In July 2017 we took a small break to Jersey in the Channel Islands to celebrate Sue’s mmmthieth birthday. This trip had been prompted by two reward tickets with Flybe, which we had accumulated on our Flybe credit card (see our credit card post for more information). But when we came to book our hotel via my favourite website Booking.com, finding an hotel was a different matter! After much searching, we came upon this little gem nestled directly on the beach. Perfect? Read on.
Fort D’Auvergne Hotel, part of the Morvan Hotels group, sits on a little outcrop on the bay at Havre Des Pas, on the Southern shores of Jersey, just ten minutes easy walk from St Helier.
It has commanding views across the bay, a promenade walk which leads directly to the sea front to the east and St Helier via a “coastal path” to the west. The beach sits directly to the side of the hotel, as does the free Lido which fills with fresh sea water after every tide.
Fort D’Auvergne has 65 rooms in what it describes as “traditionally” styled, a large bar area, a table d’hote restaurant with sea views, and its own heated indoor swimming pool.
We arrived late afternoon on our Friday to Monday stay, and where greeted by two very pleasant young ladies who quickly checked us in and gave us a whirlwind tour of the facilities, and even assisted in carrying our hand luggage to the room.
During our trawl of the internet we saw plenty of exotic hotels with £200-£500/night price tags, and we knew that the three star Fort D’Auvergne wasn’t going to be in quite the same class. But nevertheless, we had seen photos of the rooms on booking.com, and they were well appointed, with modern simple furniture comprising of bedside cabinets and headboard, chest of drawers, chromed lamp fittings and sockets, white cotton sheets, and quite modern bathroom facilities.
Unfortunately, our room (Number 25) wasn’t quite up to scratch. The headboard appeared to have been made by hand in the seventies, complete with an old white plastic two spotlight bar screwed above it, and the room itself was quite small in comparison to those we had viewed online; the tiled bathroom was looking a little dated and the whole room looked somewhat tired.
There was one double socket situated under the dressing table which serviced the kettle and any other gadgets you had with you, and a 24″ TV screen on a bracket high on the wall.
The bed was comfortable, bedding was pristinely clean but consisted of a well worn quilted bed cover, a woolen blanket and plain cotton sheets – not quite what I had expected and a bit of a let down if I’m being honest, given the still quite high price for the room.
Woodchip papered walls, a nice but badly fitted carpet and old fashioned thin printed cott0n curtains finished the decor.
It was a little like the room that had been forgotten during the refurbishment.
It was by no means unlivable and we chose to remain, but during our stay we discussed how easy it would have quickly brought it up to date – get rid of the dated headboard/ old fashioned spotlight, change the light fittings and switches and put some modern furniture in like we had seen in the other rooms, refit the carpet properly, put some more substantial curtains up, strip off the woodchip and have some feature wallpaper, change the door to the walk-in wardrobe to give it a more modern look, and the bathroom just needed stripping out and modernising – An extra socket at worktop height on the dressing table would be wonderful instead of crawling on the floor plugging stuff in, and a nice wall mounted 32″ screen would finish it off nicely.
I was just itching to get started!
Now I have to admit that this may have not been the room that was originally going to be allocated to us, but we asked for a room with a walk in shower and maybe this was all they had left. But honestly, that’s not much on an excuse. The room lacked style and it would have been so easy to give it a make over.
As you walked around the place you could see other little things that could just be easy and simply updated with a bit of decor to give the building a lift, without spending silly amounts of money.
And that was my only complaint about the hotel.
We were staying on a bed and breakfast basis, and I have to say the breakfast was very nice. The restaurant is well manned and you are looked after in proper restaurant fashion. The breakfast was both hot and cold buffet, and there were plenty of staff on hand to help with tea and coffee.
The hotel offered a table d’hote menu in the evening and a set dinner at £22.00 / head, which incidentally was the same price on booking.com – So it makes sense to me not to go directly for the full board basis, then you have the choice to eat in or try some of the superb restaurants in the area.
The evening meal was equally nice, with a nice choice to suit most tastes. We opted for honey and parsnip soup and breaded camanbert to start, with minute steaks in garlic butter for mains, which had an incredible flavour and were cooked to perfection, finishing off with apple pie and meringue. Very good value for money. The only thing we noticed was the service was a little rushed, with little time between courses. It would be a more pleasant experience if they slowed down a little.
Breakfast was 8-10 am and on our last day we had to leave the hotel around 6.30 am for the airport. When booking the cab, the receptionist asked if we had booked an early breakfast – we replied no, as we had not been aware of this option.
She promptly made a note that we would like breakfast at 5:45, and the night porter opened the restaurant for us, put the toaster on and prepared the cold buffet breakfast – much more than I had expected to be served with at that time of day, and we were very grateful for this thoughtfulness.
I only got to use the pool once, and I have to say it is probably the most modern part of the hotel – perfect temperature, about 8x20m and 1.4m all over depth. I was lucky enough to have the whole pool to myself on Saturday evening before we went out for dinner. A nice additional facility, make sure you bring your swimwear.
As per the rest of the people in Jersey, we found all of the staff to be perfectly friendly, and nothing was too much trouble.
We didn’t find it but somewhere outside they have a sun terrace with loungers, the pedestrian only promenade starts directly outside the hotel doors, and we could see the lido from our room and the tide washed up on the beach directly below our window. In fact we slept with the window open and were lulled to sleep by the gentle waves washing up the sandy beach.
Directly outside the hotel is the bus stop, ample taxi’s run up and down the island, and just across the road is a car hire company with cars starting at £48/day plus fuel. Ok for the day trip, maybe prices are cheaper if booked in advance.
Withinn walking distance are beach cafes and some very nice restaurants.
Check our other posts on Jersey for details of things further afield.
Apart from the slightly disappointing room, this is a lovely hotel, cheap in comparison with many other hotels in the area, ideally placed just outside St Helier town, and in a perfect position for beach lovers,
Would we stay again? I would want a better room guaranteed next time, but absolutely. We loved the place and would have no issue with staying with Fort D’Auvergne again.