Travel review: The Atlantic Hotel in Jersey
Now more than ever, the secret to successful travel is precision, pre-planning, and confidence the trip is worth the additional attention to detail required.
You need to be fully aware of the necessary form-filling and testing and any restrictions you may incur.
I had total confidence in my chosen destination of Jersey and my experiences from start-to-finish were nothing less than exceptional.
Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands and only 14 miles from mainland France and 100 miles from mainland Britain, hadn't been on my radar as a must-go-to destination - and now I've been I really feel I've been missing out for years.
Jersey is the most southerly island in the British Isles and, as you would imagine, has a strong French influence yet is also very characteristically British.
We travelled from Leeds-Bradford airport with a flight-time to Jersey of around 56 minutes.
It was the first time I'd been on a flight this year and when I travelled last month we needed a PCR test on arrival at the airport, which was free and actioned by a super-friendly team who couldn't have given a warmer welcome to the island.
And that pride continued as the taxi driver spoke of the beautiful beaches and then we were greeted at The Atlantic Hotel, on the West Coast of Jersey, by the amazing Anna at the home that was to be ours for four nights.
We needed to isolate until our Covid test returned, which we were told would be communicated by text and email within 12 hours. We received our negative results within seven hours.
And it really was no hardship relaxing and enjoying a drink in our Garden Studio. The deluxe ground-floor room with king size bed and plenty of seating space inside and out also had a spacious en-suite bathroom with twin basins and a super selection of Molton Brown toiletries. The private terrace led you onto the hotel gardens and swimming pool. Seriously, I could have been in any top Mediterranean hotel.
The Atlantic, owned by the Burke family, has recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and over these years has secured a clutch of accolades and awards. A particularly important endorsement is its status as the only Jersey member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The hotel is right to be proud of this title as it is afforded to an exclusive collection of 500 properties in about 70 countries deemed to be the very best independent hotels around the world, selected for 'style and sophistication'.
The Atlantic also rightly prides itself on its fabulous food - British dining featuring Jersey produce often with a French flavour. The person behind the incredible menus is Executive Chef Will Holland who has been predicted to be 'one of the 10 most influential chefs of the next decade' by The Good Food Guide.
Our first experience was breakfast in the Ocean restaurant, which has four AA red stars and four AA rosette as well as views over the five-mile golden stretch of St Ouen’s Bay and the Jersey National Park . A beautiful morning meant we could eat on the terrace overlooking the stunning pool view, gardens and a golf course.
Every one of our dining experiences in Ocean restaurant was boosted by the impeccable service from the amazing team - they demonstrated the perfect combination of being professional yet personable, informative and fun which made every visit a delight.
And when I remember breakfast, the first thing that springs to mind is THE best scrambled eggs I've ever tasted - light, fluffy, creamy and piping hot. Which is why I had them every morning even though the breakfast menu boasted other favourites such as Eggs Benedict and pancakes with maple syrup.
I also appreciated every mouthful of the Jersey yoghurt, which I enjoyed with the aforementioned maple syrup.
There is more than enough to keep visitors busy in Jersey for many days. My plus one and I were quite clear about how we wanted to fill our three full days, which was lengthy walks taking in the scenery and atmosphere as it was obvious from day one we would be returning to do anything we may miss.
Jersey boasts the most sunshine hours in Britain, which I experienced as the weather was glorious during our visit.
So, day one we walked 35 minutes from the hotel to Corbiere taking in lovely features such as La Table des Marthes, which is of historical importance as it is believed to have been used as a location for signing legal contracts. And then we stumbled across Corbiere Phare Restaurant & Bar which lured us in for a drink to absorb the most stunning views of Corbiere Lighthouse, a major highlight of the Atlantic Ocean panoramic view.
We then took a beach walk and were tempted by Le Braye bar and restaurant where it would have been rude not to try Jersey Branchage Cider. It was just what the doctor ordered as we enjoyed the sun on our back and the sounds of the sea.
We had dinner reservations in Ocean restaurant and we wanted to savour every minute so we headed back home to The Atlantic so we could enjoy a cocktail in the bar while we took in every detail of the exquisite menu.
And we had hit it lucky by dining in the restaurant on #wellywednesday so our main course choices were sorted and we definitely made the right decision.
Melt-in-the-mouth Beef Wellington was indeed deserving of its own hashtag as it was divine, served with perfect portions of creamed potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms and red wine jus.
A starter of ham hock and smoked chicken ravioli with pea purée and summer vegetables had already set the bar high with the light and fragrant pasta hiding the heavenly ham hock.
And the warmed bread with butter flavoured with seaweed foraged by the chef, was so moorish I moved it out of sight so I couldn't be tempted to eat it all in one go.
I'm also now hooked on Jersey Black Butter.
You know when you bring home a local delicacy and it just doesn’t taste the same.....believe me, I think I need a monthly delivery of Jersey Black Butter. Ingredients include some of my favourite things.... cider, liquorice, cinnamon and mixed spices.
Anything with Jersey in the title of a dish had my vote so dessert of Jersey strawberry assiette was my choice featuring strawberry meringue and sorbet with vanilla panna cotta.
The whole experience was simply impeccable.
Not wanting the evening to end, we took a stroll around the poolside, breathing in the scent of rosemary, and walked around part of the 10 acres of beautiful hotel grounds, which are so well manicured by a team who we saw maintaining the gardens every day throughout our stay.
We'd got into a really good habit of going to the hotel's Palm Club before breakfast to use the mini-gym, spa and swimming pool. You could book 45-minute slots, which was an ideal start to the day.
We'd also booked massages in the Pop-up Summer Spa in a secluded corner of The Atlantic’s grounds with a view over the magnificent St Ouen's Bay - what could be more perfect than being pampered while feeling a warm breeze on your skin.
I'd selected to have a Muscle Melt described as a "...top-to-toe relaxation journey, incorporating scalp and body massage to unravel tension in sore and tight muscles..." It is said to be 'recommended for anyone suffering from chronic stress, pain or tension'.
Dawn, an extremely confident and experienced mobile therapist who works in hotels across the island, asked me if I had areas I'd like her to focus on and the pressure I'd like applying.
She really did hit every spot with her firm and focused approach and I was disappointed when it was all over. If I'd been staying any longer, I would have absolutely booked another session. And when I return to The Atlantic, because I definitely will, a treatment with Dawn will definitely be on my agenda.
I was well and truly set up for a day of walking and we set off to St Aubin’s Bay. Not much more than an hour's walk and we'd arrived at the harbour.
The fishing village has the most stunning sea views and we walked along the promenade, which is home to many bars, cafes and restaurants. On a mission to try as much Jersey produce as possible, next on our list was a pint of the island’s Liberation Ale.
We were totally taken by St Aubin and its proud heritage. We were amazed by the 18th century merchants’ houses lining the cobbled streets and magnificent current day properties - some under construction.
An early evening pasta meal in an Italian restaurant was a much welcomed carb treat before a nightcap in the hotel bar.
Our final spot of sightseeing the next day took us to postcard perfect St Brelades Bay featuring the island’s most popular beach. With crystal-clear, shallow blue waters and impressive palm trees there's no wonder it's a favourite of swimmers and water-sports enthusiasts.
If you're not a water baby, there's plenty to see including Winston Churchill Park and the historic Fisherman’s Chapel.
I'm a huge fan of an open-top bus so we took the chance to jump onboard for a quick trip to Jersey's capital, St Helier.
Museums, attractions, landmarks, busy city squares, seafaring history, art, culture and food - particularly seafood - are all reasons to visit.
The 16th century Elizabeth Castle is a must-see. You can get there by foot during low tide or via a 15-minute ferry ride. Liberation Square is the landmark in the city centre and I enjoyed a stroll around the marina and looked longingly at the luxury yachts. There is a shopping centre, numerous lovely restaurants and pubs and the circular city square has a large statue and fountain in its centre as a reminder of Jersey’s occupation during the Second World War as well as a celebration of its resilience.
Returning to The Atlantic after a day out was all part of the joy of being on holiday as we were greeted by members of the team who showed genuine interest in where we'd been, what we'd seen and we could enthusiastically share every detail of our day.
This made it all the more difficult to head back to the airport - Anna was the first person we met and the last person to wave us goodbye as we promised to return very soon.
I genuinely had no idea I was going to love Jersey as much as I did and it's remarkable how many people I know who feel the same and I just hadn't realised.
It was definitely a trip of memory making and there are plenty more to be made The Jersey Black Butter is fast running out, so a return trip is being planned to precision as we speak.