Its location is something of a mixed blessing: it sits on the bank of the Rhone, with many of the rooms enjoying views across the river to Avignon. There are also a busy road to the front and a freight train line to the rear. The impressive quadruple glazing means that noise is barely a problem – just be aware.
The Cub’s interior design is simple and striking, making use of distinct, bold shapes. Bedrooms, reached down narrow corridors, are in one of four bright colours: red, blue, green or orange. They aren’t among the largest city bedrooms we see, and the shower rooms are small, but you won’t feel claustrophobic. We enjoyed the red room on the third floor, with its private balcony and view of the river. Stained glass windows cast patches of coloured light over the stairs (there is no lift) and the effective air conditioning makes the hotel a cool, pleasant place to be after a hot, dusty day wandering around pretty Villeneuve-les-Avignon. Owner Olivier, who speaks excellent English, is helpful and pleasant, happy to organize taxis or recommend eateries and outings. He has been here for a few years, and has always worked in hotels, including the Metropole in London. This may explain the welcome sight of real English Breakfast tea at the breakfast buffet. This is served on the top floor terrace, with panoramic views across the Rhône valley.
With such reasonable prices and so close to both Villneuve-les-Avignon and Avignon itself (a 15-minute walk over the bridge), this is a reliable address for those on a budget. It’s possible that younger guests will feel most at home, although there was a mix of ages on our visit. Make sure you take a river-facing room – if you can’t get one, consider other options.