From Santorini to the Seychelles, the exotic and somewhat mysterious air about islands makes them perfect for get-away-from-it-all holiday destinations. To many, an island escape sounds far more romantic than a city break. The latest hotspot on the radar for nearby luxury getaways is the island of Jersey, where spa hotels come with a sea view, and Michelin-star restaurants serve up the cream of the island’s local produce.
The way to arrive in Jersey is by air. Half an hour’s flight away from the UK or an hour from Paris, Geneva or Amsterdam, the ice in your gin and tonic has hardly had a chance to melt before you begin your descent towards a green-topped island rising out of the sea. It’s Jersey, home to Jersey cows, Jersey Royals and a tax status that explains why St Helier has more pinstripe suits and finance institutions than your average seaside town.
Flying into Jersey is also the best way to get an overview, literally, of this nine-by-five mile island made up of cliffs, castles and countryside. Jersey’s sandy bays and rugged coastline dotted with fishing villages overlooked by medieval castles and towers make the island look like a concentrated version of Cornwall. But it’s not as simple as that. The coast of France is just 14 miles away, and a healthy dose of continental air, culture and colour has drifted across from neighbouring Brittany. Road signs are in French, alfresco cafés spill out onto sea-facing terraces, golf courses come with a sea view, the glass-fronted offices of St Helier’s finance district reflect the masts of yachts in the marina – and the whole island has a laid-back je ne sais quoi that makes it feel like you’re on holiday. Which of course, you are.
Jersey has adapted to its well-heeled aficionados with a crop of boutique hotels, top-class restaurants and luxury spas that make the island a bit of a haven for urbanites looking for a swish place to de-stress. To get yourself back on track, try an Ayurvedic spa treatment followed up with a beach walk or an afternoon spent catching the Atlantic waves at Jersey’s surf mecca St Ouen where the island’s surfing club (possibly the first in Europe) was established in 1923. And then when the cobwebs are well and truly blown away, retreat to your boutique hotel room and prepare for a gourmet feast of locally-landed fish and seafood.
Stay a few days more and you’ll have a chance to explore the wildlife park founded by the famous naturalist Gerald Durrell, now a world-class conservation centre where you can see endangered species including gorillas, lemurs and orang-utans at close quarters. Hire bikes and explore the island’s coastal cycle path, stopping at beach cafés for a Jersey cream tea along the way. Or get a taste of the history of this small island with a visit to one of Jersey’s two castles, Elizabeth Castle at St Helier and Mont Orgueil overlooking Gorey harbour. You can even join an expert and abseil down Mont Orgueil’s medieval walls, or charter a yacht and sail around the island’s fortified coast if you want a really unique experience. And for thrill-seekers, the island’s shallow surf and wide sandy beaches are perfect for kite-surfing, blokarting, jet-skiing and paddle boarding.
Or perhaps it’s just the simple pleasure of enjoying excellent food in a superb setting that appeals. You’d expect an island famous for its food; rich cream, Jersey Royals and fresh seafood to offer something special when it comes to restaurants, and Jersey doesn’t disappoint. With four Michelin-starred restaurants and an array of highly-rated eateries, Jersey’s full of gastronomic experiences to savour, from freshly caught lobster, crab and oysters to ormers, a local delicacy similar to abalone.
Jersey’s not just a summer destination; Britain’s The Times newspaper recently rated the island’s Atlantic Hotel as one of its top locations for a winter break on the British coast for its atmosphere, style and location, with ‘all the ingredients for some epic storm-watching’. A stylish island just a short flight away where you can enjoy the finer things in life – isn’t it time you put a trip to Jersey on your travel wish list?
Explore Jersey in style with http://www.luxuryjerseyhotels.com/ which is a boutique collection of four and five star hotels, restaurants and spa locations in Jersey.
This article was written by Sarah Cilliers. A self-confessed lover of food and words, Sarah Cilliers gets to combine both her passions as a writer for @LuxuryJersey, a collection of Jersey’s luxury hotel and restaurant locations. More posts from her can be found on the Google+ page.
Sarah’s Tips On Getting to Jersey: British Airways, Easyjet, Flybe and Blue Islands fly direct to Jersey from many UK and European airports including; London Gatwick, Bristol, Birmingham, East Midlands, Exeter, Manchester, Liverpool, London Stansted, London City, London Southend, Southampton, Paris, Amsterdam, Geneva and Zurich.