LUXURY Jersey Hotels is a rare commodity – a consortium of competitors who put their rivalries aside in pursuit of a common goal.
The goal is a simple one – attracting more visitors to the Island to discover the finest hotels, gastronomy, shopping and relaxation experiences that Jersey has to offer.
Achieving that goal is more complex which is why, in 2009, Luxury Jersey Hotels was formed in an unprecedented display of unity and purpose.
‘While a partnership approach in industry may be more common now, bringing competitors together to achieve a common goal was unprecedented a decade ago,’ explained founder member and chairman Patrick Burke, owner of The Atlantic Hotel. ‘While we were all fighting individually to improve room occupancy, by combining our knowledge and resources we were able to build a much wider interest in, and awareness of, the Island and all it has to offer.’
It is a message which the group is still striving to convey, working with media and corporate partners, to tackle some of the misperceptions about Jersey, which are still prevalent outside the Island.
‘Unfortunately a lot of people in the UK see Jersey as being a dated destination and so they do not add it to their list of places to go,’ said Mr Burke. ‘Every day I meet people who have travelled to the Island for business, or for a life event, and they are surprised by Jersey’s beauty and by the quality of its leisure offer. They often wish that they had come here sooner.’
With St Brelade’s Bay Hotel, La Place Hotel and Country Cottages, Chateau La Chaire and Longueville Manor having joined Luxury Jersey Hotels within the past two years, the group – which also includes The Atlantic Hotel, The Club Hotel & Spa, Hotel de France, Grand Jersey, L’Horizon Beach Hotel & Spa and The Royal Yacht – now represents the top ten luxury accommodation and fine dining providers in the Island.
‘As a group, we have now largely achieved our initial vision. But it is not enough to tell people that we have a wonderful selection of hotels and restaurants in the Island. We need to give them compelling reasons to visit,’ Mr Burke continued.
One of those reasons is Taste Jersey – a gastronomic celebration of the Island’s finest produce and culinary expertise, which is now entering its second year.
Run in partnership with the Jersey Evening Post, and supported by Visit Jersey, the five-week festival is one which Mr Burke believes plays to the Island’s strengths.
‘Event and experience-led tourism is huge now and it makes sense to build events around food and dining, which is an area in which the Island excels, and a message which Visit Jersey is heavily promoting.’
So well regarded is Jersey’s dining scene that the AA’s 2020 Restaurant Guide features no fewer than 18 restaurants, all of which have been awarded at least one Rosette.
‘After London and Edinburgh, the Island has more restaurants with AA Rosettes than anywhere else in the British Isles,’ said Mr Burke, ‘and a significant proportion of those feted restaurants are from Luxury Jersey Hotels members. That sends out a hugely powerful message about the quality of food and calibre of our hotel restaurants, and has to be a huge incentive for people to consider Jersey for a gastronomic holiday.’
Underpinning the fine-dining experiences that can be enjoyed within the group’s member restaurants is the quality of local produce.
‘This standard of cooking and dining would not be possible without the extraordinary produce that we are so lucky to enjoy in the Island,’ Mr Burke continued. ‘Without the farmers, fishermen, growers and other producers, the industry would not be where it is today. Even the best chefs in the world would admit that you can’t produce the results without top quality ingredients. The best results come when there is a true connection between the chefs and the produce.
‘We have truly world-class produce, world-class chefs and committed and ambitious restaurateurs and hoteliers whose investment is essential to facilitate this.’
Combining all of these elements, Taste Jersey is a ‘shop window’ for the Island.
‘The event comes at a brilliant time of year, as produce is coming into season for the spring. It is also a great opportunity for hoteliers to welcome the local community into their restaurants. The response from residents to last year’s inaugural Taste Jersey was brilliant, and all the members are really looking forward to building on that success and evolving their offers to deepen diners’ experiences.
‘One of the most exciting things about Taste Jersey is that there are no rules and no limits so every property has the freedom to show off its strengths and introduce unique experiences.’
Taste Jersey will run from 24 February to 29 March 2020.