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Who are we ?

Share our life

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Prepare to live an experience rich in sensations, surprises, surprises.

Your room is unique! Maybe you want to know why?

Here is our story to make you understand how much we will be happy to receive you!
 
Cécile et Stéphane RIVES
1-Who are we?

1-1-We are a couple 

Cécile : Stéphane and I met in high school. We had about fifteen years. We are very complementary in both our characters and our objectives. I like to know people, I like to travel and discover other ways of living to enrich mine. During our holidays, we worked at the Hotel des Lices in Saint Tropez, which Stéphane's uncle and aunt have been developing for 30 years. We have learned to welcome our customers, to be attentive to every detail of their comfort, to listen and anticipate their needs and expectations.

Stéphane : I am passionate about the vine, its exploitation, its products. My grandparents and parents passed on to me the love of this meticulous work of patience. I am also skilled in my hands and I like to build: in my youth I led construction sites where I learned about the building trades. When I start a construction site, I want the result to be perfect and it's true, I'm demanding, a lot with myself and quite a lot with my workers.

1-2-We are a family

Stéphane : We are attached to our family. We do not separate professional life and private life. Louis, our eldest born in 2001, and Edouard, born in 2002 were interested very young in the progress of the building sites and they get involved more and more as they grow up. The opinions of Mathilde, born in 2006 and Adèle, born in 2007 are valuable on the evolution of our decorations and the experience we offer our customers.

Cécile : The organization of my work always takes into account the needs of children. Our clients are sometimes welcomed by Colomban, born in 2010, who finishes his homework and offers them a smile of relief. We encourage our children to live their lives and make their choices, as we did ours: the hotel business is our passion. Louis succeeds in the ski field and is studying near Albertville to stay in the Hope pole of French alpine skiing. His success gives him the opportunity to travel around the world for his training or competitions. He sees the hotel business from a customer point of view and that gives us ideas to position ourselves.
 
1-3-We live from and for our passion 
 
Cécile : Stéphane and I are first and foremost entrepreneurs. We like to build, to imagine the experience that we want to share with our customers, to realize every detail and to know at the end of their stay that our guests have found in our rooms and in our service the details and the care and the attention which pleased them.

Stéphane : The chain hotel that is becoming widespread offers an impersonal service, policed, standardized. We want to welcome our customers, we want to know them and take care of them according to the needs of each one. We love our guests and every detail of our rooms is designed so that they feel good with us, as with family. This is the luxury we want to offer them.
2-What did we build?
 
2-1-Our buildings: enlarge the space, shorten the time

Stéphane : In 2000, a hotel of the 60s is on sale at the foot of the City of Carcassonne. The building is without any stamp and in bad condition. Cecile and I are not 28 years old and we decide to buy it and turn it into a 4-star hotel.

Cécile : the beginnings are dantesque: we reconfigure spaces to welcome our customers and offer them an experience between tradition and modernity with the imposing citadel of the Middle Ages. Stéphane brings us an apartment in the basement of the hotel where we work 24 hours a day, alternately receptionists, cleaning agents, night guards, cocktail servers, construction workers, decorators and always hosts.

Stéphane : it takes us 10 years to build the Hotel du Château, 4 stars with a view on the
Quoted and offer in its former Annexe, located at 100m, the Montmorency hotel with 3 stars services.

Cécile : The Hotel du Château welcomes our guests in a refined style, "French style" with many references to medieval times: coffered ceilings, wall fabrics, country stone, wrought iron. The luxury lies in the choice of noble materials and in the detail of the work carried out in the rules of the art.

Stéphane : In 2010, we acquired the hotel de l'Octroi, still in Carcassonne at the foot of the city. It has not changed owners for 70 years and has 17 2-star rooms that are in good condition but correspond to a clientele of another time. As we did at the Hotel du Chateau we are planning to modernize the whole, little by little.

Cécile : And there, suddenly, everything accelerates, in less than 4 months, 4 terraced houses of the Hotel de l'Octroi are put on sale. This is an opportunity that we must seize to propose dynamic spaces open on a garden, a swimming pool, a big terrace. We will offer our guests a happy and light stay at the foot of the massive Cité de Carcassonne.

Stéphane : Demolish, build space, light, air, conviviality open both on the City and on the big avenue that crosses Carcassonne. We take big financial risks because the investments far exceed our initial forecast but it is also a new concept that we create in Carcassonne: a fun hotel, with a simple design decoration, one that gives lots of ideas to move in at home.

Cécile : In the same period as the construction of the Hôtel de l'Octroi unfolds, new opportunity: two adjoining houses of the Montmorency hotel (former annex of the Hotel du Château) are for sale. Here again, it is the chance to boost our offer.

Stéphane : Again, we take the maximum risk, financial but also human. For the first time, I have to go to external companies to carry out so many parallel projects in the shortest possible time. The role of Site Manager costs me a lot of energy and moves me away from the terrain I love. It's hard.

Cécile : We decide to innovate again, at the Montmorency hotel, in the decoration,
by offering a contemporary high-end design, very colorful, with high quality materials.
2-2-Our service: versatility and diversification
 
Cécile : We have recruited to form a team that is, in all areas of the hotel industry, listening to our customers and their needs. We are about 30 people who take care of the maintenance and the reception in the three hotels. It is important for everyone to be extremely versatile and completely available.

Stéphane : The satisfaction of our customers is paramount. Everyone must be able, at all times, to respond to the expectation that is expressed and find the solution that will restore its serenity to the one we welcome. Everyone has to be attentive, very patient and know how to anticipate the demand before it even expresses itself.

Cécile : our job is very demanding and requires a lot of self-forgetfulness. Our first team trains us with people of our age, passionate. But the aspirations of each evolve and we must constantly renew this team because the good will wears out quickly and the motivation is lost.

Stéphane : In 20 years, the needs of our customers have evolved. Offering them a warm welcome and a room where comfort and refinement of materials add to the luxury of personalized service available at any time, this is no longer sufficient.

Stéphane : in 2011, in Carcassonne, there is no spa. We install in the basement of the Hotel du Château all the necessary equipment to offer our guests the luxury of solitude in a real center of care and aesthetics, where everything is dedicated to their relaxation and their well -be. The cabins are autonomous and we privatize the relaxation area (swimming pool, hammam) so that each customer is guaranteed to be there alone for thirty minutes before the care he has booked.

Cécile : We want continuity between the hotel and the spa and no subcontractor interferes with our relationship with our customers. Therefore, we are recruiting four masseuses to whom we offer a training in Paris, with CARITA, the reference brand in the field of care and aesthetics. We define a high-end care protocol and guarantee everyone the privatization of the relaxation area. In four years, we develop a loyal clientele that appreciates our care.
2-3-Our ethics: the respect of the customer, the right price
 
Stéphane : in almost 20 years, our customer relationship has been turned upside down. As of 2010, online booking platforms have introduced a key intermediary in the direct contact that we had with the client. The algorithm saves the customer time in his search for the corresponding offer (price comparison, comfort, location, services). But we hoteliers, we do not know any more to which criteria of choice our offer answers. We do not know what the customer expects of us because, when booking, we could not discuss it.

Cécile : we start working in the fog. The crisis, after 2008, aggravates the situation by upsetting the price policy of the sector. Many of our colleagues are lowering their prices, to the limit of profitability, to fill their rooms. Booking platforms aggravate this spiral of unrestrained competition, especially as they make hoteliers pay for their referencing in a good place: sometimes they have to pay back 50% of the price of a room, which further reduces margins, which have been greatly reduced by lower prices.

Stéphane : the disconnect with our customers is almost total. There is a mismatch between their expectations of room and service quality and our investment and staff costs. We are considering firing staff.

Stéphane : And there is worse than the price war that encourage booking platforms. There are reviews online. The screen of the smartphone becomes the défouloir a posteriori of disappointments which our customers did not speak to us, because the human relation is supplanted by the digital communication. When we discover these opinions, excessive, raw, offensive because they show the indifference of our customers to the attentions that we lavished on them, then, we lose faith in our daily action, we lose sleep and especially, we do not we know what to do to progress. Fortunately, these negative opinions are few. But they demotivate the staff and sharpen the desire for change and departure.

Cécile : At that moment, we realize that we will forget what we believe in: reception, availability, listening, attentive care so that our client feels at home. This luxury of time and attention devoted to our customer, we can only keep it by maintaining our prices. We take the risk.

Stéphane : Little by little, the use of online booking platforms is being regulated. Customers are becoming more aware of their expectations and the value of our offer. We learn to take a step back on online reviews, to find encouragement and suggestions for progress. We also take a step back from Carcassonne, these spaces that we built to welcome and who now imprison us. We must change, undertake, elsewhere ...
3- What are our projects?
 
3-1-Restart

Cecile : We are refocusing on our family. Our children are growing up and we do not see them. Stéphane and I meet each other, we who loved to work together. We must find ourselves, recover our values, what we believe in.

Stéphane : We need stones, old stones anchored in time and that have gone through storms. Those of the Hotel des Remparts, nestled in the old town of Aigues Mortes from where the Crusades left. We will make them live so that they welcome in their solidity families in search of holidays, warmth and sun.

3-2-Innovate

Cécile : Our customers in Carcassonne are busy customers. They stop for one night, at the end of the highway, after having visited the City at a running pace and leave in the morning anxious at the idea of ​​the road closures that surround them, south towards Spain, north towards the dreaded Rhone valley. These are clients who resist our efforts to help them relax and give up their stress. It takes time for that and they do not have one.

Stéphane : Aigues-Mortes is a place to stay, a holiday area. The village is touristy but conducive to a relaxing stay. The mythical expanses of the Camargue, the traditions of the manades, the beaches, far enough away from Montpellier the Dynamique, so that everyone finds his place and the children frolic. Our guests will want to stay, to know the local customs, to know how "people here" live, to share a boat trip, a musical evening on the terrace.
3-3-Progress
 
Cécile : At the Hotel des Remparts, the welcome begins on the vast terrace where you take the time to sip a cocktail. Stéphane and our boys have secret recipes. When you get inside, in the vast living rooms of the ground floor where the light is sifted through the narrow windows, you find the freshness, so luxurious in a very hot area. The indoor pool promises an intimate and enjoyable diversion, out of sight and the sun's fiery rays.

Stéphane : we have preserved as much as possible the architectural elements that mark the history of a building that was barracks, gendarmerie, prison. A beautiful staircase leads to spacious suites, equipped with all modern comforts where old stone, cut, polished, sanded, waxed is the thread of the sober and refined decoration.

Cécile : we are working on a new concept of balance. It is carried by the charm of the stone that has crossed the ages and gives all our rooms serenity and strength.
The hotel des Remparts will be the 4 stars of Aigues Mortes where we can relax, and simply find the pleasure of tasting the time that passes, with family, with customers, friends we take pleasure to welcome, to to wait and find again, in the joyous heat of a summer evening, autumn, winter, spring ...

Stéphane : It's true, it's the sweet dream we imagined when we invested in 2016. The reality is harder than the stones: History has marked the building, we have to deal with the constraints imposed by its almost millennial structures. The renovation project is changed into a reconstruction site and reconstruction site. My workers and I fight like Titans against the outrages of Time ... and also against the clock!
 
Cécile : our first customers had to discover their family suites at the end of 2017.
Stéphane goes from technical setbacks to human mishaps. The craftsmen but especially the autoentrepreneurs come on the dotted site, according to their desires, without any consideration for our budgetary imperatives.

Stéphane : I'm here at 6 o'clock in the morning, I prepare the materials so everything is operational when the workers arrive ... if they come. And during their breaks, I go forward, I finish, I fignole, I foresee the continuation, so that the time is not too wasted. I finish late at night the work that can be done without noise to have the impression to advance.

Cécile : summer 2017, we open the bar and the terrace. Even if the work is far from finished, it is a success. This short summer season encourages us but we are still in the dust. The season is only on the terrace. Our smile is in front!

Stéphane : late spring 2018, after 19 months of work, finally we are ready. It was the time it took for the old garrison to revive and prepare to gently welcome our first customers. It was the time we needed to learn to live differently, again with family, with our customers!
3-4-Our life today
We now share our time between Carcassonne where we continue to operate our 3 establishments and Aigues-Mortes where we have taken up residence.
Three of our children are now attending school in Montpellier while our eldest daughter is in a school near Lyon. Our eldest son is still evolving in the Alps in the hope pole of Ski-Alpin.

We do not know yet what will be the continuation of our life, but one thing is sure, the desire to create atmospheres and to invent hotels is always more than ever in us!

It is therefore a HISTORY to follow ...
Fantastic welcome-lovely hotel, but GREAT staff!
Just inside the walls of Aigues-Mortes, this recently opened hotel is a stunning conversion of a historic building with minimalist décor, beautifully designed and appointed rooms and spacious bar/reception with external seating. Everything is well thought out, and décor and fittings are of high quality; White Company toiletries, roll-top bath in room, and extremely comfortable bed, with attentive turn-down service. However, the thing that marks out this hotel is the STAFF - having checked in and out of lots of hotels, I can honestly say that this is the best welcome I have received anywhere, from initial check-in, to returning a lost item, and assistance in booking a restaurant on a Friday night at short notice. Virginie not only ensured we had a table booked at a local bistrot, and served us a cocktail before we left the hotel, but personally took us round the corner to the (very good) restaurant she had reserved for us, and wished us a good evening. We were utterly impressed by her friendliness and professionalism, and will be writing to the hotel to say so. Aigues-Mortes is lovely, but we would come back here again just to stay in the Hotel des Remperts - it is relaxing and exceptional.
hw46 Angleterre, Royaume-Uni -Tripadvisor-
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