“ 53 Val Plaisant / St Helier / Jersey JE2 4TB / Channel Islands „
I recently spent a long weekend in St Helier, and having absolutely no prior knowledge of the Channel Islands at all had no idea where to stay. I had booked my trip with British Airways and upon checking the hotels they offered I decided to book the Hampshire based on both price and location.
The Hampshire Hotel is located on Val Plaisant, which is about a ten minute walk from the centre of St Helier. There is a small Co-Op Locale store next door to the hotel and a couple of restaurants nearby but the area is generally residential and quiet so if you want to be in heat of the action, the Hampshire isn't going to be for you.
The hotel is about a 25 minute taxi ride from Jersey Airport, which cost us just shy of £15.
The hotel is a period property which has a modern extension but the façade is, I suspect, Edwardian or Victorian and has stucco features.
We arrived at the hotel in the early evening, tired after a delayed flight and also without my daughter's case, which BA had mislaid.
We were met by a bright and airy lobby which although not particularly large had a small seating area with tables.
The receptionist was very friendly and helpful but I was only given one key card and never asked if I wanted another one or not. As it happened I didn't need another one but it would have been nice to be asked.
We were told we were in room 2, which was located directly across from the reception desk on the ground floor.
I had decided to pay a small supplement for a premier room at the Hampshire. I have to say I was rather underwhelmed at the "premier" aspect when we got into our room. We had no view at all - except for what seemed to be the basement and service areas at the back of the hotel. The room wasn't particularly large either - there was a double bed, two bedside tables, a chest of drawers, desk and wardrobe.
The bottom drawer on the chest of drawers was used to store tea and coffee making facilities and a small hairdryer. On the top of the chest of drawers was a small flat screen TV.
Fortunately the bed was much better. We had a kingsize bed which I was sharing with my daughter and we both agreed the bed was very comfortable. The bed had 4 pillows and a couple of cushions and neither of us felt we needed to ask for extra pillows at any point.
The bathroom was a long and narrow with a door which had to be fully closed as if you left it even slightly ajar it would slowly, and rather noisily, open. At one end of the bathroom was a shower cubicle, with the toilet at the other. In the middle was the wash hand basin which had a decent storage area above it and a good sized mirror. Toiletries were supplied but only a combined shampoo and conditioner, a shower gel and some hand soap.
There's nothing much wrong with the Hampshire Hotel but nor is there much which is really impressive.
Perhaps I should have asked for a room with a view on arrival, but I was so tired I decided to stay put even though it stuck in my craw that the view was awful, and I felt as if I was in a basement due to the surrounding buildings.
We were staying on a bed and breakfast basis and during our three night stay we had breakfast twice. Once again the experience was uninspiring with a small buffet set up in the hotel restaurant. The bacon was generally undercooked which my daughter was particularly irked at such is her love of crispy bacon. She was also unimpressed with the sausages although I found them better than the bacon. I don't really understand why they couldn't have offered some crispy bacon on the buffet - they were able to offer a choice of fried eggs with soft or hard yolks after all. Scrambled eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans were also available along with fruit and cereals.
To be fair the hotel did offer proper fresh orange juice and the toaster did actually toast both sides of bread at the first attempt but the best thing about breakfast was the attentive service we got from the restaurant staff.
On our first night we also had dinner at the hotel restaurant. There were only a handful of other diners and the menu was pretty limited. We decided to opt for steak which was cooked nicely to order but nothing special. The service we got was once again better than the food. I paid £40 for two steak dinners with no starter or dessert and one soft drink each so it wasn't exactly cheap. There is a Portuguese restaurant a short walk from the hotel which we visited on our second night which was far superior to the hotel restaurant and offered better value for money in my opinion.
The hotel also has a bar which overlooks the heated outdoor pool. We didn't visit either so I can't really comment on them - although had the weather been better we would have used the pool.
The TV in our room was pretty poor. I don't go on holiday to watch TV but it would have been nice to have a decent picture and a better selection of channels. What we got was BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4, Channel 5, CBeebies and a channel explaining the joys of Sky TV which was a bit galling in light of the fact as viewers we weren't getting any of the perceived benefits of Sky.
The wifi in our room wasn't brilliant either - it dropped periodically and was slow too. Wifi is available in public areas of the hotel too but we didn't try this as I draw the line at letting my daughter check her phone for tweets whilst we are eating.
Maid service was swift and efficient. On our first day we went for breakfast and returned to a room which had been made up, which was pretty impressive. Unfortunately this efficiency extended to the maid knocking on my door twice on our last morning despite the fact I had the "do not disturb" sign on the door, which I have to say was annoying.
The Hampshire Hotel is a three star hotel and this seems fair to me. The hotel is clean and comfortable but doesn't offer guests anything particularly impressive with the possible exception of the staff on reception and in the restaurant.
My daughter's bag arrived 24 hours after us and this was delivered to our room (not that it had far to travel from reception to our room) and we always got a welcome whenever we came back from forays outside the hotel.
As for cost, the rack rate for a premier room in high season is £109 per night including breakfast. I ended up paying a little more than this as I made the foolish presumption that British Airways were offering me a good price on the hotel when they actually charged more than the rate on the Hampshire Hotel's website. That'll teach me not to check I guess but I would urge people considering this hotel in conjunction with a BA flight to check the rate against the hotel's rate as you may well be better booking the hotel separately.
The location is quiet, the service is good but everything else seems just average. Perhaps if I had got a room with a better view I may have felt more positive about the experience but I honestly find Premier Inns offer rooms which are better overall. It's just a shame I suppose there isn't a Premier Inn in Jersey!