ANDY COOPER takes a trip to one of the smaller Channel Islands and enjoys a luxurious welcome in Alderney.
If one considers that the last time I visited Alderney my oldest son was a babe in arms and now he is a 30+ six-footer, then the memory will be a little hazy but I do recall the island as being a wonderfully isolated spot with magnificent beaches and a somewhat untouched feel.
Well reader, having just returned from another visit, I can tell you not a great deal has changed in the intervening years – and yet there has been one significant update on the island which makes Alderney somewhere I will be not be leaving it so long to visit again.
And that change is The Blonde Hedgehog. Thus uber chic hotel created from the restoration of three historical buildings in the centre of Saint Anne is reason enough to pack your bags and head for Alderney, never mind the charms of the island itself (and they are considerable).
Named after the quirky off-white hedgehogs which have can occasionally be seen around Alderney, The Blonde Hedgehog has nine stylish rooms, a charming three-bedroom cottage and a four-bedroom farmhouse to offer guests…so, take your pick!
We stayed in a beautifully-appointed room with a magnificent-sized bathroom and a sitting room to while away our downtime. Not that there will be much downtime on Alderney while you stay if you want to make the most of this charming island.
I was lucky enough to be accompanied on an electric bike tour by Roland Gauvain, CEO of the Alderney Wildlife Trust, who gave me an informed and insightful morning’s ride around an island which offers history, wildlife and natural beauty by the bucketload.
Being on the beach with three people constitutes a crowd and on most occasions we were able to explore the shoreline alone and drink in the splendid isolation on one of the many golden, sandy beaches which abound.
All that fresh air makes a man hungry and so a return to The Blonde Hedgehog and its wonderful restaurant was a real pleasure. Whether you want fine dining or a quick snack and a drink, the team can turn their hand to it. Service levels were special too – we were treated royally during our stay and now consider ourselves proper disciples for all that The Blonde Hedgehog has to offer. It’s a magnificent hotel on a magical island, which feels like just about the perfect combination to me.
IN THE AIR WITH AURIGNY
We travelled to Alderney on the airline Aurigny in what feels like your own private aircraft with a personal pilot and your own window seat to enjoy!
They have direct flights from Southampton and Guernsey and through routes via Guernsey from Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, East Midlands, Exeter, Ibiza, London Gatwick, Malaga and Manchester. aurigny.com