You may well be planning a short break or your annual holiday at the moment and trawling the web for best rates and most popular hotels.
Whoa, lets back the bus up... Hotels? Hotels shmotels. Why not stay in a Bed & Breakfast? And you can wipe that image you have of the B&B Landlady with the list of house rules as long as your arm. You could be forgiven for not being quite sure what to think of bed and breakfast, the service you might receive and the flexibility. But the truth is B&B's ARE different - and in the best possible way. They are run by people who are passionate about their guests, they are best placed for local knowledge and what is going on in the area and more often than not, the establishment that you stay in will be unique - you could stay in 100 B&B's (world-wide) and have 100 different experiences. So here are 7 reasons why you should be choosing a B&B and what you could be missing out on:
1 Value for Money
You will often pay less in a B&B than a hotel and yet your £ will go much further. The cost, quality and sustainability meet customer requirements. The focus is on the guest experience not the bottom line. Generally B&B owners don't cut corners and it is the attention to detail that gets the best reviews and guests returning time after time.
2 Local Angle
No-one knows the area and what's going on better than someone who lives there. Your hosts will be able to recommend places to eat, child friendly attractions, indoor/outdoor things to do and share their tips on local travel - having experienced most of them first hand. More often than not, they will also go out of their way to assist you with bookings etc, before you arrive and during your stay. Many B&B owners source their supplies as locally as possible, from food to furniture they are supporting the local economy and minimising their carbon footprint.
3 Home Cooking
Doesn't your heart just drop when you enter the canteen like environment of the hotel, to see the continental breakfast staring back at you limply and the 'cooked' option drying up or better still, swimming in its own juices over a low flame? OK, that may be a sweeping statement, but I bet you have experienced such establishments. At a B&B you will get freshly cooked breakfasts, and we also have the advantage of being able to experiment and create exciting seasonal dishes. Good quality local ingredients give exceptional flavour and your breakfast is served by someone who really cares about your culinary experience. Fresh baked goods can also be on offer, not just at breakfast time, but also on your refreshment tray (my pet hate is 2 biscuits in a plastic sleeve with a 4yr sell by date) and options for afternoon tea, picnics etc.
4 The Personal Touch
The beauty of a B&B and more importantly - B&B owners - is that personal touch, you will communicate with a real person, the person that will greet you at the front door on arrival. And that person will treat you as though you are first and only person to have stepped into their establishment; because the B&B owner treats their patrons as guests, not customers. There will be attention to detail, someone will be on call to help if you need advice or help in any way - there is an innate sense of pride and it is taken personally.
You could visit every B&B in the world, and each one would be unique; the buildings will vary from cottages to castles. The beauty of staying in a B&B is that you have so much choice, choice of location (you may wish to be in the middle of no-where, by the sea or in the centre of a bustling city), choice of establishment (traditional to modern) and choice of decor (you may wish to stay in a Chocolate themed house, or be surrounded giraffes in a hunting lodge). What you will be guaranteed of is a bespoke experience, no formulaic one size fits all. B&B's don't belong to chains and so aren't restricted to to a corporate image. Very often the decor, fixtures and fittings are of the very highest quality giving the guest a luxurious yet comforting experience.
When you check into a B&B you will more than likely meet the owners, they will be around for the entirety of your stay and so they will get to understand you as a person - you won't just be on a list at the changeover of a shift. If you return to that establishment, you will be met by familiar faces and build a rapport, being made to feel truly welcome, cherished and at home.
7 Extras at No Extra Cost
Because the guest is the primary concern (not the bottom line or shareholders dividends), B&B owners go above and beyond to ensure your stay is memorable for all the right reasons. Car parking is free, WiFi is free (at all times, not just the first 20 minutes) most supply bottled water at no extra charge. Then there are the home-baked cakes available throughout the stay and cups of tea on arrival etc. The breakfast is part of your room rate as is the concierge and out of hours service. Some have other amenities like borrowing bikes, and here at HfH we have pushchairs and bike buggies so you don't have to ram everything in your car. There are other extras that will be unique to each individual B&B - and this is what really sets us apart in the hospitality industry. And when it's time to leave you don't suddenly get a bill for all the 'extras' which can put a real downer on your stay.
B&B's focus on creating a memorable experience for their guests,
who become friends and return time and time again.
So what are you waiting for...
there is a whole world of B&B's waiting to be discovered!
Until next time