When considering a family holiday with two young children, ‘luxury and glamour’ are usually way down the list of priorities. Finding ourselves with a 4 day gap between term times, we decided to try a short break to Jersey at the Grand Jersey hotel and spa, which promised just that.
Located in the capital St. Helier, just a short stroll from the town centre and overlooking St. Aubin’s Bay and the impressive Elizabeth Castle, Grand Jersey is one of the highest rated hotels in the Channel Islands with five AA stars and a Michelin Star restaurant.
We chose this hotel for its location, restaurants and the promise of ‘luxury and glamour!’
Here’s how we got on…
We had a hassle free short flight over (1.5 hours) from Manchester and arrived at the hotel 15 minutes after picking up the hire car.
A pleasant check in experience at the hotel set the scene for our stay. We booked an Executive Sea Facing Suite – a separate bedroom and lounge which can doubles up as a sofa bed for the kids. So separate rooms and TV’s with free access to kid’s films too.
The décor was contemporary and stylish and yes, luxurious and glamorous too!
We didn’t want to leave our room and its wonderful views of Elizabeth Castle but it was time for lunch, so we headed off to the hotel’s Champagne Lounge. This is a comfortable lounge area perfect for lunch, afternoon teas and of course champagne cocktails! Outside on The Terrace throughout the summer there’s live entertainment and al fresco dining.
After lunch, we crossed the road and let the children loose on the beach that they could see from their hotel bedroom’s window. Some rock pooling and frenzied digging ensued – lots of fun!
We then had a short session in the hotel swimming pool – an indoor heated pool and experience showers. It also features a sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, relaxation room, gym and spa consultation area.
If your children are old enough to be left in the room alone, then I would recommend booking a table in advance at Tassili, the Michelin starred restaurant, as it is classed as one of the top three restaurants in the island. Unfortunately, this time we were not able to indulge ourselves…but hopefully next time!
We booked a table for all of us at Victoria’s where the food was excellent and there were two acoustic guitarists providing entertainment.
After a very extensive breakfast, we walked over to St Helier Marina where the Jersey Boat Show was taking place and spent a pleasant couple of hours pretending which million pound yacht we would buy. There was a lot going on with food and boating stalls, live music and entertainment.
Just over the road from the hotel is the modern Aquasplash swimming pool. Fantastic for kids, with a wave machine, indoor and outdoor pool with a lazy river – the kids were in their element!
Then the sun came out so we headed off to one of our favourite beach restaurants – The Crab Shack at St Brelade’s Bay. A wonderful seafood feast was enjoyed in relaxed surroundings, sitting on the classic seaside promenade of St Brelade’s Bay.
In the evening we drove to St Aubin for an early dinner. There are a whole host of restaurants here that I would happily recommend and the majority are set around a very picturesque harbour too.
We ate at the Salty Dog Bistro, where the food is big on flavour, freshness and spices.
As the children now knew about Aqua Splash, we had to go back again!
The weather forecast was good so after swimming we walked back towards the hotel and across the road we hired a 4 seater Fun Bike, (£12 an hour) where the children sat in front and thought they were steering. They loved it!
We rode along the promenade of the bay which is shared by pedestrians, cyclists, and La Petit Train, so no traffic to worry about. The beach is on one side with stunning views across the bay (again), providing plenty of opportunity to stop and play on the beach and eat at the beachside cafés dotted along the way.
I don’t think you could stay at Grand Jersey without paying a visit to the iconic Elizabeth Castle, situated on a rocky islet directly opposite the hotel. The castle is accessible at low tide by foot or the castle ferry, an amphibious vehicle that is available when the tide is out.
We took the ferry across to the castle and after pointing my husband and children in the direction of some dungeons, I sneaked back to the Grand and headed down to the Spa for the treatments that I had pre-booked. Pure Bliss!
An hour and half later, I floated back to my room, scrubbed and polished and very, very relaxed. I don’t often say that about a family holiday!
Although there are lots and lots of restaurants to choose from within walking distance of the hotel, we headed off to St Aubin’s again and ate at the Old Court House which has lovely harbour views from its conservatory restaurant and outdoor seating.
Our last day! With a 1pm flight we didn’t have lots of time, but we did manage to fit in a trip to Durrell Wildlife Park.
Ideally I would allow 4-5 hours at Durrell but due to our flight we left the park at 11.30, arrived at the airport at noon and flew at 1pm – easy!
I would recommend buying a Jersey Pass, one affordable pass that allows entry into 16 Jersey attractions including the Aqua Splash, Elizabeth Castle and many other Jersey Heritage sites.
In summary, the whole trip was so easy, relaxed, everything close by and most of it within walking distance. The Grand Jersey offered a fantastic base due its location and the service, surroundings, spa and restaurants meant both the adults and the kids had a wonderful time.
The downside? We didn’t have enough time to do everything we wanted!