I think I left a little piece of my heart in Jersey…
…and that’s partly because of The Atlantic Hotel…
…a beautiful place with views stretching over St Ouen’s Bay and out to the ocean…
I’d been to Jersey many years before but all I had was the odd snatched memory of a family holiday with my parents and sister; flying kites, going to the zoo, eating ice cream and learning all about the history of this small island.
My friend Theresa and I had come to Jersey to stay at The Atlantic hotel for the weekend, super excited for a girls trip and a chance to discover the luxury side of the island.
We immediately felt very welcomed by the friendly staff and were soon also admiring the very beautiful public areas of the hotel. It’s not long ago that the lobby and lounge areas were renovated and the design is a fusion of modern and classic. Distinctly bright and beachy, but at the same time homely and comfortable. Exposed brick work and wooden floors give the hotel a modern look but the squishy sofas and velvet arm chairs were the perfect place to relax with a paper on a Sunday enjoying the beautiful view without any of the stresses of daily life.
Actually I can see why people from Jersey are so friendly and happy…island life seems so stress-free and chilled out.
Throughout the hotel is a collection of hand-picked artwork, mostly created by Jersey locals and inspired by the island itself. Sand and sea motifs adorn the walls, bringing to mind the stunning landscape.
I particularly liked this piece by native islander, Naomi Renouf. It’s been both quilted and painted with textiles used to create the seashore and sand dunes and hand-dyed pieces of silk to add texture.
We loved the openness of the lobby area with a reception leading straight on to the lounge and large doors up to the terrace and the pool. Beyond the lounge is the hotel’s restaurant, Ocean, but more about that later.
Our ocean-view room was a good size, perhaps a little retro but that’s part of the charm of Jersey. As I walked around the island, I was often hit by moments of nostalgia, there’s just something about UK holidays that remind me of childhood.
Actually the classic maritime theme of the room, coupled with the cliff top location and incredible views, reminded me of Jonah’s the hotel in Sydney where Mr S and I got engaged.
Anyway, it had everything that we needed, a comfortable bed, tea and coffee-making facilities, snuggly robes and a full length mirror – rather vital for a girly break.
The bathroom also fulfilled all our vanity needs, with a magnifying mirror and de-misters. The only slight problem was that the shower was over the bath and there was no curtain so the spray hit the floor and soaked it a bit when we showered.
But they did have my favourite brand of toiletries; I think Molten Brown products will make anyone smile!
And of course my favourite thing about the room was the full floor to ceiling windows leading to a Juliet balcony and a sweeping view over the pool, grounds and the ocean beyond. Speaking of which it was time to investigate the pool area…
A shady terrace was just perfect for lunch or pre-dinner drinks and there was plenty of sun loungers around the pool for soaking up the glorious Jersey sun. It might be blue skies and sunshine but the weather can be unpredictable however even if there’s a chill in the air, the heated pool is ideal for a relaxing soak.
The Atlantic Hotel actually has extensive grounds and a really fantastic position right on the headland. In 1987 a storm caused huge losses to the trees on the land but the hotel found the silver-lining in the loss and the grounds were opened up and the views reached across even further. The Atlantic Hotel is keen to keep these beautiful views but has introduced an initiative to plant more pines and improve the grasslands beyond the tennis court.
I think around 6pm is one of my favourite times on holiday, as the air begins to cool and the sun sits lower, there’s a certain feeling of calm and the perfect moment to have a glass of wine and a bowl of crisps before getting ready for dinner. Theresa and I took a moment to enjoy the still of the early evening, catching up on each other’s lives and chatting about the future. As she lives in Bristol our time together is rare, and The Atlantic Hotel is the perfect place just to forget any stresses and enjoy each other’s company.
We even made a friend!
We headed back to the room with just enough time to get ready and a quick glass of bubbly at the hotel bar.
I have such a place in my heart for small family run hotels and I love the story behind The Atlantic Hotel. It dates back to 1970 when Henry Burke announced his new hotel in this beautifully dramatic setting. In 1987, his son Patrick took over as managing director and expanded and developed the hotel even further leading to the achievement of many accolades such as membership into Small Luxury Hotels of the World, four rosettes from the AA and multiple awards.
It was also under Patrick that the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Ocean, was opened winning a Michelin star in 2007 and retaining it for nearly ten years. Like the rest of the hotel, the interior is light and bright with the blue scrolling on the chair adding to the nautical feel.
Theresa and I were incredibly excited to be sampling the menu of European cuisine, created by acclaimed chef, Mark Jordan. Mark started his career working under Keith Floyd before meeting his mentor, Jean Christophe Novelli who inspired him to create food of Michelin-standard that appealed to the five senses. With a career working in Michelin-starred kitchens and as head chef at The Pink Geranium, Mark’s love for Jersey bought him to his current role at Ocean in 2004. Mark also heads up beach side bistro Mark Jordan on the Beach, a fabulous venue with relaxed vibes and delicious food. I’ll be reviewing it in a separate post coming soon.
We kicked off with a slightly spicy and deliciously light amuse bouche of gazpacho soup.
Both sticking with the à la carte menu I chose a delicious dish of local Jersey squid for my starter. Blended with a hearty, creamy risotto, scallop carpaccio and cauliflower; it was comfort food but with a refined edge.
Theresa’s dish was billed as crab cannelloni though it had more the texture of a spring roll. I wasn’t a big fan of this dish as it was doused in sweet and sour sauce and the combination didn’t quite work for me. The freshness of the crab was still able to sing through the sauce as Mark Jordan only uses the very finest produce from Jersey’s coast and countryside. Mark also works directly with the Genuine Jersey Product Association, and many of these products have gained international recognition for their quality.
As well as a top-notch chef, Ocean boasts a highly experienced sommelier and Richard Burton is incredibly passionate about fine wines, pairing each of our courses with the most delicious glasses.
My elegant main course was a beautifully cooked and perfectly seasoned turbot enhanced by the additions of salty samphire, mussels and a fine piece of tortellini.
Jersey is of course well-known for being the home of Jersey cows and one of the signature dishes at Ocean showcases that fantastic produce. Pairing an assiette of Jersey beef with Jersey lobster ravioli and beef marmite; the beef itself was so perfectly cooked and presented in three ways and the juicy lobster claw was just stunning.
It was paired with a ‘dauphinoise cappuccino,’ Theresa would have preferred a good hearty dauphinoise rather than the deconstructed shot but it made a very interesting accompaniment.
A cheese course came next and I had to laugh when Theresa, a huge fromage-fan, considered the trolley for approximately thirty seconds before asking for ‘a bit of everything’.
I’m not sure the waiter has ever prepared a cheese plate encompassing a bit of everything before, but he did a very good job and presented us with a wide variety of cheese and crackers and bread to enjoy it with. Theresa was in cheese heaven and promptly pronounced it the best cheese platter she’d ever had. Portion sizes at Ocean aren’t overwhelming and we had plenty of space to enjoy dessert too.
A light raspberry sorbet with a little lemon meringue and honeycomb was a great fruit palate cleanser.
While the 55% Valrhona pavé with coco nib streusel and praline ice cream was a chocoholics dream! It was incredibly dense and rich with simply the finest ingredients.
Breakfast is also served in the restaurant with hearty options such as a full Jersey breakfast, pancakes and flakey pastries. Or you can do as we did and stick to light choices such as fruit, cereal and yogurt from a small but perfectly formed buffet.
During the course of our dinner we couldn’t help but step outside to capture the sunset as the sun glowed behind the tree before dipping below the ocean.
There’s something very special about this gorgeous little hotel clinging to a cliff top in Jersey. The views give it that splendour and the food is outstanding but it was the kind hospitality of the people who truly captured my heart.
PIN FOR LATER:
The Atlantic Hotel
Le Mont de la Pulente
Our two night stay at The Atlantic Hotel and dinner at Ocean was complimentary.