CHARMER: Amid classic Jersey towns, such as St Aubin, are a multitude of hip new haunts to tempt the trendy traveller
Boutique hotels, trendy bistros and tasty seafood. LOUISE RODDON finds Jersey, a small Channel Island, that's now thinking big
SOMETHING extraordinary has happened in Jersey. This wedge-shaped mass of green fields fringed by arcs of powder sand and criss-crossed with country lanes, has undergone a radical makeover.
The place that gave its name to a potato, a cow and a woolly jumper has shaken off its cosy image of low-key, relaxing breaks for the elderly, in favour of something altogether more hip.
Jersey is now home to two Michelin-starred restaurants on an island just nine miles by five as well as a generous smattering of new beachside bistros that pride themselves on using locally-sourced ingredients. Click here now for amazing deals to Jersey!
Then there are the spas. Seven in total including Ayush, the first ayurvedic centre in the UK, alongside Grand Jersey's award-winning Spa.
Mix in the island's stylish hotels, such as Cardington House, a grand Victorian mansion which stands above the pretty harbour town of St Aubin, and you have a winning combination for a stylish weekend break.
Here's our guide to the best of chic Jersey: WHERE TO STAY:
Grand Jersey has had a stylish makeover with 123 boutique-style rooms and an elegant Champagne Lounge. In spring it's often warm enough to enjoy breakfast on The Terrace overlooking pretty St Aubin's Bay.
The hotel is also home to an award-winning spa spread over two floors with a heated indoor pool.
For a more intimate experience try The Club Hotel & Spa, the brainchild of 30-something hotelier Lawrence Huggler. Keen to introduce the type of sophisticated establishments normally found only in London, he has realised his dream with a St Helier townhouse just a stone's throw from the beach.
Each of the 46 rooms and suites have floor-to-ceiling windows and stylish granite bathrooms. The lavish spa beckons with mud wraps, a hydrotherapy bench and thermal treatments in the salt cabin. Want incredible offers to Jersey? Click here now...WHERE TO EAT:
Bohemia, the Michelin-starred establishment attached to The Club Hotel & Spa, is the creation of celebrated chef Shaun Rankin.
It's a dazzling restaurant with leather chairs, banquette seating, Lalique glass and a natural palette of colours. Here, island ingredients such as Jersey potatoes, scallops, crab and tomatoes are given a brilliantly inventive twist. Tuck into a three-course set lunch including saffron linguine with Jersey crab, organic salmon with a beetroot risotto and horseradish emulsion followed by vanilla pannacotta for £21.50pp.
If you want something more laid-back, head to the Oyster Box in St Brelade's Bay with fabulous sea views. The Jersey lobster with garlic butter and new potatoes is something else and of course there are fresh oysters aplenty.
Also serving traditional seafood dishes in a relaxed atmosphere is Suma's in Gorey, about four miles north-east of St Helier. DON'T MISS:
The Jersey Museum's Marilyn exhibition encapsulates the island's hot new look, showcasing an incredible collection of costumes worn by the screen idol and never seen in public. Robes, keepsakes and trinkets include the sparkly red number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The exhibition runs until September 30. BE PAMPERED:
Try the Some Like it Hot stone therapy at Spa Sirene at The Royal Yacht Hotel, 75-minutes of blissful massage with hot stones and contrastingly cool marble slathered in oil. Price £88.
If you're feeling a little worn out, enjoy a rejuvenating Skin Brightener Facial at the Grand Jersey's Spa.
Price £55. There's also the 3hr 40min Like Royalty treatment, including a Spa Cuisine lunch. Price £165. RETAIL THERAPY:
St Helier is dotted with jewellery stores and boutiques. Pebble on Market Street offers clothing collections from European and American designers, with personal tailoring. Owner Arzu Kara also designs her own collection. Hettich is Jersey's most exclusive jewellery store with a dazzling display of bracelets, necklaces, rings and the finest watches. THE KNOWLEDGE:
Grand Jersey (01534 722301/www.grandjersey.com) offers doubles from £135 per night (two sharing), B&B. The Club Hotel & Spa (01534 876500/ www.theclubjersey.com) offers doubles from £215 per night (two sharing), B&B.Cardington House (01534 748000/www.cardingtonhouse.com) offers exclusive use of the five-bedroom house from £1,250 per night, B&B. Flybe (0871 700 2000/www.flybe.com) offers return flights to Jersey from various UK airports from £72. Jersey Tourism: 01534 448800/www.jersey.com