For our first visit to Jersey we booked a package with Condor Ferries who charged about £1400 for four nights on half-board in a sea-view room at the Atlantic, plus return ferry crossings for the two of us and our car. Condor has a virtual monopoly which should be broken up - it’s a lousy ferry service with inconvenient timetables and sometimes outrageous pricing - but we had a fabulous time on the island and we liked the Atlantic Hotel very much. It is a busy, stylish and obviously very successful operation.
The first thing to say about the Atlantic is that it’s not in St Brelade’s Bay, thank God. That’s about three miles away, on the south coast, and is packed with faded grand hotels, bars and restaurants. That’s the very slightly shabby side of Jersey. The Atlantic is in La Pulente, on the windward west coast, facing down to St Ouen’s Bay, the one with the iconic offshore defence tower and the endless stretch of sand, often misidentified as St Brelade’s by some of TA’s reviewers and their photographs. This area is still undeveloped and fairly wild, like the west coasts of Ireland or Scotland.
Our room - 116 - overlooked the swimming pool, the gardens, the sea and over to Guernsey. Standing on the narrow ‘French’ balcony one could also look over the golf course and down to the sweeping sands of St Ouen’s Bay. The room was charming, decorated in a bright blue-white colour scheme and was in a very high state of repair, though because it was fairly small there were a couple of issues with the layout. The bed was slightly too large and the management should banish those bulky units that house CRT TV sets. They take up a lot of space and look rather ugly. If they installed wall-mounted flatscreens they would create a much better sense of space. Nevertheless, we were very happy with our room and its spotless bathroom.
The public areas are very attractive, bright and airy, with plenty of sofas, good local art on the walls and stylish venetian blinds overlooking the pool terrace. The plastic chairs out there are a bit of a lapse in taste. The outdoor pool felt so cold - in July - we never used it . There is also an indoor pool, though it was so small and so shallow - a great disappointment to us - that only young children could feasibly make use of it. Service levels were generally high, though they never collected a room service tray when asked to do so and the reception staff didn’t seem that strong on basic tourist questions. They didn’t seem to have the normal info or leaflets and brochures that tourist hotels usually have by the sackful.
One of the attractions of the hotel is its pretty restaurant, awarded a single Michelin star. Mercifully, the food isn’t overly inventive or complex, though I would say the flavours are generally rather muted. However, we did have one duck dish that was lifted to sublime quality by a puree of dauphinois potatoes infused with truffle oil. There’s a nightly changing three-course set menu for £50 and an a la carte for about £10 more. There’s a fine choice of wine from all world regions with much to choose from in the £20-30 range. Sadly, breakfasts were not quite up to scratch - the meagre buffet, flabby pastries and a frankly disastrous attempt at fried eggs and bacon marked the place down in my book, though they did subsequently manage a perfect pair of poached eggs, served in minimalist style on a square centimetre of toast.
All in all, though, a pleasant and relaxing hotel on this extremely beautiful little island.