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38 . . June 2012June ISLANDSIslands in themeetings streamCN goes off the mainland piste to explore some meetings islands in UK waters. No man is an island, wrote John Donne. But where can you bank on meeting offshore if the urge takes you?JERSEY Jersey is the most southerly of the British Isles, 100 miles off the coast. It is accessible from 20 UK airports and there are regular ferry sailings from Poole, Weymouth and Portsmouth.Most hotels are within a 15-minute drive on the largest of the Channel Islands. Jersey may have shed a layer or two of its 'expensive' hospitality skin during the recession and is maybe not as exclusive as a decade ago. In 2002 there were seven four-star hotels with 600 bedrooms. Now there are 16 four- and fi ve-star hotels with over 1,600 bedrooms. Jersey Conferences GM Hamish Reid says Jersey is a multi-market destination. "We don't rely on one industry to bring in events like some cities can. Organisers have to make a distinct choice to choose Jersey, so our strategies are about making the customer aware of the benefi ts of choosing somewhere neutral, with pan-UK access, easy to get around and plenty of bang for your buck. Plus, fl ying south always has a cachet."Reid says a trip to Jersey provides a chance to take colleagues or clients to somewhere that is familiar but has an air of glamour about it. "Britain with brio," as he puts it. And, for UK visitors, there is no need for passports or exchange rate issues. According to Reid, it is cheaper to fl y to Jersey now than it was 10 years ago. The island is only nine miles by fi ve and delegates are never stuck on coaches for long. In terms of activities there are the War Tunnels and the Durrell Conservation Trust as learning experiences, as well as plenty of sailing opportunities. Hotels and venuesThe fi ve-star Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa overlooks St Aubin's Bay in St Helier and offers conference facilities, a Michelin-starred Tassili restaurant and is home to the only private cinema available for business presentations and private screenings. The Grand Suite can accommodate 220 theatre-style. The island has a higher density of AA 38 . . June 2012June

ISLANDS2012June 2012 . . 39 Awarded restaurants (35) than any other holiday destination across the British Isles according to the AA Restaurant Guide 2012.Only London (with 678) and Edinburgh (with 56) have more AA rosettes for their restaurants. Patrick Burke, Chairman of Luxury Jersey Hotels and owner of The Atlantic Hotel and Michelin-starred Ocean restaurant, says: "Our island provides us with a wealth of high quality ingredients from world acclaimed seafood to the renowned Jersey Royal."The L'Horizon Hotel & Spa, part of the Handpicked Hotels group, has meeting space, as does the four-star Radission Blu Waterfront in St Helier. But, be careful there, as its walkway to the island can get cut off at high tide.The Hotel de France has 16 conference rooms and 2,920sqm of events fl oor space. Over in the fi nancial centre of St Helier, the Pomme D'or is a business hotel which prides itself on the high spec of its conference technology. Away from the hotels, La Mare Wine Estate (above right) has a conference centre able to seat 160. Delegates can try their hand at barrel-making, wine blending and labelling. Jersey's best rates can be achieved generally by avoiding the high season.