Within a two-minute walk of downtown Saint Helier, the capital and principal town on Britain’s Jersey Island, the five-star Club Hotel & Spa stands in one of the most convenient of locations for visitors.
With a stylish décor, traditional afternoon tea serving, an elegant restaurant headed by a Michelin star chef and two swimming pools, it is a most attractive property to boot.
Parking is off-street, adjacent to the building, so it’s a simple task bringing luggage to the lobby. First impressions are of a contemporary, modern, boutique-like ambience, urban chic with silver and glass trimmings. A multi-colored carpet uplifts one’s spirits as does the overall airiness of the entrance space.
The spa, with an indoor swimming pool, is entered through a door to the right and an honesty bar and large breakfast room stand to the left. The open-air pool is nearby on the ground floor close to the reception desk. The bar area and the hotel’s Bohemia restaurant lie one floor below.
Again, with convenience in mind, elevators are located a mere five yards almost directly across from the reception desk. Our room was compact with a marine-themed decor, including framed prints on the walls of seashells and sea settings. Furnishings included a glass-topped coffee table, a very comfy bed with dense threading and a combined bath and shower. Toiletries were the Elemis brand.
Under the leadership of general manager, Tim Phillips, the hotel caters for exercises of both mind and body, with spa and sports facilities, as well as laptop rentals, a library of books, DVDs and games available. After enjoying the indoor saltwater pool (the property also has a small outdoor one), salt cabin and herbal steam-room we relaxed with delightful ‘Aromatic Fusion’ massages for couples in the wood-paneled twin treatment room at the hands of therapists, Amara Parkes and Nicky Dodd. Their precision technique with both hands and elbows provided localized static pressure and the ‘stripping’ method they used created a slow, continuous application of pressure resulting in a profound, muscle-relaxing feeling. The spa also has three single treatment rooms where and Darphin, Decleor, Ayurvedic Shankara and Rasul Mud treatments are offered. It also has a dedicated Manicure and Pedicure area including GELeration.
Quality of food at the Bohemia is a given as the cozy restaurant is headed by chef Steve Smith who won his first Michelin star at age 24 and has held one for the last 15 years. Bohemia itself has held one since 2005. For dinner, several menu options are offered including the ‘classic’, whose mains range from turbot to lamb loin; the 8-course ‘tasting,’ with an optional artisan cheese from Jean-Yves Bordier; the ‘fish’ that includes langoustine, scallop and turbot; vegetarian, with stilton dumplings, sweet corn pannacotta, duck egg with truffle and Jerusalem Artichoke; and the ‘prestige’ menu that includes oyster, crab custard and tart, fois gras cream and Waldorf salad. There’s also a six-course ‘surprise’ variation but let that remain a surprise until you’re table side.
Afternoon tea is a daily tradition at the hotel with a range of sandwiches and scones and a delicate Bohemian collection of cakes inspired by head pastry chef Ellen de Jager. The salty caramel, chocolate and peanut mayhem cheesecake is a particularly delicious treat. This is also the perfect occasion to try Jersey Island’s famous black butter, a marmalade-like mixture of apple, cider and spices. Best layered on the brioche-like scones. Teas range from Gunpowder Green to Lap Sang Souchang.
That the hotel and its restaurant are popular social gathering points are evidenced from the fact that visitors range from opera stars and singers, such as Katherine Jenkins and Tom Jones, to sports stars (racing driver Nigel Mansell and footballer Ozzie Ardilles) to actors (John Cleese) and comedians (Jimmy Carr).
Proprietorship is an interesting one with Lawrence Huggler, managing director of the Huggler Group, overseeing a seemingly eclectic mix of businesses including this hotel, the three-star Apollo Hotel in Jersey and the Apollo Hotel in Basingstoke, England, as well as Huggler Print, Jersey’s largest printer; feelunique.com, an online health and beauty retailer; mymemory.com, a site for photobooks and photo-related products, and a brand of liqueur called Lanique, made with attar of roses.
With a location so close to the charming and lively St. Helier and a quality spa and Michelin-star restaurant and chef, most travelers will find it hard not to be extremely satisfied with a stay at Club Hotel & Spa.