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After meeting my wife at the bus stop in St. Aubin’s, we took a short walk along the sea front where restaurants looked out over the harbour. Then up a steep hill and there at the top of the hill the welcoming lights of the Somerville Hotel. And thankfully, it was as warm as I had hoped back at the bus stop back in St. Helier.
As guests go through the main entrance the reception desk is tucked away behind a dividing wall off to the right. To the left is the way to the bar and restaurant area. Through the glass of the dining area the harbour lights of St. Aubin’s glinted against the blackness of the night. From those there is a continuous necklace of lights reaching all the way around to St. Helier. Behind the bar area and restaurant is the library which, as all libraries should, has a collection of books for guests to read. There is a wall mounted flat screen TV and a selection of board games in the cupboards beneath the bookshelves.
Our room, 210, was at the back of the hotel, overlooking the roof of the kitchens and up to a house behind. We weren’t there for the view though. The room itself had everything a guest would need. A very comfortable bed, bedside tables, armchairs with a table, dressing table that could be used as a desk, a wardrobe and a bathroom. The bathroom was equipped with all the essentials including a bath with a really good shower unit whose pressure was just short of defoliating. The one idiosyncrasy was that the bathroom floor had a distinct slope to it from the outer wall inwards.
Both of us were too tired and thirsty to make the effort to go for dinner even though the view was very tempting. We elected for room service which consisted of two rounds of sandwiches and a couple of thirst-quenching soft drinks which came to less than £20.
After an early start that day, we were both glad to be able to have an early night. If there was any noise down in the kitchen, neither of us heard it.
The hotel history available at the reception desk does not give the date the first bricks were laid for what was originally a private house. The earliest record of the property being sold showed it changed hands for the sum of £430 plus £80 for the stabling in 1877. In the very late 19th century, the house was extended, redesigned in the style of a Swiss chalet and became a hotel hardly changed in shape and size to this day. The next time the hotel was sold was in 1902 when it changed hands for £4,011, 16 shillings, and three pence, the equivalent of £465,800 in 2018 without including the effect of property inflation.
As with the rest of the Channel Islands the Somerville had a very dark period in its history between June 1940 and May 1945 when it was used as accommodation for German troops occupying the islands.
Reconstruction and renovation started in December 1946 and the hotel reopened for guests in July 1947. In 1985, the hotel was sold to its present owners, the Dolan family and became a part of their group "Dolan Hotels" which owns two other hotels on Jersey. They refurbished and extended maintaining the Swiss chalet appearance which guests will still see today.
Off peak a room for two adults with bed and breakfast can be as low as £75 (checked in January 18). In peak times (July), this will be £200 for a mid-week one night stay. Weekend stays for July 2018 have already been sold out but the search sites showed £210.
This is included in the room price and guests have a choice of either the continental or cooked. If the hotel is quiet, guests will choose what they want cooked from a menu with unlimited combinations as there is no hot buffet with the standard ingredients for a full English. On busy mornings, the hot buffet is available, plus any short orders from the menu, such as scrambled eggs, poached eggs and fish dishes.
Service and Housekeeping
From the moment of check in through to departure this place is guest orientated. Service is polite, efficient and professional. In the reception area, the lobby, the bar, restaurant and in the corridors with the housekeeping team the same high standards are maintained.
The room we had was well presented with plenty of toweling and a couple of bath robes. The tea and coffee facility was kept topped up and the pack of shortbreads from the kitchen were very welcome.
We did not use the restaurant for dinner so I cannot comment on this.
Would I stay again?
Most definitely and in preference to the St. Brelade’s Hotel we stayed in in December 2017.
Would I recommend this hotel to friends and strangers?