Stay The Night: Amani, Jersey
Warm weather and an idyllic location make Amani the perfect base for a Channel Islands spring break, says Kate Simon
Kate Simon is the Travel Correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. She was Travel Editor of The Independent on Sunday from 2005 to 2011. Kate is also the co-founder of Little Black Book Creative (www.lbbcreative.co.uk), which offers editorial services, media relations consultancy and travel-writing training.
Sunday 26 February 2012
It's hot on the cliff path today. I pause to take off my sweatshirt and catch sight of two kayaks dancing around a rock in the waters below. Just beyond, a speedboat draws a steady white line across the indigo bay. This could be midsummer on the French Riviera; in fact, it is spring in Jersey.
I started my walk at St Brelade's Bay, a pretty cove on the island's south-west coast. This wide sweep of sheltered sand is popular with families, a place to power down little legs then retire for a well-earned ice cream at one of the cafés on the promenade.
Just above the beach, tucked behind the main road, sit my lodgings for the week: Amani, a collection of eight properties – including two apartments, one four-bedroom and six two-bedroom modern houses – that huddle around a small courtyard. Each house has a front terrace, set with table and chairs, useful for quiet relaxation in the fading afternoon light. And while the houses are in rather cosy proximity to each other, the pretty, fragrant landscaping of shrubs, bushes and palm trees provides a buffer from the neighbours.
I stayed in a two-bedroom house, which had an open-plan ground floor, with a lounge, dining area and kitchen. Upstairs, the master bedroom had a balcony overlooking the gardens and a double bed dressed in white linen as well as a freestanding roll-top bath, while the twin bedroom had an en-suite shower. There is something of the Eighties in the styling of the interiors, which are heavy on dark leather, chrome, and glass, with Venetian blinds and flashes of red through cushions and other furnishings. However, ultimately the comfort wins through.
The food and drink
All the properties have fully equipped kitchens with dishwashers. The nearest shops are five minutes' drive north at Red Houses, including a new branch of Waitrose. For locally caught fish and shellfish, try Captain Lobster (01534 615815; captainlobster.co.uk) at Victoria Pier in the capital, St Helier, 20 minutes' drive away. Just across the road from Amani, on the beach promenade, the Crab Shack (01534 744611; crabshackjersey.co.uk), which opens this Thursday for the spring/summer season, serves excellent seafood in a casual atmosphere, including fritto misto, lobster salad, and fruits de mer that features local chancre crab. Next door, the more formal sister restaurant Oyster Box (01534 743311; oysterbox.co.uk), which is open all year, also focuses on seafood and has an à la carte menu if you want to push the boat out.
Generous in-cottage extras include bathrobes, flat-screen satellite TV in the lounge and bedrooms and free Wi-Fi. Meanwhile, L'Horizon Hotel (01534 743101; handpickedhotels.co.uk), a couple of minutes' walk along the main road, has a health club and spa that non-residents can pay £15 to use for the day. Absolute Adventures (07797 736411; absolutejersey.co.uk), based at St Brelade's Bay, runs activities such as coasteering, kayaking and wakeboarding. Arthur Lamy (01534 853525; arthurthebluebadge guide.com) leads enjoyable tours of the island, on foot or bicycle, and can tell you about the island's forthcoming walking festivals. (Jersey loves a walking festival.) Elizabeth Castle and other ancient forts, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Jersey War Tunnels are among this small island's many sights worth seeing (01534 448800; jersey.com).
The ground-floor apartment is designed to accommodate guests who use wheelchairs. Children are welcome. One pet (cat or dog) is allowed in one of the two-bedroom houses.
Rental of a two-bedroom house starts at £892.50 per week, including a small hire car.
Amani Self-Catering, St Brelade's Bay, Jersey JE3 8EF (01534 608062; amani-jersey.com).
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