The OGH is one of Guernsey’s best-known and most respected institutions, with a long and fascinating history. First built as a private residence in 1775, it was bought by the States of Guernsey in 1796 and used – as the name suggests – to house the island’s Lieutenant Governors, starting with Lieutenant-General Sir Hew Dalrymple.
Each subsequent Governor resided there until the end of the 19th Century, when it was bought by a private family and turned into a hotel. During World War II however, the building was captured in Guernsey history in a different way by its use as the German army’s private Headquarters and then later their recreational house.
After the war it was once again utilised as a hotel and it’s most recent and current incarnation was to become part of the prestigious Red Carnation Hotel Group, famed for their warmth, personal service and family friendly appeal.
Zory Darman is the Front of House Manager at The OGH and says you can feel the lives of so many people as you wander around the hotel.
The Red Carnation Group re-modelled the interior of the hotel, drawing upon the history and the character. The Doyle room – used for special functions and dinners – exhibits a chronological display of the hotels various incarnations.
It displays a photo and paintings of ladies and gentlemen in the early 19th century in their period outfits in the hotel garden with a view out to Herm Island beyond. Also featured are hand-written price lists for rooms within The OGH Hotel in the 1800s and photos of German soldiers sunning themselves on the terrace.
Fittingly, the cast and crew of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society stayed at The OGH when visiting the island for the film’s Premiere.
‘It’s such a fascinating building in terms of the island’s history. All the staff are very proud to work here,’ says Zory.
Originally from Bulgaria, Zory has worked in hospitality for a decade but feels she has found her home and her place in both Guernsey and The OGH.
‘The way the hotel is run is not about money first, it’s about creating a truly welcoming home away from home for people. This starts with the staff and the way we are treated by the Red Carnation Hotel Group, which is like family. They are so supportive and warm and encouraging and that sets the tone for the culture of the hotel. For someone like me, who lives away from their family, it’s so lovely to have that kind of feeling in your workplace and it definitely translates to our guests. We absolutely love looking after our guests,’ said Zory.
The Red Carnation Hotel Group, which also owns The Duke of Richmond Hotel, is famed for their ‘tiny noticeable touches’ as the team are trained to get to know each and every guest and find ways of including personal touches during their stay or visit.
The OGH offers a range of facilities and atmospheres from the South African curry room to the Regency Room, which is popular for weddings with its neutral colours and views across to Herm and Sark. The Crown Club is accessible from the street and stays open until 12.45am so it’s a popular and more sophisticated late-night venue. It is also a delicious option for a brunch or lunch – as Islandmums members if you gather a group of four or more, then one person eats free.
The Olive Grove offers al fresco dining with chefs cooking fresh flatbreads and hummus on the outdoor Roccbox ovens – Islandmums members receive a complimentary small glass of wine or soft drink with each meal.
Afternoon Tea is also available and as Islandmums members you get a complimentary glass of Prosecco or a Bellini with your selection of finger sandwiches, scones, cream and freshly baked cakes.
Zory is obviously extremely passionate about her work, about the camaraderie that exists between the staff and guests and about the high quality experience The OGH offers. Her eyes light up as she talks and she confesses that she could speak for hours about the management, the food, history, the décor, the location, the views, the culture and how much she enjoys her job.
‘I absolutely love it here. That’s it now, I’m not leaving! Being part of the Red Carnation Hotel Group is wonderful – having positive and caring management makes all the difference. The hotel itself is also just incredible. I encourage everyone to come and see us and let us make you feel at home,’ said Zory.