Bringing together coast, countryside, photogenic harbour towns and fine food – all on an easy-to-navigate island – Jersey is a shrewd choice for a few days away; and making the Moorings in Gorey Pier your base, an astute move. This restaurant with rooms is all about the food, you might say: popular with locals and guests alike for its Gallic-flavoured fare. But the Moorings is about signature cocktails (barrel-aged negronis, Moorings campari spritz), too, and a celebration of bonhomie that begins with apéritifs at the bar and culminates in nightcaps after dinner. It’s about cosy, luxe rooms and owners Matthew and Iselin’s local knowledge, which means making the most of your time here becomes effortless. The hotel’s location in the island’s scenic east puts beaches, castles and cliff-top walks right on your doorstep.
Get this when you book through us:
A mini bottle of House Barrel Aged Negroni in room (just dial reception to ask for ice)
11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £126.87, including tax at 5 per cent.
Rates are room only; breakfast is available from £12.50.
Owner Matthew is from the third generation of a local family of restaurateurs. Unearthing old hotel guest books tucked away in dusty cupboards, Matthew and Iselin discovered the hotel’s starry past amid entries from David Niven, Susan Hampshire, Chay Blyth and Gerald Durrell.
At the hotel
Café-bar, yoga studio, e-bikes to hire. In rooms: free WiFi, smart TV, free bottled water, espresso machine and kettle, Velvé bath products.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms are dressed in a grown-up palette of soft pastels with designer furnishings, such as Designers Guild fabrics, Tate & Darby rugs, Abi Overland prints and Collectiviste light fittings. Second-floor rooms are better tucked away from the bar and restaurant, and include deluxe double room 14, which has harbour views from its wide windows. First-floor sea-facing rooms come with French doors and modest balconies.
There’s no spa at the Moorings, but the hotel has a dedicated yoga and pilates studio on the first floor, open to guests and locals, which hosts two or three classes each day.
You’ll want to channel fisherman chic: pack chunky knits, hardy denim, big-pocket coats and serious boots. For nights in the restaurant, add glamour with a change of footwear, plus cashmere, layers of shimmer or statement jewels.
With no lift, sadly there’s no access for wheelchair users due to the age of the building.
Up to two children (under 12) stay free in an extra bed and cot bed when sharing a suitable room with two adults.
The hotel’s efforts to tackle waste are evident not just in its recycling practices and use of refillable bath products, thermos flasks for fresh milk, glass bottles over plastic, and compostable coffee pods, but also in its considered re-use of some pieces of furniture already in situ at the hotel before its overhaul. Old armchairs were reupholstered and inherited side tables and chests of drawers slotted into new room schemes. The hotel’s bars are made from an old slab of mahogany that a local carpenter had been waiting to use. Locally sourced meat and seafood is at the heart of the Moorings’ restaurant ethos.
Tables against the left-hand wall of the dining room, served by a blue-velvet banquette, combine cosiness with a perch from which to survey restaurant comings and goings. In the café, the high table next to the bar offers sociability alongside breakfast.
Shimmering layers or cashmere over trousers, rather than the full dress-and-heels combo – the mood at the Moorings is laid-back glamour.
Have a cocktail, graze, contemplate, take your time: there’s an implied conviviality to any menu that begins with snacks to accompany apéritifs. Start with drinks such as kir royale or barrel-aged negroni and nibble on salted chicken crackling, whelk fritters and Grouville cockle popcorn while you peruse a menu of seasonal, French-influenced cuisine showcasing Jersey ingredients. At linened tables with Designers Guild velvet upholstery, foliage-print Thibaut wallpaper and walls adorned with framed photography of Gorey through the ages, dine on catch of the day, island-caught scallops and oysters, as well as aged beef and several options for vegans. Head chef Grant Hawthorne confidently throws in Asian twists in dishes such as chancre (brown) crab, Madras curry and crispy galette, and nods to Norway (co-owner Iselin is Norwegian) with Gorey Beech smoked salmon (with Knekkebrød if you wish). A highlight of the dessert course is the South African chef’s malva pudding – not that the revels stop with dessert; after dinner, guests tend to move next door to the bar for another cocktail or nightcap as the lights dim and the music turns up a notch.
The blue-hued bar decked with fairy lights and at the entrance to the restaurant is the place for apéritifs ahead of dinner, as well as cocktails afterwards. Order a French 75, kir royale, signature Moorings Spritz with campari, or barrel-aged negroni. A largely French wine list – Louis Latour whites, Sancerre and Chablis, plus Fleurie, Bordeaux, Haut Médoc and St-Émilion reds – is carefully curated, too.
Breakfast is served in the café daily and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Saturday, and Sunday lunch in winter.
You can order drinks for delivery to your room, but no food.
The Moorings is in Gorey Pier, overlooking the sweep of Gorey’s beach and bay on Jersey’s east coast.
Jersey Airport has connecting flights to the British mainland and is a 30-minute drive from the Moorings. The hotel can arrange private transfers from £35 each way.
Owners Matthew and Iselin recommend transfers from the ferry or airport, as once in situ at the Moorings, you’re unlikely to need four wheels. Cycling is popular (you can hire e-bikes through the hotel) and there are scenic walks from the door, plus you’re on the main island bus routes. For determined drivers, there’s paid street parking in front of the hotel, or free public parking on the seafront.
Jersey is served by ferry connections from St Malo, Portsmouth and Poole and the ferry terminal is only a 15-minute drive from the Moorings.
Worth getting out of bed for
Pure Yin oversees a programme of pilates and yoga classes at the hotel’s studio. You can hike around the island with the 48-mile Jersey Coastal Path, a rugged trail of cliff climbs and windswept descents that rewards you with stunning seascapes along the way. Cycle paths, green lanes and coastal routes ribbon the island, encouraging even the most leisurely of cyclists back into the saddle – as does the option to hire e-bikes through the hotel. In front of the hotel, there’s a sandy beach – part of the old harbour – or down the slipway, you can catch some rays (weather permitting) on the sunbathers’ beach. For a secluded swimming spot, ask about bathing behind the castle. That’ll be mediaeval Mont Orgueil castle, which looms over the hotel and is open for guided tours of its 800-year-old battlements, statues and modern art installations. Shopping in Gorey involves a smattering of gift shops and boutiques, or you could head into St Helier and the brick-gabled boutiques of Liberty Wharf, as well as larger stores (such as De Gruchy department store) on King Street and Queen Street. With a 12-metre tidal range, Jersey’s coastline is dynamic and a guided fishing trip allows you to land catch from a boat or wade out at low tide to fish from exposed islets.
With Gorey harbour views from its conservatory tables, Sumas serves prettily plated dishes such as Tandoori-roasted monkfish, Brittany rabbit with langoustines and peas and loin of venison with truffle cauliflower and pickled red cabbage. In St Helier, Banjo has a stucco-ceilinged brasserie and dining room in a former gentlemen’s club and serves a modern European menu with Asian influences: dine on Thai-baked bass, Indonesian beef curry or Jersey crab cannelloni, or choose your cut from its dedicated steak menu. Samphire is a blue and gold dining room serving artily presented plates curated by chef Tom Radiguet: his seasonal menu is strong on seafood (halibut, oysters, scallops, plaice) but also has dishes such as duck with glazed figs and beef short rib with celeriac and horseradish.
On Halkett Place in St Helier, Awabiis a European bar serving Asian-fusion plates and cocktails with an Eastern twist such as pepper-spiced daiquiris with yuzu and sake-laced negronis.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this restaurant with rooms in Jersey and unpacked their Abi Overland prints and hand-painted ceramics, a full account of their island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Moorings in Gorey…
Restaurant with rooms the Moorings is a tasting menu to savour. Its listed façade on Gorey Pier, unchanged since its days as a flourishing restaurant in the 1970s, is a curious amuse-bouche. Its newly overhauled dining room – Designers Guild velvet upholstery, jungle-bold Thibaut wallpaper and Vincent Sheppard furniture – sets a high bar for the courses to follow. Chef Grant Hawthorne’s Gallic-skewed menu celebrating island produce (fresh fish, Jersey oysters and scallops, aged beef) is the main event. Refreshing innovations, such as a choice of dishes for vegans, a carefully curated Scandinavian breakfast and a unique cocktail list with signature twists are welcome palate cleansers. Cosily luxe rooms are the dessert you didn’t need but will relish all the same. For a welcome digestif, we recommend tapping into owner Iselin and Matthew’s local knowledge for intel on the best walks, swimming spots and fishing trips, as well as other worthy dining tips (if you can tear yourself away from the Moorings, that is).