Hotel Particulier

Arles, Provence, France Book from Eur289

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Lovely rooms and suites in a graceful house with a stunning garden in the middle of Arles, the cultural and historic heart of Provence
This 18th-century house overflows with elegance and style. Enter through the garden, where a pebble-dashed terrace lies under lemon trees dripping with fruit. On one side, candle lanterns flank a thin strip of pool; on the other, smart cushioned loungers are covered in white towels. It's a great little refuge. Urns of sculpted box hedge stand on pillars of stone, flowerbeds run along mellow walls and hold colour all year round.

Approach the house - it was built for the Baron de Chartrouse - and smartly dressed tables and cast iron chairs mingle under the generous shade of a pine tree. Inside you’ll find a chic reception room with white panelled walls and 18th-century antiques, a salon with Barcelona chairs for the morning papers, and a small but cool spa in the vaulted cellar for massage, sauna or hammam. Magnificent rooms and suites are split between the main house and the old stables. Step out the side gate and you dive into wonderful Arles. Brilliant.

Highs

  • The charming garden with its clothed tables, elegant loungers, bulging lemon trees and refreshing pool
  • The chic rooms with their oversized artwork, antique dressers and crisp white linen
  • An oasis in the heart of of Arles; wonderfully peaceful yet an easy walk to most of the town's attractions and restaurants
  • Thoughtful and attentive service

Lows

  • The pool is thin - fine for a quick cool-off, but not for channel swimmers
  • There's no on-site restaurant any more, but snacks are available through the day
  • The sauna and hammam cost extra

Best time to go

Low-season prices are good value. May is always a good month to travel; great weather, good bargains, not too many tourists. Bull fights and ferias are held at Easter and in the second weekend of September.

Our top tips

Bring a pair of binoculars so you can go birding in the Camargue - there are over 400 species, including flamingo, egret and heron.

Great for...

City Style
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 16
  • Breakfast and room service only
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Bedrooms are split between the main house and the old stables and outbuildings. The former boast high ceilings, airy white interiors and understated 18th-century grandeur.

Suites are large (some are utterly enormous) with magnificent white drapes tumbling from the ceiling past French windows. One opens onto a private terrace that rolls out to the swimming pool. Inside you might find enormous four-poster draped in raw white linen, a marble fireplace, golden French armchairs and perhaps a matching sofa. Prestige Rooms are slightly smaller, but also charming. You might get top-to-toe murals and ivory and gilt tub armchairs, or polished wood floors alongside ancient radiators; big windows give garden views.

The old stable rooms are slightly less formal and decorated in a slightly more rustic style. The one on the ground floor gets less light, but compensation comes in the form of a draped four-poster, a fireplace that works and a private terrace outside the front door. The 2 others are up a flight of lantern-lit stone steps. A big terrace, divided by huge Provençale drapes, gives both parties privacy. There are sofas and shade, then doors into serene rooms: wood ceilings open to the eaves, smartly varnished timber floors, exposed lintels.

Smooth-sliding bathroom doors open to reveal huge mirrors, cool porcelain sinks, plaster-moulded walk-in showers and fluffy white bathrobes. Whitewashed walls draw colour from rose bedspreads, blue shutters and French grey candles. The sound of bubbling water floats up from the garden - very peaceful.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee tea making
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is served between 8am and 10.30am (additional charge). In summer you eat on the terrace, in winter you take to the dining room. Expect freshly-made tea or coffee, freshly-squeezed orange juice and freshly-baked baguette, croissants and pains au chocolat. Boiled eggs or omelettes are also available.

There's no on-site restaurant, but the bar can provide light meals and snacks throughout the day.

Arles is full of great restaurants and staff will happily advise and book tables. Cilantro on the far side of the amphitheatre was excellent, very interesting flavours with a contemporary slant. Le Charcuterie, offers great French food in a simple room; Monsieur handles his guests with an easy smile and always has time for a chat. L’Autruche, is very imaginative and has no fixed menu; whatever is good at market in the morning is bought and cooked for your plate in the evening. If you want simple bistro food you will find it all over town.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Light meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The amphitheatre, 1600 years old, utterly mesmerising. Bull fights and ferias are held at Easter and in the second weekend of September
  • The ruins of the Roman theatre (which is also in the midst of partial restoration). There's a small charge to enter for a wander, but in summer they have an extensive programme of performances: old and new, music, dance, theatre, the lot
  • The church of Sainte Trophime in Place de la République is worth a visit for its carved stone door and its extremely pretty cloisters, both of which date from the 12th century
  • Arles is the last town of any size through which the Rhône flows. You can walk along it, in the town or in the country, or take cruises on it
  • The market takes place on Wednesday and Saturday mornings
  • Arles loves music and all sorts of sounds can be heard throughout the year. The weekend we visited (the last in October) the yearly harp festival was being held and occasionally we were serenaded by blissful music. Come in July for Les Sud, a festival of music from Palestine, Romania, Algeria and Ethiopia, to name but a few
  • A couple of good walking tours are available: a general tour and a Van Gogh tour. Van Gogh painted here for the two years before he was carted off to St Remy. He lived in two houses, both sadly destroyed in WWII
  • Head 25km south into the Camargue for miles of wide sandy beaches, good cycle routes and pretty walled towns
  • There is an excellent 18-hole golf course at Servanes at the foot of the Alpilles, and the hotel arranges 1- and 2-night golf packages

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being

Kids

Children are welcome although there is no special kids menu. Extra beds are available to add into the parents' room.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

There is a duplex Family Suite which sleeps up to 4 people plus a baby.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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