Think of Jersey and you would be forgiven for thinking of old-fashioned seaside hotels and dreary restaurants. While that may have been the case ten years ago, we're happy to say it's no longer true. The island has shaken off its retiree-only image and has transformed into a wonderful gem of a destination, attracting foodies, families and sybarites alike. You'll hop on its shores to find a whole host of inspiring restaurants, interesting days out and stylish places to stay lining its stunning coastline.
One of the island's highlights is the family-owned The Atlantic Hotel. With its art deco leanings, and dramatic location overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic and five miles of sandy beaches, there's something of the elegant ocean liner about the hotel's design. Rooms are understated and chic, boasting mirrored furniture, marble bathrooms and chrome and oak details. Full-height windows and balconies make the most of the location.
Communal spaces have vibrant artworks and a feeling of the Hamptons with white shuttered windows that look across landscaped gardens and to the sea beyond. Modern and contemporary it may be, it has nonetheless held on to some good old-fashioned values. The sound of a tinkling piano follows you up to your room, a maitre d' who even calls children 'Sir' and 'Madam' (much to their delight), and an exceptional level of service throughout.
But here it's the Ocean Restaurant that truly has the wow-factor. It has possibly the best view in Jersey, and the best dishes, too. Boasting a Michelin star and four AA rosettes, executive head chef Mark Jordan serves up a variety of local delicacies from his local 'larder'. Treats include fillet of Jersey sole, crab crushed with Jersey Royals, fennel herb and sauce Grenoble; lobster ravioli and black-butter ice cream. Head Sommelier, Sergio dos Santos, meanwhile, tempts you with a huge choice of stellar wines to match your dishes.
Guests can work up an appetite by hiring bikes (delivered to the hotel) and exploring Jersey's 50 miles of intricate country lanes, the stunning St Ouen's Bay and medieval castle. A trip to the chef's second, more casual eaterie, Mark Jordan at the Beach, in the picturesque St Aubin's Harbour, is well worth the exertion. If that sounds too energetic, you can simply opt to have a splash around the hotel's indoor or outdoor pool.
The food is outstanding. The fish is just caught, the vegetables just picked. It is perfectly executed 'field to fork' cuisine, the likes of which you'd normally find in the best dining rooms in London or Paris.
The service is notably excellent. Nothing was too much trouble.
The not so good:
Although there is a small gym and sauna, the lack of a spa is a shame.
Rooms could have a tad more personality.
A foodie's dream hideaway in dramatic location.
Double rooms start at £160 per night, including breakfast. The Atlantic Hotel, Le Mont de la Pulente, St Brelade, Jersey JE3 8HE (+44 (0)1534 744101, theatlantichotel.com)