Just nine miles long and five miles wide, Jersey is a pretty island in the Channel Islands. Basked in history, character and charm there’s a wealth of things to see and do all year round with 45 miles of coastline.

It’s little surprise then that it’s a haven for families and holidaymakers. Located only 100 miles south of mainland Britain it is a perfect place for a weekend retreat.

In fact, Jersey is the most southerly of the British Isles and is more closely situated next to France which is only 14 miles away.

One of the prominent hotels on the island is the Grand Jersey. Situated in the capital St Helier, the hotel is only a short walk from the town centre which boasts designer names and high street shops aplenty.

Grand Jersey is located just opposite one of Jersey’s most famous landmarks, Elizabeth Castle which is based in the middle of St Aubin’s Bay, one of the largest bays on the Island.

Jersey is also known as the flowers isle thanks to scores of beautiful parks and picturesque gardens – it also hosts an annual summer festival showcasing the very best local flora and fauna.

‘The Grand Hotel’ was first opened in 1890, four months after the foundation stone had been laid. It became one of the most fashionable hotels – a brochure of the time said: “This is the only first class hotel on the seafront, with all the latest improvements and every home comfort. The position of the hotel is unique, standing twenty feet above sea-level and commanding a magnificent view of the picturesque and romantic bay of St Aubin.”

During World War II the Channel Islands were under the control of the German army with many people’s lives being directly affected during this time. The Grand Hotel was no exception and between 1940 and 1945 the hotel was commandeered by the occupying forces.

Much of the hotel furniture was burnt as fuel and, as a result, the hotel was unable to open directly after liberation by the Allied Forces.

Today, there are many reminders of the occupation, from the many fortifications that line the island’s coast, to the famous Jersey War tunnels.

The hotel has played host to a variety of VIP guests including various members of the Royal family who have been entertained by the States at special banquets – including the then HRH Princess Elizabeth and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, as well as HRH Princes Margaret and HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

A multi-million pound development of the hotel in 2007 saw a complete refurbishment and upgrade to a luxury five star level.

All 123 rooms are designed by renowned interior designer Mike Trevillion. During this refurbishment, the hotel was rebranded to Grand Jersey and it now boasts several new features including the decadent Champagne Lounge, al fresco terrace, fine dining restaurant Tassili, Victorias restaurant, and a dedicated business centre The Park Suites, which offer design-led executive meeting and private dining rooms.

Combining innovation, modern technology and comfort, The Park Suites is also home to the only 36 seater bespoke cinema in a luxury hotel in the Channel Islands – available for business presentations and private screenings.

Every detail has been taken care of in order to provide a luxurious experience, from large feature beds and stylish ottomans, to contemporary LCD plasma televisions.

A perennial highlight of a stay in Jersey is the food. The Island is a gourmet’s paradise with local Jersey produce – from lobster, oyster, hand dived scallops to Jersey Royal potatoes.

Grand Jersey’s main restaurant, Victorias, offers creative, seasonal and local menus in a relaxed, chic and informal setting. It provides the perfect brasserie experience, from laid-back Sunday lunch to quality comfort food, crafted by head chef Jon Wood.

Menu highlights for me included antipasti, parma ham, artichoke, bel pere and mustard fruit dressing; pan fried cod with gremolata, orzo and mussels; Marjoram and oregano infused lamb and saffron risotto, and panna cotta with strawberries – delicious dishes that showcase local provenance.

Grand Jersey’s fine dining experience at Tassili offers an exquisite modern British menu, with a decadent Jersey twist. The Michelin-starred, three AA Rosette restaurant represents the ultimate in seduction and luxury.

Their menus are the platform for the very best of Jersey’s local and seasonal produce, served in an opulent setting with an intimate ambiance.

Executive head chef Richard Allen delivers a mouth-watering array of dishes and we were fortunate to sample the very best at their Tassili Wine Dinner, held once a month and expertly presented by restaurant manager Shaun Corrigan.

It consisted of six wines and a six course dinner based on an array of local and international spices, with a collection of unique wines from Dunell’s – a premier wine that can be purchase on the island.

The menu was a delectable assortment of dishes including onion and chorizo Bhaji, Tom Yum foam, followed by cauliflower and cumin veloute, poached langoustine, cauliflower tempura; crispy pork belly in star anise salt, pulled pork, smoked potato puree, barbeque jus; five spice salmon, soy and raisins and crab and coriander, bok choi; best end of lamb slow cooked in chickpea dahl; finished with ginger cake, all-spice ice cream, black butter yoghurt and salted caramel. Whether you’re a culinary connoisseur or a lover of all things foodie, I sincerely recommend Tassili during your stay.

Waking up at the Grand Jersey is glorious, the panoramic sea views are beautiful and the relaxed atmosphere is just the tonic.

For ultimate R&R, Spa at Grand Jersey offers the ultimate cocooned experience, with a range of VIP, twin and single treatment rooms, indoor heated pool sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, relaxation room, gym and experience showers.

Spa at Grand Jersey was recognised as UK Residential Spa of the Year in the Professional Beauty Awards 2009 and 2010. They offer a combination of spa inspired products, ESPA treatments and services that harness the best of aromatherapy, thalassotherapy and phytotherapy.

Jersey is a jewel just a few miles off the French coast – a place I’d love to revisit.

Travel facts

  • Room rates range from £125 for a Single, £260 for a Deluxe Park View or Classic Sea View room, £320 for an Executive Sea View, to £475 for a Suite. Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa, The Esplanade, St Helier, Jersey. For more details and reservations,  telephone 01534 722301 or visit grandjersey.com 
  • Travel with Blue Islands via direct flights from Southampton, blueislands.com 
  • Jersey has its own coins and notes. Cashpoints in Jersey issue Jersey bank notes which are not legal tender in the UK. However, UK bank notes and coins are freely accepted in Jersey.
  • For a family day out, visit Durrell Wildlife Park, easily accessible by bus.