When a celebrity loses it and want to retreat from the public eye, they often don’t hole themselves up in their multimillion mansions or slink into a shiny rehab facility. Think Elvis, think Howard Hughes. Where did they go with their vast fortunes and unlimited options? That’s right, they checked into a hotel.
Checking into a hotel of a certain calibre feels like true escapism. Grasping your key card in its little branded cardboard envelope and heading down an insulated corridor to the sound of intentionally relaxing musak, you can’t help but wonder what lies behind the doors you pass. Maybe it’s a couple on a short break, maybe it’s Elvis. All I know if that they’re probably having a good time. I’ve actually already considered it as a retirement option. Nursing home? No thanks. Your average residential care home definitely isn’t going to hold a Michelin star or have a spa. And those places cost a bomb. For less money you could book yourself into a five star hotel with hot and cold running room service and nightly entertainment.
We escape to a hotel as the environment has been expressly and expertly designed to be better than what you get at home. More often than not it’s the ‘summer holiday’ – a designated week or two away – or a work travel requirement that has us flicking through pay per view and wondering what the breakfast will be like. With both work and leisure travel now completely shot to hell by Covid-19, perhaps it’s the perfect time to start thinking of our island as a place to mentally escape rather than physically escape from. What’s more, the lack or tourists this year meant we have all our own fantastic hotels to choose from. This Autumn, escape to Jersey. That’s what we did last month as we checked in to The Club Spa for a couple of days of pandemic media detox.
Once our bags were safely placed in our room, it was straight into our soft robes to grab the last of some September sun around the pool. There’s something about being on a sun lounger in a robe just half an hour after work on a Thursday evening; suddenly one more day of the working week doesn’t seem too bad. After some freshening up, plungepool-style, we sauntered back to our room to dress for dinner. If you’ve got children, you’ll doubly appreciate the full, uninterrupted hour we spent having a shower and getting ready for an evening without badgering, squabbles or dinner and bedtime drama. The showers at The Club are worth noting for their eye-closing shoulder-massaging pressure that washed away the day and cleared my head for the evening ahead.
The Club is obviously working within Covid-19 guidelines and couples a metre apart filled the Bohemia bar. It was rewarding to see that the place was able to operate and still be relatively busy during the restrictions. A cocktail and a Gin&tonic later and we were ready to be escorted through to our table. We were against the wall on the banquette seating. Perfect for my wife’s comfort and, more importantly, restaurant-watching pleasure; always a win.
In the 16 year life of Bohemia, they have only had two changes of the guard in terms of head chef. Shaun Rankin defined the early years s he and Bohemia grew symbiotically, gaining their mutual Michelin star. Some may have worried when such a long-standing relationship hit rocky ground but his replacement Steve Smith not only competently took the reins in hand, but galloped forward, re-energising the menu and keeping the star firmly in place.
It’s a testament to the good management of the hotel and Bohemia that they consistently create a team that has kept us a Michelin Stared venue in Jersey. The restaurant’s third chapter with chef Callum Graham looks to be as good as any before and the quality of the service, atmosphere and, crucially, food is a delight.
It’s always worth arriving at The Club Hotel’s Bohemia restaurant with a hunger. Not least for the almost immediate warm bag of bread that arrives with seaweed butter. Several pieces and an amuse bouche later and we were settled and selecting wine. With the world having gone to chaos and the second of our planned holidays of the year cancelled, it seemed like the right time to go a little further down the wine list than usual.
As much as the pairing menu was tempting, tonight we’d opted for the A La Carte menu and I’d selected a white to start, a crisp Riesling. Not my normal choice, but recommended to accompany my Slow Cooked Hen’s Egg with Vegetable Fricassé & Wiltshire Black Truffle. My wife opted for red to accompany her Crispy Suckling Pork Belly & Shoulder, Turnip Salad & Consommé. Both starters were truly excellent. Mine was light and felt like a healthy yet delicious start to proceedings, ensuring less guilt for the chocolate dessert I’d already eyed up when we looked over the menu. I’d like to sample the Pork Belly too, but that’s for next time.
My wife and I are always mixed up by waiting staff as she’ll order a beer when I have a Gin&tonic and more often than not she’ll have the meat dish and I’ll have fish. Simple errors based on very non-PC assumptions. This evening we’d taken the usual choices but the impeccable service at Bohemia meant that there was no confusion! I plumbed for pan fried Brittany sea bass with red pepper & harissa purée, courgette textures, braised octopus & roasted tomato sauce while my wife went for the roasted saddle of lamb & braised lamb shoulder with artichoke & chardonnay purée, “barigoule” artichokes, black trompette & cavolo nero.
My sea bass was excellent; the perfectly weighted flavours of the harissa purée adding, rather than overpowering the flavour of the fish. The lamb was a little stronger in flavour according to my wife, but my designated taster mouthful was delicious as far as I was concerned. Portion sizes are ample, but not too much to put you off your dessert desires. My Chocolate, Peanut, Yuzu & Yoghurt Sorbet has every chocoholic’s dream and the Macadamia Paris Brest, Cherry & Tarragon Textures looked almost too good to eat.
The whole ambience of Bohemia is the perfect antidote to a stressful day and the anticipation that there is no need to drive home only compounds the feeling. You can elongate your dinner date, have a drink at the bar, safe in the knowledge that your trip to bed won’ t even require you to leave the building. Get upstairs, under those premium, perfectly pressed and crisp covers and drift away. If you’re looking for an antidote to global chaos, treat yourself to a staycation after work one day. You won’t regret it.
Get booked in >>
The following packages are available right now.
from £129 September / £119 October
Just the escape you need, enjoy a luxury overnight stay on a Frette dressed feather bed with full use of both indoor and outdoor pools, spa thermal suite and full English breakfast the following day.
Overnight Gourmet Break
from £319 September / £289 October
Enjoy the comfort of our Frette dressed featherbeds for an evening and head to the sanctuary of the spa for a swim and enjoy our salt water pool. After relaxing head to your room to prepare for a 7 Course Tasting Menu dinner in our Michelin Starred Bohemia restaurant. The following morning take a leisurely breakfast and swim and take advantage of a late 1.00pm checkout.
All package bookings are changeable up to midday on day of arrival, with a mind to Covid-19 restrictions.
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