I was a first time traveller to France. I had taken the train from Paris to Arles and was so excited for my few days exploring the Camargue. Upon arriving into Arles, on a Sunday, there were no taxi's to be found. If one could see me - I was walking around with a large suitcase, purse and handbag walking through the town trying to find a taxi. Speaking very little french, I walked into a hotel and asked (in very broken French) if they could order me a taxi. He told me I had to walk back to the train station. So off I went. 30 minutes later, soaking wet from sweat and feeling defeated I found a taxi. He agreed to take me the 40 minute drive to L'Aubere Cavaliere Du Pont Des Bannes... the price... 92 Euros! Yup - $132 Canadian sheckels! Now - this is not on the hotel - I realize that - but it is important to note! Bring cash and expect a fairly hefty taxi ride. With the class of this hotel, I would have paid an added fee for the hotel to pick me up... honestly! With never being to France I did not realize how remote this hotel really was. When we arrived at the hotel - I was greated with 2 very Smiley faces! Helberth and Didian (I know I am spelling his name wrong). They both spoke English very well (and I was so relieved). Check in process was easy and smooth. When I had booked the hotel, I had asked to be booked for a horse back ride, spa date and dinner. They handled absolutely everything! I had the riding booked for 9am the next morning, dinner at their restaurant for 8pm that night and unfortunately had to cancel the spa day due to unforseen circumstances with their masseuse. Honestly, this worked out perfectly. After checking in, I took my large luggage and headed off to my cowboy cabin. Although it does not look exaclty like the pictures it was still very nice. I really cared about the view and that is what I got! My little decked backed onto where the horses ate and were kept. Once I checked in, I wanted to keep my cheese that I had bought from another town in the minifridge. This was one downfall - they do not want anything put in the minifridge. I ended up having to throw out the cheese that I had bought as it was not going to keep. From here, I headed to the pool and spent a good 3 hours just soaking up the sun, cooling off in the pool and enjoying some downtime. There was a drink menu that you could order from but no one ever came out to take orders. It was not until the next day, when I was asking for something from the front desk, that they said I could order a drink at the bar and have it by the pool. Dinner at Les Bannes was AMAZING!!!! The English here was not as strong as the front desk, and they were not as friendly, but I still received great service and an excellent meal. They sat me beside the pool, over looking the marsh lands. I ate dinner, watching the sun set and enjoying French Wine, breads and food that was absolutely worth every minute I spent there. I left there and went to bed full, happy and completely in engulfed in the experience.
Riding the horses was a bit different of experience. It is definitely what you would expect when signing up for a horse tour. Well broke horses, single file line and uncomfortable saddles. As I have ample riding experience, as a I was a show jumper and grew up around horses and in stables, I was able to keep my expectations low - but Ill be honest - those saddles for people who know how to ride are not comfortable. When I booked the tour I advised them that I was experience, was tall and wanted to have a larger horse. They did accommodate this and I LOVED riding the horse I had. The trainer and her helper were very friendly and you could tell were riders, which I appreciated. I wish, however, that the tour could have been broken up with experienced horse people and non-experienced horse people. Although the scenery and horses were beautiful, we were only able to canter for about 1 minute. Not even in the water like other videos or tours were doing. In terms of the care of these horses - they are very well cared for. When you drive along the road and see these different tour places, the horses are standing there for HOURS with tack on. The ladies did have the horses ready for when we were there, but the minute the tour was done, they were getting put away and back to having a life of a horse. The horses are well fed, watered and have their own stalls with their name on it. The girls working with the horses are very gentle and kind to them. This was so amazing to see.
My last day, I was to catch the train at 1pm. Not knowing that a cab back to the train station would be difficult to get (as the cabs are only about a 5 min drive from the hotel) I did not request one till about 1130. Little did I know, the cab drivers would not drive to the train station! With the help of the front desk staff, and 7minutes to go, she drove me to the bus station to catch a bus. I was on my way back to Arles for my train. The staff here are amazing - honestly - I felt very well taken care of and although I tried to speak French, they were very understanding. The hotel is quiet, peaceful and offers something for the soul. Whether it was in the cooking at Les Bannes, the cool water, sun or sound of all the wildlife. This hotel was unique and made my experience in the Camargue very special.
If you love nature you’ll be blown away by a stay in one of these little thatched houses amongst the reed beds and pools. Birds and dragonflies everywhere. Ride one of their white Camargue horses on the beach and trek past lakes with literally hundreds of wild flamingoes. The breakfasts are superb, so fresh and with so much choice. The restaurant is class, but not cheap. The coastal town of Saintes Maries has an amazing market and lots of lovely little shops and restaurants and is only a ten minute drive. Car would be desirable. Definitely would stay again.
Ok- the place is very pictoresque and we liked it a lot but it is certainly not a 4 star hotel. The services are insufficient and you have to pay for everything.the pools were falling to pieces, the pool table has to be paid for, the bed is super uncomfortable and for the 2 nights we stayed there nobody cleaned the ashtray used by the previous guests( we don't smoke). It has to be renewed and the price list lowered because it is not worth the money.
This should not be a 4 star hotel. During my stay of 3 days, I was not able to connect to the wifi once. When I approached the staff with this concern, they brushed it off completely instead of finding a solution. This is great for those trying to limit and restrict their wifi access for calm holiday. However for those who need the internet for other purposes (work!) this is something that needs to be considered.
On first impression, the hotel is very spacious and cozy. There are 2 pools and it's a very beautiful set up. For those who love horses, this is definitely the place; although the horse-ride was not 5/5 either. The food at the hotel is over priced and the service is poor. The sink in the room was not installed which meant the water leaked from the pipes and flooded the floor. The shower does not have a curtain, nor is there a drain on the floor. Again, at first impression the room is splendid. But after some time, one rapidly notices the quick fixes and lazy construction.
The setting was fabulous, the room and especially the bathroom with a superb view over the Camargue. Fantastic. the room upstairs for the children was rather cute but had a very low ceiling. Even the kids kept on banging their heads as they stood up. I feel sorry for the cleaner! The pool -nothing to complain about. the receptionist who checked us in was friendly and correct enough but condescending. We didn't really feel welcomed. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we entered the reception area with shorts, T-shirt and flipflops (it was 30C hot). Apparently a no-go according to the hotel manual-as we later discovered. As paying guests I certainly did not feel like we were treated like "kings". This is also the reason why we decided not to go for breakfast there (at 20 Euros a head). We had our breakfast close to the harbour where we paid a fraction of the price of the hotel and the service was really friendly . WIFI is free but did not work.
The riding stables next door looked nice enough. However if you do not book days in advance it was difficult to get a space-even as a hotel guest. It's 45Euros for a 2 hours hack. Luckily we found another place to go which I can highly recommend. "la Cabane du Daladel" 2 hours hack , also through water for 35 Euros a head.
for the actual hotel and setting it's a definite 5 points. -1 point for the service