When Groucho Marx proclaimed that, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept people like me as a member,” he became an anti-hero poster boy for a generation jaded by snobbish guest lists and antiquated membership rules. However, I can bet that the venue in question, Beverly Hills Friar’s Club, didn’t have quite as luxurious a spa as The Club Hotel in Jersey, and if it had he would have rephrased his witticism to include the parenthetical postscript, “(but can I still use the pool?)”. There are no snooty doormen to assess my credentials at the 5-star hotel, just friendly receptionists who check us in whilst offering local knowledge and advice as well as confirming our spa session and meal in their Michelin-starred restaurant. Sorry, Groucho, it looks as if I’m more than happy to be a (temporary) member here.
Heading into our master suite on the 3rd floor, I’m impressed by the balance between comfort and class; a soft sofa in the lounge area lies adjacent to a glass table with thick, glossy Jersey lifestyle magazines opposite a wall-mounted flatscreen TV. The subtle, understated artwork (which is a theme continued throughout the hotel), striped brown carpet and floral smell exuded from scented sticks lend to the homely feel, whilst the stylish desk lamp on the writing bureau, plush sink fitting and fold-down shower seat bring a strong element of sophistication. There’s a king-size bed and another TV, bureau and comfy chair in the bedroom and an en suite, bringing the grand total of bathrooms to two, which means that I’m able to challenge my girlfriend to a shower race in the morning (she declines, so in my mind that’s a forfeit and I’m victorious…although what exactly I’ve won, I’m not too sure).
With a view overlooking the pool, this is a smashing apartment-type suite that I’d be quite happy staying in all night; however, the hotel is also home to Bohemia, the aforementioned renowned restaurant where we have an absolutely sensational meal that justifies their reputation as a destination dining venue.
In the morning, we head down to the breakfast area, past the Honesty Bar where guests can help themselves to drinks and write their tab in the book (a lovely touch), and enjoy a slap-up feast of lemon-drizzled kippers, toast, coffee, fresh fruit, cold meats and cheese. After the Herculean effort that it has required of my body to ingest this amount of top-notch food in such a short space of time, I decide to give it a treat and head to the spa area for an hour-long massage.
We’re greeted by a bevy of genial young women, one of which guides us down to the relaxation area, past the pool in which I spend the following morning doing laps to try and burn off the delicious calories ingested during this trip. Sitting back on our loungers with the option of soft music played through headphones and a dried fruit, water and herbal tea bar just a few feet away, it’s tempting to stay in here for the afternoon, but after half an hour of chilling we’re led back upstairs to a cosy, atmospheric room where the masseuses deliver one of the best massages that either of us have ever had (and we spent a lot of time hopping from parlour to parlour when travelling throughout South East Asia…what else were we going to do, see the sights?!). Halfway through the massage, the Gladiator soundtrack comes on and I remember first watching that movie and being sad that I’d never be able to utter the words that Maximus does when asked what’s wrong, “I’m tired…from battle.” Without enlisting, this is (hopefully) the closest thing that I’ll come to living out that fantasy, so I let my faux war wounds and aching joints be kneaded into welcome submission.
Afterwards, we return to The Club Hotel pool area and try out the various treatment rooms; the sauna and steam room are super for sweating out last night’s wine and I’m tempted by the curiously titled Shower Experience; it sounds like something that an ex-con might discuss with his therapist, however, I brave the dark corner and am pleasantly surprised at the various jets of water shooting over me from every angle.
Once we are clean and dried, it’s time for afternoon tea; we grab a table in Bohemia’s bar area and select a brace of leaf-types from the ten adventurously-labelled Kilner jars that are placed on a tray in front of us (Arabian Magic, anyone?). A round of sandwiches with classic British fillings get things off to a good start, followed by a triple-tier stand of miniature, cakes, delicacies and fancies as well as four scones that are served with homemade clotted cream and jam. The sweet nibbles are aesthetically beautiful, such care and assiduity put into crafting the rococo designs that it almost seems a shame to gobble them down…almost.
With relaxed muscles, full bellies and a new admiration for the high-end tourist trade of this fun little island, I can’t wait to return in warmer months to check out The Terrace roof bar as well as enjoying all of the hotel’s wonderful amenities all over again. Would that make me more of a permanent member of The Club? Well, would it, Groucho? Oh, go have a cigar…
The Club Hotel and Spa, Green Street, St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, JE2 4UH.
Tel: +44 (0)1534 720371
The hotel is located in the capital St. Helier and is a short walk from the centre of town and a mile from the Jersey Opera House. The Jersey Museum is a 10-minute walk and Jersey Airport is a twenty-minute taxi ride. easyJet flies from London Gatwick to Jersey with prices starting from £29.49 per person (one-way, including taxes and based on two people on the same booking). Complimentary parking is available at the hotel for guests.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Hotel & Spa
Number of Rooms: 38 Deluxe Double Rooms and 8 Suites
Price Band: High
Insider Tip: Spa Tip: The Salt Cabin is a really fun place to unwind.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10
David Harfield is the director of PepperStorm Media and writes about his three passions: food, booze and travel.
Photographs courtesy of The Club Hotel and Spa