Formerly known as Les Printanières, the H Hotel was refurbished and rebranded in 2013. Despite its bland new name, it's a friendly, slightly quirky independent hotel, not part of an international chain.
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The H Hotel sits on a quiet suburban cul de sac on the edge of Hyères. While this seems like an unlikely location for a tourist hotel, it's very close to the train station. And, to get to the town centre you take a short cut down a back alley and through a little park, then stroll down one of Hyères' main boulevards, the palm-lined avenue Gambetta: it's about a 15 minute walk.
The H Hotel is also very close to the D98 main road, an extension of the motorway from Toulon. The beaches and Toulon-Hyères airport are a short taxi ride away.
The 48 bedrooms and suites are simple but well-designed, comfortable and, for the price, exceptionally spacious, with high quality, king size beds and bedding.
Our first-floor room had a balcony overlooking a pretty garden, pictured, (ground floor rooms have French doors), which is generously stocked with sunbeds, tables and chairs and planted with a wide range of trees and shrubs, including mimosa, olive trees, eucalyptus and the palm trees for which Hyères is famous.
This would be a lovely relaxing oasis to sit in - except for the constant hum of traffic, which is really the hotel's main downside. The bedrooms are well sound-insulated but it would probably be wise to avoid those closest to that busy D98 road.
H Hotel's big thing is that it's "eco-responsible", in its own words. Most hotels make token gestures towards recycling towels, using soap dispensers and so forth.
Here, a long list on the back of the bedroom door sets out the H Hotel's "eco-charter", from LED lighting to mattresses made in France (fewer mattress miles, you see) and "carpets that respect the environment". The one in the corridors has a rather strange, but not unattractive trompe l'oeil pebble pattern.
Perhaps this eco-responsibility is one reason why there's no mini-bar in the bedroom. A little Renault Twizy electric car, which you can hire, is stationed by the main entrance: perfect for buzzing out to the beaches.
One has the impression that the original hotel was designed for commercial travellers and conferences: it still offers four meeting rooms and has a slight "sales rep" feel about it.
But the H Hotel is well set up for tourists too, with lots of photos of the area in the lobby to inspire you, plus a billiard room! The helpful reception staff are a mine of information.
There's an efficient free wi-fi system and a small private off-street car-park - also free - in front of the hotel: arrive early in summer as there's not space for anything like 48 cars. You need a door code to get in at night.
We didn't have time to have dinner at the H Hotel, but its restaurant, called Un Coin de... , pictured at breakfast, is worth checking out.
A long refectory table is a nice idea for lone travellers who'd otherwise be dining alone. It's open to non-residents too, though it's difficult to imagine this tucked-away spot getting much passing trade.
But the menu looked surprisingly ambitious, with items such as homemade foie gras with apple jelly and pickled mushrooms, ravioli flavoured with truffles or tartare of sea bream Mahi-Mahi style. Not what you'd find at your everyday Holiday Inn.
The chef, Jérôme Laffont, previously worked at Le Pré Catalan in Paris and other top restaurants, and the maverick Provence-based restaurant guide Le Bouche à Oreille - which tests out-of-the-way restaurants which the Michelin Guide wouldn't go near - gave Un Coin de... a rave review in its winter 2014-15 issue. There's a small bar in the lobby.
On the other hand breakfast, for which there may be an extra charge, was a bit basic but adequate: decent coffee, which you make yourself at an espresso machine, and a good choice of teas, cornflakes (but no muesli), pastries and the other usual continental breakfast spread.
Processed cheeses such as Babybel and La Vache Qui Rit seemed out of place here, though, and the fruit juice was Tropicana, not fresh-pressed. You can breakfast in the garden in warm weather.
Visited April 2015
Where: H Hotel, 20 impasse Saint Joseph, 83400 Hyères. Book a room at the H Hotel in Hyères.
Photo credits (from top): © H Hotel (two images), SJ for Marvellous Provence.