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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
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

    Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    9 best steam generator irons

    9 best steam generator irons

    To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
    England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
    ‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

    ‘We knew he was something special’

    Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
    '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