This Is The (Island) Life! | The Atlantic Hotel Jersey, Le Mont de la Pulente, Saint Brelade, Jersey JE3 8HE
Jersey – the largest of the channel islands and one that holds happy memories of annual holidays as a child, right through to a teenager. I’ve been hankering after a trip back down memory lane for years. So Ade and I decided to celebrate my birthday weekend with a stay at the Atlantic Hotel – one of the most raved about hotels on the island, in fact it’s received several prestigious accolades including Best International Hotel and made it into Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Jersey is just a short flight over from Gatwick with EasyJet, a mere 35 minutes in the air, even shorter than our train journey into London from our home in Kent. Arrival at Jersey airport is super slick and easy, you literally walk into the car hire desk on the way out, none of the usual traipsing aimlessly wasting valuable holiday time.
Before we knew it we were driving along a beautiful coastal road to the Atlantic Hotel, just ten minutes from the airport. Ade asking me what I remember at each turn, absolutely nothing just yet. I guess the beautiful scenery isn’t high up on your list when you’re a kid.
The Atlantic hotel has a grand sweeping driveway with views across the golf course and out to sea. A beautiful wisteria-lined entrance greeted us, this was tranquil with a capital ‘T’.
As we stepped inside the lobby we could hear that incredibly relaxing sound of water trickling away in the background, no, not a flood but serene water features, fish included. The decor in the communal areas had an elegant simplicity, pale neutral colouring with classical (yet very comfy) furniture.
Our garden studio room was immaculately clean with fantastic views of yep, you guessed it, the garden. There was access to a little terrace which unfortunately wasn’t used due to the weather. The design and decor were a little dated, yet with modern touches such as Sky TV and luxury Molton Brown goodies in the bathroom. Upgrade to an Executive Suite if you’d like something a bit sleeker.
After a wander around the Atlantic Hotel’s immaculately kept grounds, we headed to the terrace by the pool for a late lunch. The sun was out and it was so beautifully peaceful, we longed for it to be a touch hotter so we could make use of the pool.
Alas, this wasn’t to be, so we settled for views out to sea instead, kicking back with a pot of tea for me and an Old Fashioned for him, followed by a couple of finger sandwiches.
As we admired the views, our waiter informed us the Atlantic Hotel is named so because it’s where the channel meets the Atlantic. Talking of waiters, every single one that we encountered on our stay were professional and effortlessly friendly too. In fact, everyone we met on the island were friendly, people just stop and talk to you, a refreshing change from London.
So, just as we were setting in and enjoying the sun beating down on us, the rain started. Of course it did, it always rains when we go away, whether it’s Brighton, France, Thailand or our wedding day in Puglia, it’s just what happens to us.
With brollies in tow, we headed out in our hire car to explore. We had Sat Nav but as everyone told us, you can’t get lost in Jersey so you don’t really need it. The island is 9 miles by 5 miles (119.5 km²) with a maximum speed limit of 40 mph, going down to just 20 mph on the green routes – they like to take it slow and easy over here.
My favourite places that I remember are now long gone – The Fantastic Tropical Gardens (see above). The Zoo is now the Durrell Wildlife Park, as seen in the ITV series – The Durrells and the Drive-in BBQ where I first encountered live lobsters and gypsy caravans is a distant memory. As a youngster, I thought this place was the best, why oh why did it have to go?
At least one of my favourite sights in the world – the serene and stunning Corbière lighthouse, was still standing, exactly as I recall it. Just around the corner from our hotel, this just had to be our first stop. In fact I was even able to seek out the exact same rock that I’d sit on as a teenager, sulking after being torn away from my holiday romance.
After our mini exploration it was back to the hotel for our traditional pre-dinner lay down – always dangerous as getting back up again is incredibly hard. At least we didn’t have to head far for dinner, we were booked in at the Michelin starred Ocean Restaurant in our hotel. A peaceful white tableclothed room, we were able to catch the sun setting over the ocean, on a warmer evening if would be nice to have eaten outside. Head here to read our full review.
With full happy bellies we enjoyed a great night’s sleep, nothing was going to wake us up, apart from an alarm set for breakfast, which was held back in Ocean Restaurant, at the same table we ate dinner at. Our full English was good (apart from the hard yolked poached eggs) but nothing compared the incredible meal we’d had the night before. But then we’d find it hard to top our favourite breakfast place – The Table Café on Southwark Street.
The next day was my birthday so we opted for an indulgent breakfast in bed – a whopping portion of fluffy pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. Not the most sensible of choices seeing as we were off to Mark Jordan on the Beach for lunch just a couple of hours later.
Jersey’s a funny old mix – passing Palm-tree lined beaches you can almost feel like you’re in France (which is just 14 miles away), then you turn a corner and spot a branch of Waitrose or M&S and it’s back to Blighty with a bang.
People keep calling it a foodie destination, we wouldn’t go quite that far. A lot of restaurants (and hotels) are stuck in a time-warp, you have to choose wisely (see our tips below). In a way it was nice not rushing around trying to tick off all the places on our endless lists of recommendations.
I saw the island not only through nostalgic eyes but fresh scenery-appreciating adult ones too. Sleepy fishing ports, glorious coastlines, winding country lanes passing fields full of the iconic Jersey cows and roadside stalls selling Jersey royals with just an honesty box for payment.
As for Ade, this was his first visit to Jersey and he fell in love too. He couldn’t have been happier clambering around the rocky coastline, it reminded him of his holidays in Cornwall with his Grandad. It’s the first time in months that I’ve seen him properly relax, just a shame there’s no spa within the Palm Club at the hotel, that would have been the icing on the cake.
The Hungry Man A Jersey institution (although I don’t recall ever visiting). A little hut on the picturesque Rozel Bay selling dirt-cheap burgers, bacon (and cheese) rolls and a proper mug of tea.
Bonne Nuit Beach Cafe We popped in here on route to the airport with the intention of just popping outside the car for a few minutes to take a picture or two. Before we knew it, we were inside this little beach cafe tucking into a Thai green curry.
The Jersey War Tunnels Ideal for rainy days or if you need to cool down if the weather is on your side – it’s pretty nippy in there and takes a couple of hours to get around. Fascinating and brilliantly done, a great insight into Jersey’s war history, just don’t forget to wrap up warm – as our waitress kept reminding us.
Devil’s Hole A natural crater in the solid cliff measuring about 100ft across and plunging 200ft down. Following a shipwreck in 1851, when’s a ship’s figurehead washed up in the Devil’s Hole, a statue of a devil adapted from the figurehead was set up above the Hole.
Gorey Home of the famous Jersey landmark – Mont Orgueil Castle and situated on the east coast of the island, the nearest headland to France.
The Navigator, Rozel Bay OK, so we didn’t go here but we wished we had as both the setting and menu looked fantastic.
Oyster Box, Brelade’s Bay We didn’t go here either, we made the small error of going to the Crab Shack next door as we wanted something casual. Imagine the Big Easy on a budget back in the 90s and you’re on the right track. The Oyster Box is described as formal, however, when we walked past it looked ideal for what we were after.
TOP TIPS: Hire a car and just drive the coastal road around the island, stopping off at different bays along the way (the route is clearly signposted.)
Le Mont de la Pulente, Saint Brelade,
Jersey JE3 8HE
Telephone: 01534 744101
Book a table online
Opening hours: Lunch: 12.30 to 14.30. Dinner: 18.30 to 22.00
We stayed as guests of The Atlantic Hotel, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty. A night in a Garden studio from £340 per night including breakfast, £440 including dinner.