By: Robin Barker, Gloucestershire Echo on 15/08/2012
Plenty to do on luxury island
Tucked away 100 miles off our south coast you could be forgiven for overlooking Jersey when it comes to choosing your summer holiday, but this would be a mistake.
Your mind might wander to other foreign climes, but it was somewhere a lot closer to home that provided my travelling companion Hannah and I with a great little break earlier this year.
At only 45 square miles, nine miles east to west and five miles north to south, Jersey could easily fit into Gloucestershire's pocket with room for spare change but it is still the largest of the Channel Islands. Despite its diminutive size they have managed to squeeze quite a lot into such a small space and when we were there we did not lack for entertainment.
The main mode of arrival is by boat and for the cropssing we went with Condor Ferries. It only took us four hours to travel from Poole and, although the return journey was quite choppy, the outward journey was very pleasant indeed and we were even treated to the sight of a pod of dolphins off the starboard bow. If you take the ferry you should remember to take your sea legs with you or at least some seasickness tablets.
When Hannah and I arrived the island was bathed in glorious evening sunshine and the introduction we received upon checking into our hotel was equally warm.
The staff of St Helier's four-star hotel The Royal Yacht were kind, courteous and very helpful. As for the hotel itself, the in-house magazine summed it up perfectly when it suggested that it is "more than just a hotel" and with four restaurants, several bars, a club and a spa it cannot be accused of leading you on.It really was the lap of luxury and the same could be said of our room; the Gold Deluxe Suite, which was an expansive double room with a balcony view of the harbour front.
Not only was the hotel amazing. but it was also in a great location. It was situated minutes from the ferry terminal, the town centre and also St Helier bus station, which was the most important, because it was our main means of getting around.
Our priority upon arriving was dinner. For this we ate at the hotel's Cafe Zephyra, whcih was a brasserie-style restaurant. I had a very tasty panini and Hannah enjoyed a chicken salad.
The next day was our first full day in Jersey and, after a hearty breakfast in the hotel restaurant , we made our plans for the day.
We first made a beeline for the hotel spa to check out its facilities. It included a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, relaxation room and two steam rooms. On the days we visited it was not too busy and we were able to relax in a very tranquil atmosphere.
Hannah even treated herself to an hour-and-a-half full body massage, which was reduced for hotel residents and comes highly recommended.
Our first foray into Jersey was to visit Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (otherwise known as Jersey zoo). Situated just four miles north of St Helier the zoo is set in 32 acres of parkland and gardens and is certainly worth a visit.
The weather on the third day was not so good, but armed with raincoats and umbrellas we didn't let the extremely changeable conditions dampen our desire to explore the island and its heritage. We chose to visit the Jersey War Tunnels in St Lawrence, from which we could learn about the history of the five years of enemy occupation during World War Two and at the same time shelter from the rain.
That is the great thing about Jersey. There is always something to do whatever the weather and whatever your interest. You just have to make sure you are prepared for the weather to change at a moment's notice.
Despit this, we were grateful for good weather on the final day of our trip, because our last act was taking in St Brelade's Bay and it was a great way to end our holiday. It is a beautiful beach, perfect for a long leisurely stroll in the sun and that is exactly what we did. Whilst Hannah and I only scratched the surface during our visit it really did open our eyes to what the island has to offer.
If you find yourself where to go this summer why not consider Jersey?