24-Hour Room Service: Hôtel Cloître Saint Louis, Avignon

A 16th-century cloistered Jesuit noviciate dominated by soaring plane trees may not sound like the most obvious setting for a 21st-century temple to minimalism, but that's exactly what Avignon's Hôtel Cloître Saint Louis has become. It was taken over by the current French-Danish owners in the late 1980s, and they hired the French architect du jour, Jean Nouvel (he of the striking Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris), to design a new wing. With the help of various other architects, he set about revamping the old part of the building, too.

Today, the hotel is minimalist throughout, yet it has an appealing softness to it, partly because, a decade on, everything is looking more lived-in, but also because requests from regulars led to the owners adding a collection of Moroccan rugs and wall-hangings to the rooms.

There is a small bar, a sophisticated restaurant overlooking the cloisters, and even a small 17th-century chapel on-site (access is from the road outside), but the hotel's best feature is probably the rooftop swimming-pool, added during the revamp and offering a fabulous view across Avignon's ancient rooftops.

LOCATION

Hôtel Cloître Saint Louis, 20 rue du Portail Boquier, Avignon, France (00 33 4 90 27 55 55; www.cloitre-saint-louis.com).Within the old town walls, the hotel is about 10 minutes' walk from the two main sights - the Papal Palace and the Pont St-Bénézet - and just across the road from the tourist information office.

Transport: the hotel is about two minutes' walk from Avignon Centre railway station, the arrival point of Eurostar trains from London Waterloo, every Saturday from 10 July to 11 September this summer. The bus stop for shuttle services to the TGV station, on the edge of town (€2.10, or £1.50, by bus, or around €15, or £10, by taxi) is nearby.

Time from international airport: Nîmes airport, with Ryanair flights from Stansted, is about 30 minutes away by road or rail. Marseilles is better appointed but access is tougher; a bus every half-hour to Aix-en-Provence, from which you can connect by bus or train.

COMFORTABLE?

The hotel's 80 rooms are spread across the two different parts of the building. In the new wing, they're a minimalist haven of black leather, white tiles and glass panels, with balconies overlooking the garden; in the rest of the building, they have the same style as those in the modern wing, but without the balconies and with stripped-back stonework. However, the variety of the available space means that they all have quite a different feel. Take a look at a few to decide which you like best (don't go by the pictures on the website, which give the rooms a much softer look than the stark blacks, whites and reds that actually dominate). Some of the suites can be a bit dark and, although the superior rooms have lovely high ceilings, the smaller standard doubles, tucked under the rafters with skylights above and windows to the side, are rather more enticing.

All the rooms have very James Bond-style bathrooms, with big, glamorous sheets of mirrored glass rather than tiles around the baths, and either shiny steel or sleek white sinks.

Freebies: a good, though rather bland, stash of own-brand toiletries, and a generous slice of the local nougat.

Keeping in touch: facilities, like the decor, are pared down - rooms come only with phones and televisions.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Standard rooms start at €100 (£70), and suites from €220 (£150), single or double, without breakfast, although there are lots of special deals available during the winter season.

I'm not paying that: you could try the posh B&B La Banasterie (00 33 432 763078). Run by two ex-Parisians who "practise the art of living", it has oodles of charm, and doubles from €90 (£60), including breakfast.

Still too much? The Hotel Acacia in nearby Le Pontet (00 33 490 033535) has imaginative, if slightly Ikea-ish, en-suite rooms from €55 (£40).

RHIANNON BATTEN

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering