Huge spa with sauna, steam room, and fitness center
Beautiful indoor pool room with three pools and a whirlpool
Great Indian restaurant, lounge bar, and cafe
Outdoor terraces and stone-lined patios
Modern meeting and event facilities
Free Wi-Fi and parking
Breakfast included in room rate
Small, dated Standard Rooms
Some areas of the hotel could use updating
Rooms and some common areas clash with the hotel's historic grandeur
Hotel de France's grand perch on a hill above the town of St. Helier befits its majestic exterior from a gilded age long past. It's a four-pearl destination hotel for big events and spa weekends, with huge gorgeous grounds that other hotels in town can't match. The luxurious Ayush Wellness Spa could compete with any on the mainland in service and sophistication. Dining options, including a gourmet Indian restaurant, are generally excellent, and breakfast is included in the room rate. The rooms are the only downside -- they are either small and dated or "contemporary" and bland, holding little of the allure of the rest of the hotel.
Nineteenth-century building with state-of-the-art ayurvedic spa
Built in 1866 and last renovated in 2011, the Hotel de France comprises several different looks, with some areas (such as the cafe and the rooms) in need of a makeover. The entryway opens into a lobby with a stately, carved wood front desk with an open wooden staircase that swings up to a second floor under a glass skylight. Some halls are covered in a delightful wallpaper whose floral and aviary patterns invoke a vintage look, while other halls are bare white with modern glass and steel staircases.
The hotel is located just up a private driveway off the main road, about a five-minute drive or 15-minute walk from the center of St. Helier. Elizabeth Castle in St. Aubin's Bay is a bridge too far to walk, but Jersey's best shopping and cafes are within relatively easy reach. Other notable attractions include the Victorian-era Central and Beresford Markets, Jersey Museum, and Jersey St. Saviour's Church.
The 126 rooms are spotless and well-maintained, with some more recently refurbished than others, though the differences are between a dated vintage look and an equally dated "contemporary" look. More traditional dark wood furniture can be found in the former, with more colorful updates to the furnishings in the latter, but not everyone will appreciate the pastel color palette. Standard Rooms are small but cram in a little desk and a pair of sitting chairs. The bathrooms are white tiled affairs with leafy green trim, with shower/tub combos. The more luxurious Spa Rooms have similarly dated furnishings and peach walls that fail to invoke any of the grandeur of the building. The balconies and modern stone-tiled bathrooms with rainfall showers and separate soaking tubs, however, are a nice addition.
Ayush Wellness Spa, multiple indoor pools, Indian restaurant, bar and cafe
The main attraction here is the Ayush Wellness Spa, a modern indulgence brimming with ayurvedic concepts and facilities that sprawl over 17,000 square feet. There is a yoga studio, relaxation room, and six treatment rooms, along with a steam room and sauna. The beautiful pool room is part of the spa, housed in a room warmed by stone and excellent natural light. There are three pools -- an infinity lap pool, a cold plunge pool, and a warm, shallow soaking pool. There's a large whirlpool and numerous lounge chairs spread throughout the space. An adjacent fitness room with state-of-the-art treadmills, cardio bikes, and weight trainers round out the wellness facilities. The hotel is a popular event venue, with outdoor patios and 11 meeting rooms that can accommodate a variety of functions.
There are several dining possibilities on-site, starting with a hot breakfast buffet that's included in the rate. Cafe Aroma serves a brasserie-style menu of light breakfasts, sandwiches, small plates of other fare, and coffee. Saffrons Restaurant serves gourmet fusion cuisine with traditional Indian dishes and flavor profiles executed with European sensibilities.