Stroll up the cobbled backstreets of St Peter Port on the island of Guernsey and you will come upon the Old Government House. The building’s history dates back to 1796 when it was the official Governor’s residence for the island and the Bailiwick, which includes Alderney, Herm and Sark, until 1842.
Now a hotel it occupies a prime position in this quaint harbour side town, with terraces, decks, balconies and bars offering glorious views over the nearby gardens and the harbour.
The hotel has been extended and modernised over the years but retains a boutique feel, with windy corridors opening up onto an array of public rooms. Outside, the building is painted in white with a classic Victorian look. Inside the decor is that of an old colonial mansion – befitting the history of the building. My particular favourite is the curry room, where you step into a Raj style restaurant decorated in rich, deep reds. The perfect backdrop to the fabulous Indian cuisine served within.
Our room, 108, sits right at the front of the building with a bay window that gulps up the views over St Peter Port. There is a sofa by the window that you could waste days on, watching the boats go in and out and the seagulls flying by. The room itself is generously sized with a large bathroom, (L’Occitane toiletries which I love), and beautifully decorated with a few statement pieces, including a large gold edged mirror shaped like the sun and leopard print seating. The room’s decor and objet d’art, all help in retaining the British colonial feel employed throughout the hotel. The result is both fun and elegant, it makes the hotel feel original and unique.
I love the numerous bar areas at Old Government House, each with a different ambiance and offering a different view, be it over the pool or onto the town below. The expansive views across the harbour are my personal favourite. An elevated porch area allows for alfresco beer and nibbles on a partially covered balcony, perfect for watching passers by go about their business below.
There is a Bistro within the hotel which serves up Guernsey staples like freshly caught fish, crab, scallops, lobster and steaks. The bar also offers a variety of light dishes with a similar theme. You can also order generous sandwiches, snacks and drinks by the pool. We decided to try The Curry Room, attracted by it’s 2 Rosettes. Inside the Curry Room, blood red floors and walls are decorated in rich fabrics and old black and white pictures depicting soldiers of the Raj. The meal can only be described as superb from start to finish. It’s worth unbuttoning your trousers for the generous portions – it would be a crime to leave even a morsel. Our starters were excellent, a scrumptious crab dish and a mix of Dhal soup, lobster and chicken. My chicken and cashew dish main and my husbands prawn and chicken curry can only be described as stunning. This is simply the best Indian restaurant in Guernsey by a country mile. The set three course menu is only £38 pp which is an absolute steal. Whether you stay at the Old Government House or not, you must book a night at this fabulous Indian restaurant.
The pool at the Old Government House is outdoors. As the summer had been a typically British washout, I only packed one bikini. I am delighted to say that I was completely wrong in my weather predictions. The hotel’s circular pool offers a perfect sun trap. It is located in a little dip surrounded by ivy clad walls and chic loungers shaded by parasols. As such, it escapes the wind that you can find on the coastal shores of Guernsey – it’s a balmy and sheltered escape. The pool is not large but is sufficient for getting some lengths in. There is also a shallow pool interconnected, which at only 50cm deep is perfect for little ones to have a splash. Nice touches include the hardworking pool boy, always on call to set up your lounger with a perfectly rolled up towel, or offer complimentary fruit infused water and cooled fruit skewers (fresh strawberry, kiwi, pineapple and melon). All this and the generous volume of towels means you can easily spend your day lazing poolside.
Gym & Gardens
The hotel offers a gym with plenty of modern equipment; cycling machines, treadmills, weights and rowing machines are all available. For those like myself with an aversion to all things gym related, the beautifully tended gardens of the hotel offer a great place to relax with a Sunday paper, or enjoy an afternoon tea with views across St Peter Port.
The Old Government House has been the best hotel in St Peter Port for many years. Although there are some newcomers on the scene; you will not find another hotel of this calibre more conveniently located in the centre of St Peter Port, with such an array of facilities and excellent restaurants. I will come back for the glorious pool, the excellent array of terraces and balconies to enjoy a drink upon, the colonial decor that makes the place feel special and of course the mouthwatering Curry House.
Old Government House hotel also features in our choice of the best luxury hotel in St Peter Port, Guernsey.
Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.