Jules César, Five Star in Arles, Provence ©Solange Hando
Recently renovated by top French designer Christian Lacroix, the Jules César, now upgraded to five star, is a stunning, often surprising venue, where local traditions and Baroque flourishes mingle with bright contemporary colours.
The name pays tribute to the rich Roman heritage which alongside the Romanesque monuments, has earned the city a place on the UNESCO list. The hotel is conveniently situated close to all main attractions and has ample parking space.
Striking Décor at Jules César ©Solange Hando
Individually decorated guest rooms range from classic, superior and deluxe to junior suites in Provençal, Lacroix, and in this former convent, monastic styles.
All are spacious, offering complimentary WiFi, hospitality tray with Nespresso machine and turn down service. Bathrooms are also spacious with power shower and Occitane toiletries.
Heated Pool at Jules César ©Solange Hando
Facilities include a secluded outdoor pool and two off-site spas, the vaulted Calendal near the amphitheatre, for Floramé aromatherapy and more, and Moana for Polynesian and other rituals.
The concierge can arrange travel and baby sitting but most of all, guests will appreciate the warm welcome and service with a smile throughout the hotel.
Scallops on Avocado Cream of Green Tea ©Solange Hando
Dinner is served in the gourmet Lou Marquès restaurant (or on the terrace in summer) where the décor combines bright chairs and wood panelling with black friezes reminiscent of the city's bull fighting tradition.
The menu is definitely haute cuisine and whether you opt for deer morsels or sole with crispy oyster and red quinoa, it is to be savoured at a leisurely pace. Wine and food pairing is available for 35 euros.
Breakfast is in a rustic kitchen with glass roof and decorative indoor shutters while the brightly-coloured bar serves afternoon tea and pre-dinner drinks with tapas.
Jules César Luxury Hotel in Former Convent, Arles ©Solange Hando
But luxury aside, the Jules César top assets are the small but quiet grounds so close to the town centre. Walk around the cloister or relax under the trees in the adjoining garden and you are in a true oasis of peace where little disturbs the silence but birds twittering in the trees.