JERSEY is benefiting from a multi-million pound investment in luxury and spa product, as its tourism sector targets high-spending customers.


Total investment in luxury hotels and spa facilities has topped £30 million over the past couple of years.


Many of these projects are now coming into fruition and making a visible difference to the largest of the Channel Island’s offering to holidaymakers. Last year saw the first year-on-year increase in visitor volume to Jersey in more than a decade.


“Visitor statistics for 2005 are very positive,” said Jersey Tourism director of marketing and tourism David de Carteret.


“The increasing development of high-end properties and restaurants on the island, combined with major Jersey Tourism initiatives, will continue to raise both visitor volume and expenditure.”


The tourist board’s confidence is borne out by the private sector: among the developments on the cards is a brand new Radisson SAS property, due to open next year close to the waterfront at St Helier.


Jersey Tourism estimates the hotel will contribute up to £1.5 million a year to the island’s economy.



Sample product


Preston Holidays offers two nights at the Atlantic Hotel, which is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, from £364 per person, twin-share. Accommodation is on a bed-and-breakfast basis. This price includes flights and transfers and is valid between September 9 and 22.


Premier Holidays managing director Susan Papworth described Jersey’s high-end product as “fantastic” and said it was a particularly good sell for spa breaks.


She cited the facilities at L’Horizon and The Atlantic and the new spa about to open at the De France – as well as the new Club Hotel and Spa in St Helier.


Along with pampering and relaxation, good restaurants are another growing attraction for high-end clients. The Club Hotel and Spa is currently the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the Channel Islands but that might not be the case for long.


The Atlantic Hotel’s head chef Mark Jordan recently won a Michelin Rising Star award. The freshest of local produce and fantastic seafood mean that cuisine is of the highest quality.


“The growth market in the Channel Islands is short breaks. The hotels have improved their facilities and given people a reason to go,” said Preston Holidays sales and marketing director John Markham.


For a truly romantic dinner, fresh lobster or oysters sampled on the terrace at Suma’s overlooking the postcard-perfect harbour at Gorey is hard to beat.


Suggest clients work up an appetite with a stroll around the newly restored Mont Orgueil Castle. Jersey’s most famous landmark re-opened in April after a £4.5 million restoration programme, which has opened up a labyrinth of stairways and rooms previously closed to the public.


And if romance is really in the air, there’s no better place to propose than on one of Jersey’s hidden sandy coves.


With its VAT-free shopping and fine jewellers the island is ideal for ring shopping. Jersey Tourism is also targeting the weddings sector. Unlike the other Channel Islands where you need to be a resident to tie the knot, wedding applications for Jersey can be made by post and couples need only arrive three working days before their big day to complete formalities.


hotel check


The Club Hotel and Spa, St Helier


Where is it?
Double room at The Club Hotel and Spa, St HelierNo countryside or sea views but the hotel is ideally located for shopping and dining. It’s a five-minute walk from the centre of Jersey’s busy capital St Helier. 3 / 5


What’s it like?
Dark wood floors, cream upholstery, airy spaces, big sofas for relaxing with a drink. The £7 million refit of what was previously a rather drab hotel block has worked surprisingly well. The result is modern, chic and sophisticated. 4 / 5


Sleep tight?
The well-appointed rooms feature wireless Internet access, a huge flatscreen TV, a turn down service with luxury chocolates and bathroom with L’Occitane toiletries. I slept like a prince in the vast bed with big fluffy duvet. 5 / 5


Anything else?
The hotel spa is in the basement with no nice views, meaning it feels a bit hemmed in. However, the pool is full of cleverly reflected lights and the rainforest-effect shower is literally sensational. 3 / 5


Eat in or out?
If, like me, you couldn’t get a table at the Michelin-starred restaurant, the upstairs Club Café restaurant serves unstuffy, well-priced food with great attention to detail. The goat’s cheese, rocket and salsa salad was a perfect balance of flavours. The hotel’s buzzing bar is the newest place in town for evening cocktails in a sophisticated setting. 4 / 5


Smiley service?
As a lone diner you always wonder if you’ll be noticed, but the service in the restaurant was friendly and faultless. Check-in staff were prompt and helpful too. 5 / 5


Recommend it?
Absolutely. If you want a little luxury – and want to be in the middle of St Helier rather than in the countryside – the Club is spot on.


Total rating: 24/30


Sample product: Premier Holidays offers two nights at the five-star Club Hotel and Spa from £389 per person, twin-share in a double deluxe room with continental breakfast included. The price includes flights and transfers. Spa treatments should be booked directly with the hotel prior to arrival. Valid for departures between September 5 and 30.


Jersey’s luxury hotspots


Restaurants


Book a good couple of months ahead to get a table at The Club Hotel’s Bohemia restaurant. Go to Theclubjersey.com.


Shopping


Splash out on some of Catherine Best’s contemporary, bespoke jewellery at her new showroom. Sadie Frost is a big fan. Go to Catherinebest.com.


Relaxation


Check in for a day of pampering at L’Horizon Hotel and Spa with its lovely sea views. Go to Handpicked.co.uk/horizon.


Entertainment


Take in an evening show at the beautifully restored Jersey Opera House. Go to Jerseyoperahouse.co.uk.


Cruising


Hire a Sunseeker yacht and crew for a day of cruising, island hopping and water sports. Lobster and champagne for lunch of course. Go to Sensationcharter.com.