On our visits to Alderney as a family when I was an early teenager we went for self catering, renting a lovely chalet bungalow close to The Harbour Lights and, with breaks of two or three weeks at a time, my memories are of an idylic base for our family holiday! More recently we have enjoyed a wide variety of establishments, each quite different but worthy of note.
Returning in family groups once my sister and I were adults, we first rented some log cabins at Pine Springs. This was ideal since each family had their own base. The well equipt cabins were surrounded by delightful well kept gardens with the focal point of a small swimming pool. We met in the evenings to share an evening meal at one of the many and varied restaurants on the island, although we could easily have purchased fresh local produce to cook for ourselves instead.
On the next visit I returned with my parents and we chose the well positioned Victoria Hotel, a small friendly guest house/hotel situated at the bottom end of Victoria Street, the main shopping street of St Anne’s. This central location in this sleepy town was close to several restaurants for the evening, but during the day it enabled us to purchace picnics at the baker’s for lunch, before heading off in different directions to explore the island.
My parents travelled on their own next, staying at St Anne’s Guest House not far from the museum, an equally pleasant welcoming base close the the town and its amenities.
On our next visit, to celebrate my 50th birthday, we chose a sea view at The Belle Vue overlooking the harbour and Braye Bay. Before a hearty breakfast we could stroll on the Butes and soak up the view of the lovely sweeping bay with various sailing boats bobbing in the protection of the famous Victorian breakwater. We ate excellent meals at the Belle View most nights but, on my actual birthday, my husband treated me to a champagne dinner at The Braye Beach Hotel at the harbour’s edge. (This is a well restored and modernised hotel and restaurant next to the harbour, with a terrace overlooking Braye Bay. We also enjoyed afternoon tea here on our last afternoon this year. A perfect way to end our visit)
Last summer, on our short visit from Guernsey for the book launch of Riduna, we stayed at The Fleet Guest House on Braye Road, enjoying a different view of Braye Bay from our room in the eves of the house. Yet again we had such a friendly warm welcome and a hearty breakfast to set us up for the day ahead. This is a popular base for fishermen, being quite close to the harbour. I chose it because it was quite close to where we think my grandmother lived, although we have been unable to locate the exact place of their Boarding House as listed in the census. (This is the real Harriet Hopkins and not my fictional character)
On our last visit this June we stayed at The Harbour Lights. Yet again the warm welcome we experienced made our stay so pleasurable and the food was superb. Even if you do not stay at the hotel, it is well worth a visit to have a drink or a meal on the well designed terraced garden. We met the designer and once he’d explained that it was made like the decks of a cruise ship, I could see why. Each layer of these sun trapped terraces was surrounded by beautiful flower beds and the very top terrace boasted of sea views of Braye Bay. The hotel itself has been completely rebuilt in the last couple of years and has been tastefully finished with a small lounge for guests and a bar area, also for non residence. This was perfect for our party of six, including my elderly but very fit parents who, after breakfast were able to pop down to the shop near the harbour to get a morning paper, drink and snack for lunch and set off on long walks around the island. It’s location, so close to Braye Bay and the harbour, was excellent but it was also a fantastic base for walking to Saye, Corblets and Longy Bay. It must be one of the closest hotels to the golf course and, although none on our party actually plays golf, I can recommend the stunning views from the seat on the road which runs through the golf course itself.
Who knows where we will stay next? The temptation will be to return to any of these ‘home from home’ bases but we shall see. The only thing I know for certain is that we will be back!