The Old Government House Hotel and Spa has operated as a hotel since 1858 but its 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. The last Lieutenant Governor to use it, as Government House, was General Sir James Douglas, after whom one of our modern meeting rooms is now named.
John Gardner purchased the property and launched it formally as Old Government House in 1858 where it was quickly established within Victorian society as “An old and comfortable country mansion”. The hotel has been extended and modernised but has never lost its character and charm.
There was one period when the life of the hotel changed. That was from 1940 to 1945, when the Germans occupied it as their General Staff Headquarters. The war over, great alterations were made. The hotel was enlarged and refurbished, yet its unique atmosphere of dignity and good fellowship remained and these qualities are as evident today as they were in the Gardner's time.
In 1957 Old Government House Hotel was honoured by the presence of Her Majesty the Queen at luncheon. She and the Duke of Edinburgh were the guests of the States of Guernsey, whose Bailiff, Sir Ambrose Sherwill, received them as the Royal Standard was hoisted. Several islanders were presented and the Bailiff proposed the loyal toast. The meal, needless to say, was fit for a Queen.
In March 2008, also our 150th anniversary year, the hotel was acquired by The Red Carnation Hotel Collection. They undertook a substantial refurbishment, but making sure to retain the fine character and heritage of this, Guernsey’s most historic hotel.