Hôtel & Spa Jules César Arles – MGallery by Sofitel
What We Love
- Fabulously colorful interiors by Christian Lacroix
- The spa, with Cinq Mondes treatments and a relaxation room overlooking the hotel’s courtyard herb garden
- Outdoor pool with a top-notch snack bar in warmer months
What To Know
- Hotel Jules Cesar is on a busy boulevard but the guestrooms overlook quieter streets or gardens
- Free WiFi
- Arles has plenty of lively cafés and restaurants
- The spa is open only on Tuesdays throughout the summer
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Christian Lacroix was born in Arles, and he’s made his mark on the town with a flamboyant redesign of this former convent. The rulebook has flown out the Provençal window: There are clashing colors, oversize patterns and plenty of surprises. From carpets that look like stone tiles to wood paneled doors that are actually flat, trompe-l’oeil is everywhere; you’ll find yourself touching things to see whether they’re real or an illusion. The corridors are candy-pink, the walls in the stairwell are bright yellow, and the black and white bar area is dotted with mismatched, brightly colored Louis XVI chairs. The super-stylish exuberance of the hotel will leave you smiling.
Bed and Bath
Each of the 50 guestrooms is different. Colors, patterns and textures clash dramatically, there are Lacroix textile designs on the carpets and walls, and it’s all offset with traditional and contemporary furniture. The redder-than-red courtyard rooms are popular with matadors, who stay during the festivals at Arles’s Roman arena. All rooms have tea- and coffeemaking facilities, a dressing table, TV and free WiFi. The bathrooms are subtly toned down, with Cinq Monde products, white porcelain sinks and shiny silver fittings.
The breakfast room is all about cool tones; let blues, grays and whites wake you gently while you choose between delicate patisseries and a very good full English breakfast. The Lou Marqués gourmet restaurant combines traditional decor with heavy hints of Lacroix, a somber backdrop lifted by crisp white tablecloths and mismatched, mutlicolor chairs. Dishes come with a local accent; think creamy risotto made from rice grown in the Camargue. Leave room for the chef’s special dessert, crepe suzette with a soufflé filling. And make time for a divine Cinq Mondes treatment at the spa, which features a sauna, a hammam and a sunny relaxation room overlooking the courtyard garden.
In the Area
Arles has the typical Provençal narrow streets and houses with shabby-chic shutters, as well as ancient Roman buildings scattered throughout the town. The Roman arena hosts bullfights, which are traditional in this part of France. Twice a year the Feria sees the quiet streets come to life with festivities. Not your thing? Arles also has a busy cultural scene. Visit the Musée Réattu, the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh or, in July, the internationally renowned photography festival, Les Rencontres d’Arles. Arles is a gateway to the Camargue, marshlands that are home to wild white horses and pink flamingos; you can explore them on horseback or in a kayak.
How to Get There
This must be one of the worst hotels masquerading as 5 star we have ever had the displeasure of staying in.
We arrived- no one to greet us- had to ask to have our luggage taken to our room, did not seem to know we had reserved parking at an additional 20 euros.
Then we were shown to our Junior suite by Michael (very pleasant)What a shock and disappointment!
We checked in at 2pm (not late) to be told that this dark,miserable room next to the service stairs, stinking of smoke at the back of the hotel was the only room in the category available (and it turns out the only junior suite on the first floor). Having booked 4 months previously we expected far better. It is so far removed from the images on the website it is laughable.
Having made a lot of fuss we were offered a diffuser and air purifier and having said there was nothing the hotel management could do as they were full, we reluctantly demanded some compensation and eventually were offered a 30% discount on the 545 euros pre paid (excluding breakfast).
Regardless of these concessions, we would have to say- don’t be fooled by the website. Insist on a room above the first floor don’t stay in room 328 or better still find another place to stay.
I showed up without a hotel reservation in Arles. I did not know it was the International Photography Festival and all hotels except this 5 star hotel were booked. I was grateful for a room at the hotel, but since it was a busy time, the only room left was a small room on the first floor. The room was over priced, tiny and dark. I am sure that there are nicer rooms in this hotel, but I cannot speak for them. The customer service was great, especially the concierge, who went out of his way to help us out. If I return, I would not stay at this hotel, because of the price. Finally, the spa is an additional fee, which seems crazy in light of the exorbitant room rates (which, I think, were higher during this festival period).
We had a wonderful time at the hotel which met all our needs. The staff are charming and helpful, the breakfasts delicious, the atmosphere serene, the pool refreshing, the decor delightful, it really was a lovely place to stay. Arles is a fascinating place, unspoilt and friendly with a rich history.