble provide the atmosphere of an elegant French mansion.

Freebies: Molton Brown toiletries, box of delicious creamy toffees, daily newspaper

Keeping in touch: all rooms are fitted with cable television, two direct dial phone lines and a data port, while WiFi (wireless internet connection) is available in some of the rooms.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Rooms cost from €230 (£164) including breakfast.

I'm not paying that: The nearby Hotel Ibis Paris Chateau de Versailles (00 33 4 89 88 40 05) has doubles from €95 (£68).

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