My overriding memory of the Biarritz Hotel in Jersey is the feeling of calm that was felt as soon as we arrived. With EasyJet flights operating from London Luton Airport, within 40 minutes of taking off we had landed at St Helier Airport, the cost of the return flights were just £80 each. Then a short drive from the Avis rental agency and we were at the hotel to be greeted by Jamie on reception, who after checking us in, kindly offered to take our cases to the room. As we walked through the hotel we entered the dining area where we just had to stop and look at the panoramic view that greets you. St Brelade's Bay opens up in front of you...what a beautiful place to sit and dine in. We continued to our room, passing through a contemporary design decor of blue and yellow pastels and stylish lamps and tables. For me as a photographer I just loved the prints, canvases and acrylics of coastal seascapes that adorned both the interiors and the rooms. In our room one of the prints had a beach house with a picket fence and two sun loungers on a deserted beach with a blue sky, just the type of scene that complimented the calm presence of this hotel.
Once settled in our room we opened the patio door that took us on to a balcony with a gorgeous sea view overlooking the sandy bay. At night we would fall asleep to the sound of the waves breaking on the shore, whilst admiring the vibrant sunsets in the distance. The tide goes out a fair distance at St Brelade's giving you the chance for a stroll on the vast golden beach, which I did on a couple of occasions at sunrise (always the best time of the day) to photograph the ripples in the sand and the various rock pools that had been left behind as the sea ebbed away. When it does come in, the water fills the entire beach with the waves reaching the seawall on the promenade.
One of the 'star' attractions for me was the newly opened terraced area that offers the opportunity to sit and relax in comfortable cushioned chairs at this unrivalled elevated position in the bay. During the evening the area is illuminated with stylish strip lights at the bottom of the glass partition and floodlights so that you can chill out until the late evening.
There is a private steep tiered path from the hotel that leads directly down to the beach at St Brelade's Bay.
Duncan, the General Manager was always on hand in the hotel if we had any queries and we also spoke with both Heather and Michelle on reception who were very helpful. New to the Biarritz this year is 2 AA Rosette head Chef Gary Benton, who in the winter teaches cuisine in the UK. Gary's food was both beautifully presented and delicious, whether a hearty breakfast, afternoon tea or dinner. Joseph was overseeing the smooth running of the dining area and was very professional.
The staff were all both efficient and polite and always had a smile on their faces which was pleasant to see. By the end of our stay you felt that they had become your friends. The Biarritz Hotel opened in the 1950s as a Christian venue to supply quality hospitality and service to it's guests and that ethos still stands today. There is still a short morning prayer if you feel inclined to attend although this is never forced on you if you do not desire.
Wi-Fi in our room worked very well and there was a flat screen television with various channels. Tea and coffee making making facilities were very handy and the tea bags, coffee and milk were topped up every morning. The room had a beautifully finished bathroom with large shower and mirror with surrounding lights for illumination, the towels were changed every morning. There was also a lift if required to all floors.
We hired a car but there are good transport links, there is a bus stop that takes you to the airport or into St Helier and there is also an ample sized carpark that we managed to park in throughout our stay at the hotel.
Jersey is such a picturesque island which is so easy to get around only being 9 miles x 5 miles and being only a 40 minute flight from London, is ideal for a week or even a weekend break. St Aubin's has a quaint harbour, both Gorey and Elizabeth Castle are great to spend a half day, St Ouen's beach stretches for miles and St Helier caters for those that want to spend some time shopping.
The hotel does not hold a licence for alcohol but they will gladly keep your own drinks chilled and serve with your food at no additional charge. It is no surprise to know that the Biarritz Hotel has been awarded the 'Trip Advisor Award for Excellence' for five consecutive years. We were also told that people come back here year after year and it is clearly evident to see why.
If you get peckish or fancy a snack, you can visit ‘Cafe Biarritz’ which is open at lunchtimes and evenings. Providing light meals, snacks, pastries and hot and cold beverages.
My top tips when you are out and about on the island that we thoroughly enjoyed whilst there were;
The Lookout Beach cafe in St Helier. Beautiful sea front location with stunning panoramic views across the whole of St Aubins Bay. A light airy relaxed atmosphere, with delicious food.
Plemont Beach Cafe. Nice little beach cafe above the stunning Plemont beach on the north coast of the island. It has incredible views and fabulous food and the beach has caves and rock pools to visit.
Corbiere Lighthouse Dramatic location with a causeway leading out to the lighthouse. Be careful of the fast moving tides here. Excellent place to capture some great photographs.
Jersey Lavender Farm Nice location for a visit, to purchase lavender products at the gift shop or a bite to eat in the cafe. A small entrance fee gives you access to the farm.
We think Jersey is an often overlooked destination for either a short break or longer. Getting to the island is just a short flight away and there is so much to explore here.
A big thank you to the Biarritz Hotel for having us to stay! We would love to come back soon.
As always, all opinions are my own.