Alderney, United Kingdom

The Blonde Hedgehog

Price per night from$205.33

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP170.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Dressed to quill

Setting

All-things-nice Alderney

Much like its namesake (an adorable endemic breed, first shipped over as pets from Harrods, it’s rumoured…), the Blonde Hedgehog is a rare and unique find on bijou Channel Island Alderney. Philanthropist and entrepreneur Julie-Anne Uggla found and fell in love with the 18th-century inn when inclement weather forced her to land on this beguiling island; since, she’s restored its stonework and dressed the rooms with an elegant rustic look, and acquired a Georgian townhouse, antique workers’ cottage and four-bedroom farmhouse – the latter ideal for sleeping hoglets. Surroundings may be charmingly steeped in time, but this offers cosmopolitan creature comforts alongside outlandish forays into nature, and some nocturnal capering before hibernating in style.

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Facilities

Photos The Blonde Hedgehog facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Nine, including two rooms and two suites in the main inn, five rooms and suites in Clarence House, standalone cottage with three bedrooms the Corner House, and four-bedroom farmhouse La Frette.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm; notify the hotel if you’ll be arriving after 9pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £170.00.

More details

Rates include a Continental breakfast with homemade granola and jams, breads, pastries, yoghurt, fruit, cheese and charcuterie (and warm-from-the-oven biscuits in your room each day), but à la carte items are charged (nothing’s priced over £12).

Also

The hotel has quite the team on hand, alongside philanthropist Julia Anne-Uggla and Tracey Farquhar-Beck who oversaw the refurbishment, interiors expert Charlie Horner curated the look, and Uggla’s daughter Riley designed the eco-friendly recycled-plastic staff uniforms.

At the hotel

Alfresco dining terraces; two gardens: one Mediterranean style and open to all, one English and open to guests; log-fire-warmed sitting room with board games; cinema lounge; charged laundry service; free WiFi; umbrellas for guests to borrow; plug adaptors on request. In rooms: Flatscreen TV, Roberts Radio, mini fridge with milk and water, tea- and coffee-making kit, bathrobes, Plum & Ashby bath products. The cottage and farmhouse each have a fully-equipped kitchen too, while the latter has a kitchen garden.

Our favourite rooms

When it comes to getting sett-led in, you’re spoilt for choice: the individually decorated rooms and suites are spread across the Victorian main inn (formerly the Rose & Crown) and Georgian residence Clarence House; and there's an 18th-century workers’ cottage or a four-bedroom farmhouse, each perfect for family or group stays. The inn is perhaps the cosiest, and we like Spikes for its original dormer features or the forest-green Den for the bath tub in the bedroom. Le Huret Suite is the stand-out in Clarence House for its antique brick arches, fireplace and imported African lighting. And, of the standalone residences, Le Frette just pips the Old Corner House to the post for its acres of lushly green farmland.

Packing tips

Bring binoculars for scanning the hedgerows, ‘be prepared’ gear for activities, and comfy shoes for the cobbled streets.

Also

The hotel restaurant and ground-floor bathroom are fully accessible. Suites are set at the ground level, but have two steps to the entranceway – staff are happy to lend a hand on request.

Pet‐friendly

Doggos are welcome in Clarence House or the Old Corner House for £10 a night or £25 each a stay if more than two nights (just keep them off the soft furnishings). They’ll get a bowl, treats and waste bags too. See more pet-friendly hotels in Alderney.

Children

Hoglets can stay (staff can book babysitting), but must be accompanied in public areas. Classic seaside fun, open wilds to cycle, derelict forts to discover, and a steam train will entertain. An extra bed costs £30 a night for under-12s, cots £10.

Best for

Younger children who can walk and talk.

Recommended rooms

Either one of the cottages, which both have a kitchen for flexible dining. La Frette is the more private, with acres of surrounding fields.

Activities

Close encounters with wildlife, clambering over fortifications, kayaking and riding the steam train give a bygone Enid Blyton feel to proceedings. And the hotel has board games and a cinema room. The top speed limit here is 35mph, so it's fairly safe to let your children go free-range.

Babysitting

Staff can help to book a local sitter.

Also

Bring any rainy-day distractions and beloved tech.

Sustainability efforts

Hotel owner Julie-Anne Uggla puts philanthropy at the heart of all she does; and, what she does – building and investing in companies, establishing a school for disadvantaged children, creating a film foundation to offer free video production to charities – is highly successful. Her first fundraising efforts helped 16 Ukrainian orphanages to keep running, then she launched the Cities Talking app (with self-guided tours for travellers) and Zamcog, a hugely effective initiative to support and educate orphans and disadvantaged children in Zambia. The latter has raised over five million and helped thousands of children with food, shelter, schooling and employment with Pizza Hut franchise Dagon, another of her investments. She works closely with NGO Human Rights Watch too, and shows no signs of slowing down in her Earth-saving efforts with the Blonde Hedgehog. The stay is plastic free (and encourages guests to only bring refillable bottles), uses LED bulbs, has boilers on timers and water-saving devices, and has water buttes on the garden pipes. Eco-friendly products are used (Plum & Ashby and Damana bath products; Belu water) and while refurbishing the inn extra layers of insulation were added to save energy. Recycling is part of the day to day, rooms have energy-efficient and water-saving EcoKnit robes and towels, and the kitchen garden supplies many of the restaurant’s ingredients, while almost all others are sourced on-island; vegetable waste and coffee grains are used for the composting. The hotel works closely with the Alderney Wildlife Trust and operates in as environmentally sound a manner as possible. There’s a daily update for guests who are interested in the hotel’s projects and perhaps want to get involved themselves.

Food and Drink

Photos The Blonde Hedgehog food and drink

Top Table

‘Table’ seems somewhat limiting when you could have the chef pack you a picnic to spread out in one of two gardens, or join a lobster barbecue at the beach.

Dress Code

Country casuals are more than acceptable here.

Hotel restaurant

Word travels fast around an island, and the Blonde Hedgehog’s restaurant has already become a favourite with the locals – so you’ll need to book ahead. It might be the element of surprise (the menu changes daily), the hotel’s ability to tease ingredients from the ground thanks to green-fingered Christian Robert’s organic kitchen garden, or the inventiveness of chef Stephen Scott, who doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to Alderney-inspired dishes, but trusses up the spokes a bit – past stars have included fried chicken with smoked-cheese slaw, roast salmon with prawn spring rolls and Asian vegetables, and pistachio and raspberry parfait with brandy snaps. Milk, butter and dairy are all delivered in churns from the local dairy. The restaurant’s farm-to-table in feel too, with a dining room the colour of Alderney marshland, scattered with live-edge tables under a vaulted skylight. And, a window wall opens out onto a terrace with a barbecue and the English country garden. In summer, the chef will fire up the likes of beef brisket with a sticky cherry sauce and mackerel with a ginger-lime marinade.

Hotel bar

At one end of the restaurant is a steel-topped bar with a few tables for swift pints that lead to late nights. And, there’s a quieter room to the back, all the better for listening to the islanders’ (known round these parts as ‘lapins’) oral histories over a glass of something local or a new- or old-world wine of the well-curated list. And, you can order up comfort food: burgers, lobster rolls, salads or crispy gojuchang chicken.

Last orders

Breakfast starts at 8am, lunch at 12 noon and dinner at 6pm.

Room service

Dine in your den from 8am to 8pm.

Location

Photos The Blonde Hedgehog location
Address
The Blonde Hedgehog
6 Le Huret
St. Anne
GY9 3TR
United Kingdom

The Blonde Hedgehog has snuffled into a cobbled street of candy-coloured cottages in quaint Georgian town St Anne, set centrally on Alderney, the Channel Islands’ northernmost inhabited isle, within the bailiwick of Guernsey.

Planes

Alderney Airport is a mere five-minute walk from the hotel (but if you’re tired, a taxi will cost less than a tenner). Aurigny airline (named for Alderney’s archaic name), shuttles visitors back and forth from Southampton (the quickest journey at 40 minutes), Manchester, the East Midlands and Dublin; and – handily for international arrivals – London Gatwick, which takes three hours. Alderney can be prone to bouts of brilliantly atmospheric but tricky-for-travel fog and mist at times, so keep an eye on local weather reports.

Trains

You can hire a car and drive on Alderney; however, keep in mind that the top speed limit is 35mph, so as not to scare the wildlife. At most, the isle is three miles in length, so it’s worth going the eco-friendly route and biking about or even just trekking from length to length.

Automobiles

The Salty Blonde isn’t a grumbling flaxen-haired local character, rather a ferry that crosses twice daily from Guernsey to Alderney five days a week (not on Wednesdays or Sundays), from March to December. From the UK, Condor Ferries travels to Guernsey throughout the year from Poole and Portsmouth.

Worth getting out of bed for

Why the Blonde Hedgehog? One might ask. Well, it’s a very rare – and cute – woodland critter exclusive to Alderney, whose unique genes give it its platinum quills. It’s unsurprising these little ones have thrived here: of the island’s four square miles, more than three are given over to nature, with woodland, wetlands, heath, fields and seven white-gold beaches. The hotel works closely with the Alderney Wildlife Trust, and they can arrange guided tours with a naturalist so you don’t miss any of the shyer creatures. But there are 80 kilometres of hiking and biking trails criss-crossing the island so you can go valderi-ing at your own pace. Birds are especially drawn to the remote corners here too. Sail out to Burhou island to see puffins roosting (you might even spy a dolphin or seal along the way), or kayak to Gannet Rock to see its namesake birdies. Twitcher tours can be arranged too, and it’s possible to sail all the way around the island, perhaps rewarding yourself with a lobster beach barbecue or marshmallow-toasting campfire on your return. If the eastern offshore winds are strong, it’s possible to surf at Bray and Corbets bays. Anglers, too, will come up trumps here, with waters rich in skate, carp and bass, even red gurnard. But if you’re not fussed about fishing for your supper, you can ride a boat out to fellow Channel isles Herm and Sark, and the Dielette ferry goes all the way to France, with Normandy just 12 miles away. Humans too have been fairly active on the island for a while; there are Neolithic burial sites, ruined Roman settlements near the harbour, and Victorian and World War II fortifications, tunnels and bunkers (explore carefully, some are very dilapidated). If you want to know more, the small yet informative Alderney Museum will enlighten you. In 1847, Queen Victoria visited to launch the island’s take on the Orient Express; the small Alderney Railway is perhaps not as luxurious, but a novel way to travel from Braye to picnicking spot Mannez Lighthouse, where you can swim in the sea or spend an afternoon rock pooling. Golfers can play a nine-hole links course; you can give clay-pigeon shooting a try; or grab a racquet and hit the vintage fives court or local tennis court (the hotel can help you book); and work-out sessions can be arranged at Tim’s Gym down the hill from your doorstep. St Anne, the only town, is sweet as can be with antique cottages painted rainbow hues, cobbled streets and shops selling local crafts (chains aren’t allowed); but in August it becomes a whole lot less sleepy when Alderney Week’s festivities kick off, with markets, carnivals, circus performers and parades, and after parties held in abandoned bunkers. And local and international work, comprising seascapes, portraiture and abstracts, is on display at Le Passage Gallery, which also has two delightful sculpture gardens. And on rainy or foggy days, burrow into a sofa by the fire in the snug and play chess or backgammon, or watch a movie (there are some about Alderney’s – occasionally turbulent – history alongside all-age favourites) in the cinema den (a converted cellar found during construction with an original stone archway). 

Local restaurants

The Blonde Hedgehog’s menu changes by the day, so it’ll keep your tastebuds on their toes. However, the island’s not so wild that you need to forage for your food – although if you wish, the hotel can arrange it. A notch above paper-bagging it, Braye Chippy’s fish suppers are served in a sweet space lined with handicrafts and wooden toy ships. Alongside a slim yet assuredly delicious selection of fish and seafood, there are all the favourites (battered sossies, pies, mushy peas) and speciality nights include moules and frites, burgers around the world and chilli con carne cook-outs. And, the Braye Beach Brasserie is a touch more shirt and shoes (although you might get away with shorts and flip-flips), with blue blue views and a menu of tarragon-mayo-slicked crab cakes, fritto misto, giant scampi and lobster. 

Local bars

This is more of a ‘shh, don’t scare the hedgehogs’ kind of place, but you can get merry at bacaro Bacchus, a Venetian-style wine bar with cicchetti, intriguing new-gen wines and chic-cocktail know-how.

Reviews

Photos The Blonde Hedgehog reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. Our reviewers are still revelling in the charms of this sized-up toy village in Alderney’s St Anne town, consisting of a restored inn, revamped workers’ cottages and elegant Georgian townhouse. As they come down from their sugar high after gorging on the creamiest of ice-creams and consider painting the front of their house back home a cheery colour, let’s raise our binoculars and await a sighting of the Blonde Hedgehog in the Channel Islands…

Prick up your ears, lovers of snug spots, untouched-by-time villages and nature that goes about its business undisturbed. Victorian inn turned hip hibernating spot the Blonde Hedgehog is set to give Alderney a spike in the cool stakes with its glamorous boutique feel, baked-in cosiness and authentic antiquity – with the original stone and brickwork restored, relaxed pace and friendly faces. It’s a gentle soul where you can put your feet up by the fire or wear battered wellies with no disapproving looks, but its pedigree is as surprisingly cosmopolitan as its endemic namesake, a breed believed to have been brought to the island from Harrods after being purchased as pets. After all, it wouldn’t exist had philanthropist and entrepreneur owner Julie-Anne Uggla’s private plane not been blown off course enroute to Cornwall; at some point during the diversion, she fell in love with the inn and bought it (we’ve all been there)… In its redesign, interiors expert Charlie Horner has used pick-of-the-paintbox pieces by Brit brands such as Parker Howley & Co and OKA, as well as sourcing antiques; and green-fingered sort Christian Roberts was called in to coax forth a kitchen garden. And, in addition to the inn, a Georgian residence Clarence House and the former workers’ cottages have been added as hideaways. The speed here might be more Miss Tiggy-Winkle than Sonic, but Alderney will still leave you breathless with wonder, whether you’re clambering over ancient fortifications and sneaking into wartime tunnels (cautiously), tucking into fire pit dinners and lobster beach barbecues at sunset, abseiling to hidden coves and kayaking to outcrops commandeered by rare birds. Or hunting down those shy platinum critters with head-lamps after-dark before burrowing down for the night.

Price per night from $205.33

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