Thursday, 25 April 2013

More Island Notes

As it’s a slow blog day, a bit more on the Jersey trip, mostly about the hotel.

It’s called the Ommaroo, located on the coast road from St Helier to Gorey – just go up round the hairpins past Fort Regent, drop back down and it’s on the left, can’t miss it; though the car park is a bit harder to find, as I discovered three times. 

It can’t be on the right, because that’s the sea, or what passes for it here – a rather scruffy curve of beach with some anonymous industrial constructs to the far south.  Before these, you see an elliptical area, ringed by a  rather brutalist concrete wall, which fills with water at high tide.  There’s a rather charming blue and white art deco pier running out beside it.  Apparently this was (and possibly might still be) a swimming pool.  During the Occupation, it was the only location on the island at which German soldiers (officers mostly, one would guess), because they weren’t in uniform, could consort freely with local girls.  Afterwards, they might repair to the Ommaroo for entertainment.  None of the Jersey natives I speak to are able to confirm or deny this legend.

The inside of the hotel is multi-levelled.  Although there are notionally three (or possibly four, hard to say) floors, each of these contains many mini-floors, so that if you’re entering from, say, the car park (as we did, naturally), you will ascend and descend four flights of two or more steps before you reach the reception area.  The charming Polish receptionist will then cart your cases halfway back the way you came until he sends you off  in another direction (through the coffee lounge) whilst he hauls them up some stairs “because the lift isn’t strong enough.”  (Lord knows why – I’ve shown you the lift’s rules.)   The lift is just inside the door from the car park.

K. manages, with my guidance, not to fall up or down any of those steps (although she does succeed next day in tripping over the baby gate at the top of her grand-daughter’s stairs, whilst trying to evade their labradoodle, but that’s another story*.)

At breakfast next morning, the waiters present K. with a surprise – a birthday cake, which has been delivered by some relatives.  She’s overwhelmed, of course, and the waiters aren’t even slightly perturbed by finding that there aren’t any candles to light.  Some other guests (who turn out to share her surname) come over and sing Happy Birthday.

Later, I ask John the taxi, who’s from the Midlands but has lived here for thirty-five years, knows everything there is to know about the place, and doesn’t like it, why it’s called the Ommaroo.  “Nobody knows,” he says.

I believe him.

I think it's one of the most delightful hotels I've ever stayed in.  I have Somerset Maugham visions.


*By the way, anyone want to buy a labradoodle puppy sometime next autumn?


  1. I like those meandering sorts of hotels where there's an air of exploration every time you set off to find a different way to the dining room.

    I'm open to the idea of a labradoodle, especially a blond one.

  2. The Old Success at Sennen Cove is a bit like that.
    And the Atlantic in St Mary's,.
    In fact I think it's a requirement for seaside hotels is it not?

  3. do you have to cross a labradoodle with another labradoodle to have labradoodle puppies? That looks like an obvious question put like that, but round here they seem to add in another whole lab or poodle. Perhaps that would be a labradabradoodle or labrapoodledoodle.
    I have a jackapoo but I call him ASBO for short.

  4. I think that ideally you add spaniel, so that you can call it a cockerpoodledoo.

  5. I didn't even mention the free Sunday afternoon Northern Soul Disco, 1 - 8 pm, of which I sadly caught only ten minutes when buying a round in the bar. A truly zany joint.

    I know nothing about dog breeding, I'm afraid, nor if it's possible to select for different complexions. The mother-to-possibly-be is coloured rather like a box of assorted truffles that's been left out in the sun. I think your idea could catch on, though, Z.