Over the last year, The Atlantic Hotel in Jersey has been celebrating its golden anniversary. Founded by Henry Burke (Grafton 48) in 1970 and now run by Patrick Burke (Grenville 74), the hotel is renowned for its excellent dining, exceptional service and mesmerising views over Jersey’s dramatic west coast. To mark this milestone, we invited Harry Burke (Grenville 09), currently a PhD student in History of Art at Yale University, to speak to his father about what makes this family-run hotel unique and The Atlantic’s vision for a sustainable future.
The Atlantic Hotel is celebrating fifty years. What does this anniversary mean to you? I am immensely proud to have guided The Atlantic to its fiftieth anniversary in 2020. Having grown up watching my father, Henry establish the hotel, I feel privileged to have followed in his footsteps in showcasing our beautiful island to the world.
Over the years The Atlantic has won many awards, including four red stars and four rosettes from the AA, a Michelin Star for 11 consecutive years and was crowned ‘Independent Hotel of the Year’ at the prestigious Catey Awards in London in 2014. More recently, The Atlantic was named Hotel of the Year at the 2019 Jersey Style Awards. Consistency is everything in our business and I think these awards show that we have been successful in keeping the hotel relevant.
What makes family-run hotels special? It is rare these days to find a hotel of The Atlantic’s calibre that is still in family ownership. Summing up fifty years of memories, successes, trials and tribulations is not easy, but there is one constant element which best epitomises the hotel – the people who make up the wider Atlantic ‘family’.
We have been incredibly lucky to work with such a wonderful team. When they arrive at the hotel, guests say that they chose it because of its reputation or its architecture – its style is reminiscent of an ocean liner – but when they leave, they always say that the most special thing about the hotel is the staff. They are at the core of what we do. It is all about people looking after people.
How has tourism in Jersey changed since 1970? By the mid-70s, The Atlantic was firmly established and, as the industry grew in the island, business flooded in with demand often exceeding capacity. It may seem unbelievable today, but very little marketing was needed then. People would write to us in January requesting a brochure and would then write again to confirm their booking, which was usually for two weeks on full board.
Fashions change over time and these days we sense a growing desire in our guests to stay closer to home as they search for authentic local experiences and look to travel more sustainably. Jersey is an ideal destination for ‘slow travel’ and provides the perfect island break, close to home for the northern European market.
What might the next fifty years look like? This moment is very meaningful for the family and it would not be unreasonable to look back and celebrate our achievements over such a long period. However, in my view, this is a time to look forward and consider how we can secure a sustainable future for the hotel in every sense and what this might look like in practice.
Maintaining and continuing to improve our current luxury hotel accommodation, while adding a small number of self-catering units in our grounds, offers one prospect of improving the productivity of the business, thereby ensuring its viability in the years ahead. While it is too early to speculate on what form such new accommodation might take, the vision is one of a small number of low-density, luxury Eco Lodges carefully sited in the coastal landscape.
How did your time at Stowe influence your career in hospitality? I think there is a certain Old Stoic charm that lends itself well to hospitality.
I have no doubt that Stowe left an indelible impression on me, just as it did on my father, and probably accounts for our highly individual approach to hotelkeeping. It occurred to me early on that there are no rules and that, if you have a small hotel, why can’t your hotel be as good as a small hotel anywhere else in the world?
My time at Stowe showed me that sustainability is rooted in intergenerational conversations – I learned a great deal from my father, while you and your brothers George (Grenville 10) and Tom (Grenville 14) make sure that I continue learning! I believe it’s true to say that Stowe puts pupils first and The Atlantic puts guests first. These shared values ensure that each of these special places will continue to inspire people, I hope, for many years to come.
Offer for Old Stoics
The Atlantic Hotel would be delighted to offer Old Stoics a special discount of 10% when booking direct. For more information please contact Hayley Brockwell, Reservations Manager on 01534 744101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org