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

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
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

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luton – £25k

    25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?