First - Alderney is a unique gem and well worth a 5/7 day visit although you'll do a lot of walking! If you want to get away from it all and experience a wonderful small island with a fascinating history, then check out Alderney.
Second - Aurigny is a fabulous small airline, very friendly and helpful. The Trislander flight from Guernsey to Alderney is a brilliant experience on it's own!
Third - the Harbour Lights. Well. we did all the right things and read the reviews so we expected a fairly basic but comfortable and welcoming hotel. We didn't get it. Maybe it was because it was the week after Alderney week (which is the busiest week on the island) and everyone was taking a breather, although the part-time student staff certainly seemed on the ball. In particular, young Ben and a lass from Estonia were very helpful.
We spent 6 nights at the hotel. The room had not been properly cleaned on arrival. There was a full toilet bin in the bathroom and blood on the hotel guide and a light switch - VERY unpleasant! The general level of cleanliness and room service was not good - towels were taken and not replaced, cleaning equipment was left in the room after cleaning and the carpets were not cleaned regularly. In the hotel generally the carpets and ground floor tiles did not appear to have been cleaned at all during our stay. Our king-sized bed was rock-hard and uncomfortable and to cap it all the safe didn't work!
Much has been made of the food quality. We found it poor. The full English was over-cooked so we stuck with scrambled eggs which were fine. We had to send the 'chunky' burgers back since they were like rubber and cooked to within an inch of their lives, although the Cajun chicken that replaced it was fine. Others have mentioned the lack of fruit at breakfast, and this would have been an excellent addition. The bistro service was generally good although we waited half an hour for eggs one morning, which seemed a trifle slow since the hotel was only half full! If you want to eat well on the island try the Mai Thai - it's a belter!
We hardly saw Steve, the owner. He bustled about a lot but whether he singled us out to avoid we'll never know. Anyway, we had to cut short our stay so we finally caught up with him to let him know we had to change our plans and received a curt 'Oh, you've found the bar then'! Strange since we'd been in the bar and ate in the bistro most nights. You need to get to know your customers Steve!
On the plus side, the hotel has a well-stocked off licence and a pretty good bar. It is reasonably located and the island isn't that big so you can get to anywhere pretty quickly, plus you can hire bikes at the hotel. The part-time staff were helpful, friendly and chatty.
Would we return to Alderney - definitely! Would we stay at the Harbour Lights again - definitely not!! Sorry, but it's simply not good enough!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rebuilt May 2009, it has a mix of single, double and twin rooms as well as family suites and can accommodate up to 33. Many rooms have sea views and all have an en-suite bathroom. There is a breathtaking view of the breakwater and lighthouse whilst surrounded by tropical plants & palms. The bar, bistro and restaurant are very popular and prices very low. 3 Minutes walk from stunning Braye beach. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Harbour Lights Hotel Alderney, Channel Islands