A personal message to friends of The Atlantic Hotel from Patrick Burke
Following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Jersey, we have been inundated with messages of support from friends of The Atlantic everywhere. I would like to take this opportunity to update you on how we are getting on.
The island has been in lockdown since Monday 30 March. This is likely to continue at least until June. You will be pleased to hear that we were able to facilitate the repatriation of all of our seasonal staff prior to the closure of the airport.
We are now operating on a reduced staff establishment and are determined to do the best that we can by all of our team, for they are The Atlantic. This includes offering a safe haven to any staff members who need it as well as one or two ex-employees who simply have nowhere else to go.
We are grateful to the Government of Jersey for their support in introducing a payroll co-funding arrangement to encourage businesses to keep their staff on. While this is not as generous as the UK scheme and some of the details are still a little hazy, it is certainly a great help.
Many of you will know that 2020 marks a very special anniversary for The Atlantic, being 50 years since the hotel was first opened by my late father Henry Burke on 7 May 1970. You don’t get through 50 years of hotelkeeping as a family without becoming well acquainted with both triumph and disaster, and we are resolved to tackle this latest challenge head on.
I am conscious that The Atlantic is much more than just a building. Hotels are about people: the people who work in them, the people who run them, the people who stay in them, and the local community who support and in turn are supported by them. We have near to 100 local suppliers, and I am proud to say that everyone is being paid on time despite the fact that we have had virtually no revenue coming into the business since mid-March.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank our bank, who have been very helpful in entering into discussions to assist us with both short- and medium-term financing to see us through the coming months, again with help and encouragement from the Government of Jersey. Believe it or not, as a family we have banked with Barclays for six generations now so it would be fair to say that we have an established relationship. You may remember that last summer they produced a fabulous five minute video showing life behind the scenes at The Atlantic Hotel as part of their ‘Masters of their Craft’ series.
Looking ahead, I am pleased to say that we have relaxed our cancellation policy for the remainder of the year. Many of our guests take advantage of our advance purchase rates which offer significant discounts according to length of stay and how far out you book. Our Reservations Team is in the process of talking to those of you who have bookings coming up in the next few weeks and will be happy to move these to dates later in the year to suit. Please feel free to continue to take advantage of our special offers, and for our part, we promise to be flexible if you need to change your arrangements nearer the time as long as you can give us reasonable notice.
I would also like to say a big thank you to those of you who have purchased gift vouchers from us in recent weeks. This is a great way to support hotels at this difficult time and is hugely appreciated. We have a wonderful selection of vouchers available online from £50 to £500 as well as special experiences that range from an afternoon tea right up to a seven course tasting menu with paired wines in Ocean Restaurant. Do take a look.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. One of the positive developments to come out of the current crisis is our new takeaway service that we have launched for local residents, most of whom have had to adapt to working from home and the juggling of everyday life that this entails. Our new offering provides a valuable service to our community while helping to keep our staff employed. Please rest assured that we are following all government directives with regard to social distancing and maintaining the highest standards of hygiene in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since the island went into lockdown, we have been blessed with the most wonderful weather. St Ouen’s Bay is absolutely stunning at the moment, and we have been enjoying the most incredible sunsets.
I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t wonder at times if the sun was about to set on our long history as a family at The Atlantic. I sometimes worry about this when I go to bed at night, but when I wake in the morning, refreshed, I am reminded that, as Hemingway noted all those years ago, the sun also rises.
I know that for many of you The Atlantic Hotel and Ocean Restaurant holds a very special place in your hearts, and I would like, on behalf of my family and the entire team, to finish by sending you our very best wishes at this challenging time. We so look forward to welcoming you back when you are able to return.
The Atlantic video can be viewed on the Barclays Overseas website.