I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at this wonderful hotel which is, quite simply, pure luxury. Whenever I return, I’m relieved to see that it has retained its timeless elegance, staff still firmly believe in service with a genuine smile, its location remains as enticing as ever and, well, I could list a long list of superlatives fitting to this family-run, art deco-influenced hotel. The Atlantic exudes a cool, refreshing and relaxing vibe exemplified by the hues of blue, white and sand. With its startling white facade and equally impressive interior boasting pillars, wood flooring, art-adorned walls and ceiling fans, a Mediterranean or even Caribbean feel runs throughout the hotel.

On a recent visit, I had the pleasure of sitting down with owner and managing director, Patrick Burke, to chat about his stylish hotel…

Tell me about the hotel’s history…

Our family business was started by my father, Henry, who brought us to Jersey in ’59 and purchased a guesthouse – The Penguin – overlooking the beach at Portelet. So I grew up with the hospitality business all around me.

For years, my father – who became president of the local hotel and guesthouse association – thought that Jersey needed a new hotel. So, when he felt he’d taken his guesthouse as far as he could, he wanted a fresh challenge and started looking for a new opportunity.

Then, this site became available in the late-1960s. A small, single-storey 1930s guesthouse stood on the site and my father, realising it was a great location, had the vision of buying the property, knocking it down and replacing it with a brand new hotel.

The original Atlantic Hotel –  which opened its doors in 1970 – wasn’t as we see it today: it was a stark 1970s style property. Initially, all his business friends thought he was mad to build a new hotel here because, back then, the location was regarded as rather remote. But it was an immediate success.

On Jersey in those days, most hotels had started as private homes which were converted into guesthouses. So, The Atlantic was one of the first purpose-built hotels on the island. From that moment, my father was determined to turn it into a property of international standard.

When did you take over the running of the hotel?

In 1987, he asked if I’d become managing director and take the hotel forward. So, from then until now, it’s been a privilege being custodian of this business.

In terms of my background, I studied at the University of Surrey – which involved an industrial year at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London – before becoming a graduate trainee at the Carlton Tower Hotel in Cadogan Place, London. After that, I worked at the Intercontinental Hotel at Hyde Park Corner before working around Europe. So I gained plenty of experience.

I never felt pressure to return home to work with my father or take over from him. But there came a time in my late twenties when it seemed the natural moment to come back. I guess I’d reached the point where I started appreciating what was really important in ife.

By then, the hotel was very successful but had reached an important juncture. When it came to deciding how the hotel could develop for the future, my father decided that was the moment a fresh set of eyes was needed.

The years 1985-87 were very special because I worked alongside him, absorbing and learning from his experience. In fact, I probably learnt more from him than all the other years put together.

The hotel’s style seems very Art Deco, doesn’t it?

That look came from one of many projects I managed, the first of which was a five-year development programme in the late-1980s. We added extra suites in the Garden Wing, built a health club, extended the kitchen and refurbished the entire property. That’s what led to us becoming members of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. That has been a big part of the journey and we’ve learnt so much from being members.

We’re always looking to improve – that’s always been our philosophy. For example, we’d always been a four-star hotel but wanted to achieve four AA red stars. So, in 2000 we commissioned an architect to revisit the property’s design which led to the remodelling of the hotel’s exterior. The bedrooms were very small in those days, so we incorporated the very large balconies in order to increase the bedroom space. Then we added Juliet balconies instead.

It was a huge project which meant closing for six months. But the transformation of the Golf and Ocean View bedrooms resulted in us achieving our four red stars, which we still have today. We’re proud of that achievement because it means The Atlantic is considered to be a very special hotel by the AA.


You mentioned that becoming members of Small Luxury Hotels of the World was a special moment…

Yes. We were among the first hotels to join the organisation which launched in the early 1990s. Today it’s a worldwide concern boasting over 500 hotels but we’re still the only hotel in the Channel Islands which is part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

I started attending the annual conferences and got to know lots of people. Then, in the late-1990s, I was invited to join the international board. I spent around 20 years on the board and was asked to be chairman in 2006. In that role, I thought it was important to visit other hotels and, to date, have been to 306 SLH hotels around the world

Do you get lots of repeat customers?

Yes, it’s incredible. A number of factors bring customers to this hotel, such as the architecture, location, being next to a golf course and so on. But when I speak to visitors at the end of their stay about what they enjoyed, the answer is often the same: it’s the way they were looked after and the hospitality shown by the team which made their visit so special.

Jersey has this extraordinary track record: of every two people who come here, one will return. That’s a pretty good score and we benefit from that.

Have any famous people stayed at the hotel?

I wouldn’t talk about current clients but over the years, yes, we’ve had our share of incredible characters. In the 1970s, when the hotel was new and Jersey was thriving, it was a cool place to visit. Also, tax rates were high on the UK mainland which led to people spending months away from home. One year, we had Led Zeppelin stay the entire summer season.

Did the hotel appear in the popular TV series Bergerac, which was filmed on Jersey?

Repeatedly, but not necessarily as The Atlantic. In one episode, we were a tennis club. I think the series was brilliant for Jersey and had an enormous impact in sustaining what was already a successful tourism industry. It provided wonderful exposure, especially as the programme was syndicated all around the world. There is talk of reviving the drama which, if it happens, would be fantastic.

The dining experience here is very special, isn’t it?

Absolutely, food has always been important here. Back in the 1970s and ’80s we had a brilliant Italian chef who was probably the best on Jersey.

Following the Millennium Project, when the bedrooms were improved, we changed the restaurant style and went for  distinctive white walls everywhere. Once we’d created the restaurant, we turned our attention to the service and wine list. Now, we’ve got around 400 different wines in the cellar!

In 2004, we appointed Mark Jordan and had a big re-launch of the restaurant as Ocean. Our initial ambition was to achieve three AA rosettes but we exceeded that by getting four. These have been regained thanks to our current chef, Will Holland. To me, having a four AA red star hotel and a four AA rosette restaurant in one place is very special – few hotels in the country can claim that. It shows that there is an all-round excellence because it’s a good hotel with a good restaurant.

The Atlantic is an award-winning hotel. Which award are you most proud of?

The 2014 Catey Award for Best Independent Hotel. Every year, The Caterer throws a massive black tie event for all sectors of the hospitality industry. It’s in the Great Room at Grosvenor House and usually attended by over a thousand people. So to be awarded best independent hotel was the most extraordinary moment.

But other special awards include a Longest Serving Member Award, presented in 2022 by Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Then, in 2023, Pride of Britain Hotels – which we’re proud to be part of – crowned Ocean as Restaurant of the Year.

I understand The Atlantic Hotel is a Living Wage Employer?

Yes. My wife, Treena – who’s my co-director and looks after the finances – and I believe the business is all about people so a little while back we asked ourselves how we could become a better employer? That led to us becoming a Living Wage Employer. We were the first hotel on the island to commit to that and, I believe, still the only one. Now, even the most junior staff member earns quite a bit above minimum wage. That’s the most obvious way to demonstrate to our staff – and we employ up to 70 in the summer – that they’re important.

I see package holiday companies, including TUI and Jet2, advertise stays at The Atlantic?

We work with Premier Holidays and appear on the British Airways website, Jet2, TUI and some European operators. We get a little bit of business from them all but they’re not the main source of our business – that tends to come direct and includes many guests who return time and time again.

More information:

The Atlantic Hotel

Le Mont de la Pulente

Jersey JE3 8HE

T: 01534 744101