Jersey, Channel Islands – The Island Break
I’ve been traveling a lot the past couple of months, seeing wonderful places, eating delicious food, but nothing compared with the surprise that Jersey proved to be. Located near the coast of Normandy and only 40 minutes flight from London, Jersey – the largest of the Channel Islands, is breathtaking. We have spent our weekend at the 5 stars Club Hotel & Spa in St. Helier, located just 700 yards from the beach. Our luxurious suite was beyond our expectations, spacious, modern furnished, and the granite bathroom was ideal! I’ve had some long bubble baths while on Jersey, trust me. The Frette dressed feather bed was really comfortable, proof I’ve slept like a baby from day one. A much needed sleep, because this mama was tired!
The hotel has a luxury spa with indoor and outdoor pools, as well as a roof terrace and a Michelin-Starred restaurant, Bohemia. We had a delicious afternoon tea there, following a marine theme, with cakes shaped in little boats. Believe me, they didn’t only look too pretty to eat, they were quite delicious! The restaurant includes 5 tasting menus as well as its classic a la carte menu to choose from. You can also relax with a drink and eat in the vibrant bar, which we did quite a lot, as we were looking shelter from the rain. As this was a trip organized by a PR company, we were lucky enough to be showered with gifts from ILEX London and Sargossa. Ilex London is a fashionably luxe and cosmopolitan leather accessories brand that are quint essentially English. With impeccable craftsmanship, ILEX delivers exclusive, charming and practical handbags. I really like my tote bag, it is large enough to carry my laptop and essentials when I am away, working in London.
Sargossa is definitely one of my favourite shoes brands, because it provides beautiful stilettos that you can actually walk on them. I’ve avoided high heels all my life, because of the pain, soreness and difficulty of keeping my balance, while trying to look pretty in them. But Sargossa is the perfect formed heel, with beautiful designs and a patent pending insole made to create a cushion of comfort. They have so many beautiful shoes I have added on my wish list, because now I know I can stand taller than I am and walk comfortably all day long. I was talking about the spa facilities earlier, but you would be happy to know I’ve had the best massage at The Club & Spa Hotel in Jersey. I forgot the name of my therapist but I really want to thank her for finally doing what no one else was able before! She made me feel energetic, eased my back pain, and made me want to crave for more. I’ll definitely have to repay her a visit soon, and book two extra hours of massage.
Alongside the indoor salt water pool is the thermal suite which includes a salt cabin, herbal steam room and a relaxation area. The Club has a Rasul Mud Treatment room for two, which I have to experience at one point, since it is one of the most popular treatments among guests. The Spa offers a range of treatments including Darphin, Decleor and the Ayavedic Shankara treatments. Yes, the hotel is beautiful and you can relax and eat all day long, but Jersey is much more and it deserves the attention. You don’t just visit Jersey, you experience it. When in Jersey you should live as the locals do, and see a side of the place that goes deeper than the beaches, bays and countryside. The landscapes in Jersey are changing just as seasons change, bringing something new every time. The island’s beaches have been voted amongst the most beautiful in Europe and summer is great to explore them. Explore the rock pools, swim in the clear waters and sunbathe next to sea walls. I am eager to visit Jersey during the summer, because I could already tell the beaches were fantastic, even if we were there beginning of October. Le Braye Slipway on St. Ouen’s Bay is a favourite end-of-the-day swimming spot for locals, from what I’ve been told, so you should find me there next summer.
The countryside is magical in Jersey, the air is fresh and the natural colour palette of the island is picturesque. You can stroll down leafy country lanes surrounded by green fields, farmland, deep valleys and woodland. Chaterine’s Woods are famous for their calm silence and red squirrels, if you’re up for a walk. The coasts are magnificent too, with hidden bays, fresh salt air, and native species living on the shorelines, waiting to be discovered. The beauty of the small island is that it’s easy to be spontaneous. Just nine miles by five miles, nowhere’s far away. Whether you’re up to outdoor activities, or just taking it easy and reconnect and revitalising on the fresh natural surroundings, it’s all there to be experienced. Creating memories that last is what the island is for. Travel around the island by bike for unforgettable views leading to a panoramic finish at La Corbiere Lighthouse. Make the most of your summer days with your family at the beach, at the natural playground of St. Brelade’s Bay. Or you could catch a wave and surf or kitesurf along St. Ouen’s Five Mile Road. My activity chosen by the Visit Jersey team was to do abseil off Mont Orgueil Castle. At first I had to look up the word in a dictionary, because I had no idea what abseiling is. And after I have discovered it is the descent from a cliff using harnesses and ropes, I almost backed off. I am afraid of heights, and as I have mentioned above, even high heels make me dizzy. But I had to face my fears and conquer the 22m Castle’s wall. I have had the best trainer, Craig from Jersey Adventures who kept me calm all the way through my experience and taught me everything in order to make the descent look easy peasy. I was able to climb down the steep wall for the ultimate adrenaline rush, leaning back and trusting the rope and my instructor. Half way down, the strong wind almost threw me off the wall and I couldn’t keep my feet steady. I’ve lost it for a moment there and froze, started screaming and thinking someone should come down and take me because not in a million years I would be able to come down myself. But, since everyone was cheering me, all the bystanders and Karen from Visit Jersey who made me feel so confident throughout my abseil, I had to find the last bit of courage in me and finalise my descent. The feeling of touching the ground and finally doing something I wouldn’t have imagined myself conquering, was thrilling! Craig asked me if I want to do it again right afterwards, but I had to pass, as my knees were still shaking. I’d definitely schedule another abseil soon, I feel I have to open my eyes this time and admire the view. Maybe I’ll do some jumps too, who knows? The island’s heritage wears traces of a colourful past, a culture stepped in history. Visit ancient castles, such as the medieval fortress Mont Orgueil with networks of staircases, towers and secret rooms. Or you could watch live demonstrations of gunfire at Elizabeth Castle built on a rocky islet in St. Aubin’s Bay and take in the breathtaking coastal scenery surrounding the ruined 14th century castle ruins of Grosnez.
There are traces of German Occupation that can still be found in Jersey, at Hitler’s Atlantic Wall which tell Jersey’s story as a fortress island. You can discover giant command bunkers and gun emplacements at Noirmont and the cliffs at Les Landes. The island has a tide and land that reveal an abundance of fresh delights. You should try the natural local ingredients Jersey has to offer. Try authentic local produce including Jersey’s big four: lobster, oysters, Jersey Royals, and dairy. Islanders say seafood tastes better when you can see the sea. I’ve tested it out at Sumas Restaurant and I was blown away. To celebrate my abseil, I walked down the road to one of the best restaurants in Jersey for one of the most delicious lunches I’ve had. If I could eat seafood all day, I would be the most happy. The owner was incredibly helpful recommending things to try out from the menu. Starting my lunch with poached oysters, followed by scallops and fennel, and finishing with lobster and greens, now that’s what I call a lunch fit for a king. Overlooking the Gorey harbour on a beautiful autumn day, where the sun was up, eating the most fresh and tasty seafood, I was actually envisioning living on the island. The calm of the sea, the quiet of the coast, everything seemed just right. Definitely a holiday to remember. Visiting Jersey has all the elements for a wonderful destination: the adventure, the luxurious stay, the best food, the breathtaking views, the quirky little town center with exclusive shops and the most beautiful market I’ve seen. Jersey might be a small island, but there is plenty of space to breathe. Like its submerged coastal landscapes that are exposed to the fresh Jersey atmosphere each day, it’s a place for you too to come up for air.
Gaze at the stars at Grosnez, favourite astronomy spot, or clear your mind and rebalance on the beach. Keen to feel some adrenaline? Jersey is the perfect island for coastering and kitesurfing, or even sailing in the clear waters. You can usually see dolphins swimming off the coast, however they rarely swim in the bays, but that would definitely be an experience worth remembering. I absolutely loved my time in Jersey, and I would definitely come back with my family, since the island has something to offer to every taste and age.