The dynamic functionalization of the nanoparticle surface with biocompatible coatings is a critical step towards the development of functional nano-sized systems. While covalent approaches have been broadly exploited in the stabilization of nanoparticle colloidal systems, these strategies hinder the dynamic nanosurface chemical reconfiguration. Supramolecular strategies based on specific host–guest interactions hold promise due to their intrinsic reversibility, self-healing capabilities and modularity. Host/guest couples have recently been implemented in nanoparticle platforms for the exchange and release of effector molecules. However, the direct exchange of biocompatible hydrophilic oligomers (e.g. peptides) for the modulation of the surface charge and chemical properties of nanoparticles still remains a challenge. Here, we show the intracellular reconfiguration of nanoparticles by a host/guest mechanism with biocompatible oligomeric competitors. The surface of gold nanoparticles was functionalized with cyclodextrin hosts and the guest exchange was studied with biocompatible mono and divalent adamantyl competitors. The systematic characterization of the size and surface potential of the host/guest nanoparticles allowed the optimization of the binding and the stabilization properties of these supramolecular systems. The in cellulo host/guest-mediated direct reconfiguration of the peptide layer at the surface of nanoparticles is achieved by controlling the valence of adamantane-equipped peptides. This work demonstrates that host/guest supramolecular systems can be exploited for the direct exchange of pendants at the surface of nanoparticles and the intracellular dynamic chemical reconfiguration of biocompatible colloidal systems.