On the square, a hundred-year-old Paulownia. This tall, single tree insulates Le Cloître and casts its kind shade over groups of friends gathered at tables underneath. Inside, the air is soft, cool, calm. We are struck by its geometry. We slide down its corridors as if on skates. We can hear the local school in the distance. Everywhere the city is bustling, but then the uproar fades when it reaches the stones. The design and colors breathe new life into this space. Should we have a reading break or a coffee break, or should we have a drink on the rooftop instead? At Le Cloître, unwinding is organized. Comfort is designed to inspire. The library is made for escape. The fluidity of service is conceived for well-being. This time of calm ends in moments of sharing, in revelations. It soon becomes a necessity to stay at this hotel without stars.
Here, everything retains color. The old stones and the limewashed walls. The blue of the towels, the blue of the walls. In the city center the air is soft and quiet. Solitary echo of a schoolyard. Bell ringing. Crows on a branch and laughters on the terrace. A bird’s "tweet, tweet" entering the room. In the shade of the giant Paulownia, one enjoys an afternoon drink. Resting seated or lying on the sofa.
Here, old stones blend with contemporary design. The rooms were designed by India Mahdavi. Her special touch is everywhere; she mixes contemporary designer furniture, ancients stones, and subtle patches of colors that flirt with the 70s.
Dinner can be enjoyed on the terrace at L'Épicerie du Cloître. Sardines are served from a jar. Bread, butter, some oysters, a plate of vegetables, some pesto, and a glass of rosé. A nightcap of sake before sleep. The night is spinning.
Gently, the doors begin to murmur. Reposed bodies go down the halls. Descent down the terracotta floor tiles. Breakfast is outside, in the sun or in the cool air of the hotel, where one may be tempted to match the orange juice with the green linen of the curtains. Where to start the day, in an Emmanuelle Wicker armchair, a velvet-covered bench, or a Scandinavian chair? The tea is cooling down... Behind the yellow bench, a blue-lagoon wall shoots up from the entrance, up to the floor above it. Travelers enter and leave the aura of Le Cloître. A suitcase, a letter in the mail, an astonished tourist. Life begins again. It is morning.
She infuses this place with well-being and delight, like she does everywhere else. Designer India Mahdavi uses a palette of local colors that are both fresh and deep to illuminate Le Cloître and L'Épicerie du Cloître. She brings a very personal touch to the place, rich with eight centuries of history, to the spirit of Arles, and to the Camargue region and its unique temperament.
She shows the greatest respect for the building's history, the successive styles of architecture ever since the Middle Ages. She chose raw materials for claddings, used custom-designed furniture and in here expressive and singular way, gave Le Cloître a unique, magical dimension.