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The Bella Luce has a fascinating history dating back to the 16th century, whilst the Wheadon Family who currently own and operate the Hotel also have historic family ties to the property.
A traditional two-storey five-bay longhouse that stands within the ecclesiastical Fief de Blancheland (founded in 1154 AD), the Bella as it appears now was first mentioned in records between 1550 and 1625. It has since then been re-fronted and extended considerably over the years, however there are several original features that remain such as the fireplace in the bar (with it’s red Chausey and Cobo granite chimney) and slight changes in floor level along the length of the building; in past centuries the bar would have been the original kitchen, whilst livestock would have been kept “downhill” in the space that is now the restaurant.
The well and old wall in the Courtyard outside the bar have many historic features such a stone corbels with circular holes in them to hold a wooden shaft, and the “witches seats” (small ledges (peculiar to Guernsey and Jersey) which were left protruding from walls for a passing witch to sit and rest on, thus placating them and ensuring a trouble-free existence.
Census records show that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Bella Luce was a private home, during which time the Grandmother of the present owners Luke and Matthew Wheadon lived here as a child – a pleasing coincidence that was only discovered after the Bella came into their ownership when Luke met an elderly lady who used to take tea with his Grandmother at the property in her childhood. In the early 1920s the Bella Luce was converted into a hotel for a period before, we believe, returning to use as a private family home.
During Guernsey’s occupation by Nazi Germany during the Second World War, the family who lived in the building were evicted to make way for officers of the Luftwaffe who were billeted here. A brass plaque by the well in the Courtyard Garden marks the place where it is thought the family who were evicted buried the contents of their cellar for safekeeping, however it was later discovered and drunk by the Germans.
In the mid 20th Century the southern extension was built and the Bella returned to use as a hotel, with the Cellar Lounge also operating as a nightclub named “Lucifers” through the 1970s. The hotel and restaurant has had several owners and evolved further since then, but following a management-led buy-out in 2011 the Bella Luce is now a family-run business, with Luke managing the day-to-day operation of the hotel, restaurant and bar.
The Wheadon Family see themselves as custodians of the Bella Luce, and their aim is to preserve and continue to enhance the character of the building whilst delivering the highest level of international standards in service, hotel-keeping and dining in a small, boutique, hotel environment. All of us here believe that the Bella experience is something very special, and it is something that we are proud to share.