This hotel is the only one in the Channel Islands recommended in Alastair Sawday's excellent books, so we had high expectations for our 2 night stay. The price is quite steep and they are trying to preserve something of an upper-class hotel of yesteryear by insisting on gentlemen wearing either a tie or a jacket for dinner. There are a few penny-pinching signs though, such as the complimentary tea and coffee available in the lounge providing Tetley teabags and a thermos of hot water - not a bad thing in itself, but you'd expect a little higher quality in a hotel of this price.
The decor of the main part of the hotel is pretty much spot on with leather sofas and chairs, open coal fires and a lovely snug bar, but the rooms are in dire need of stripping out and refitting. The bathroom in our room was very old fashioned and just worn and dated. The furniture in the room is very 70s and again, just needs to be replaced. The bed was small and not terribly comfortable with old, cheap, polyester pillows and duvet.
We had booked for half board as there's really only one other place to eat on the island (the pub) and the dinner was generally at a good standard, but the service was pretty poor.
Breakfast was a complete joke. Service was incredibly slow and the (mostly eastern european) waitresses spoke broken english and were more interested in clearing empty tables than taking an order. Given that each table is yours for your entire stay and they are not 'turned' it's not really acceptable to ignore waiting guests to clear a table no one else is going to use.
The largest problem came when we ordered poached eggs with a cooked breakfast. They were obviously cooked earlier and then chilled and re-heated (not a problem in itself) however they could only have been put back into hot water for 15 seconds as the egg white was luke warm at best and the yolks were absolutely stone cold. When we complained as both of us got the same, the second breakfast brought out was exactly the same - oh dear! This time we complained to the head waiter (who was english) who offered no apology, just said "Oh no, not again!" and took them away a second time. Rather than bringing out the third attempt and apologizing himself, he sent out one of the non-english speaking girls with (admittedly freshly cooked eggs) who just plonked them down in front of us as though there was no problem.
Overall, Herm is a delightful island and there's not really any competition for the White House, but it's obvious that standards amongst the staff have fallen off a cliff! This has the potential to be an absolutely unique and magical place to stay, but we got the feeling that it's now catering to a family market as there were more children than adults there during our stay.
If you're willing to accept that part of the price of staying at the White House is the cost of just staying on Herm, then you can maybe justify the cost. The rooms are really borderline 1-2 star quality and the restaurant around 2-3 star, which would lead you to believe it's over-priced, but knock off £100 just for the right to stay on the island and it seems a little more reasonable.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- As the gentle chugging of a tractor heralds the arrival of your luggage, you know The White House Hotel is special. After all, how many hotels can boast a Britain in Bloom Gold Award-winning island as their garden, a harbour-side setting and such spectacular sea views? Tradition is cherished at this unique hotel to which many families have been coming for three generations. You'll find a variety of delightful bedrooms, where you won't find televisions, clocks or telephones, as somehow they don't seem appropriate on Herm. You will find world class cuisine in the 2 rosette Conservatory Restaurant, and exceptional service from our friendly team. The Four Star White House Hotel was the first business in the Channel Islands to achieve WorldHost Customer service status in 2012. All of the Hotel bedrooms and bathrooms have been upgraded over the past couple of years ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The White House Hotel Herm, Channel Islands