Review by Fiona Duncan, published 29th August 2009.
Jersey, as I have lately discovered, has many attributes, but its hotels, with a few exceptions, are not among them.
It's an island that offers serious-minded suits scuttling about the financial district of St Helier, but also the extraordinary low tides that leave half as much again of the island exposed in a glistening, lunar landscape. The names of streets and shops are a reminder that France is just 14 miles away. Memories of the Occupation are recounted in the underground Jersey War Tunnels, and there's the renowned zoo, Durrell Wildlife.
Plenty to do, and plenty of good restaurants, but where to stay? Longueville Manor (of which I have written), the Atlantic Hotel and new boutique Cardington House present the best options among the island's top hotels. As for mid-price, nowhere stands out; for budget accommodation, Harbour View is probably your best bet. It has a hippie feel, a great view, a fun restaurant and a kooky owner.
Set back from the road, overlooking St Aubin's harbour and bay, its quirky front terrace has a homemade air, with its jumble of palm trees, umbrellas, decking, clay pots, painted signs and street lamps. It makes you smile as you arrive, as does owner Kelly Keadell, a small, blonde, black-spectacled whirlwind who directs with a mix of brisk efficiency and laid-back bonhomie.
Kelly's parents ran the guesthouse before her. She took over at an early age, gradually upgrading the handsome old house over time. There's more to do: the dark, drab staircase and landings, which sprout in two directions, need most attention; Kelly has plans for them.
As she does for the 16 bedrooms that are slowly being upgraded. Nothing fancy: inoffensive, inexpensive bedroom furniture and lamps, cream walls, attractive wooden Venetian blinds, patterned duvet cover, wicker armchair. Older-style rooms are the same idea – but older style. Best are the two two-bedroom suites, one on the top floor, with fine sea views, and one overlooking the garden.
Kelly used to run the restaurant, but has handed over to Danny. "How come there are so many groups of women eating together?" we say. She looks at us quizzically. "Haven't you met Danny?" she replies.
There's a thing going on with hot stones in the Channel Islands. Danny claims the idea came to him one day as he sat in the sun on the beach, but I went to several other restaurants whose chefs, by some strange coincidence, must have had the same revelation. It involves sizzling bits of meat or fish on your personal hot stone, brought to the table in this case in a mini wooden tub. My beef, I'm afraid, was tasteless. The main courses were better. Kelly's buffet breakfast, in the same room, was uninspiring.
Aubin’s Harbour, St Brelade, 01534 499460; www.harbourviewjersey.com . Double b&b from £90. Disabled access.