I’ve started enough B&Bs in New Zealand, where they brought out some terrific hospitality. When the owners of on place in the USA checked on me to make sure I got home, as if I were their own daughter, I knew this was the way to travel, especially as a lone female.
I’ve been meaning to post and praise bed and breakfast establishments. Living in Europe, travel has been considerably more expensive than in Southeast Asia. I found B&Bs to be an excellent alternative. The more I travel throughout the UK, the more fun I find in trying an assortment of places and comparing notes.
It seems counter intuitive. B&Bs are often people’s own homes. You are walking into their space, living under their roof. The smallest B&B I stayed at was all of two rooms where they keep the adjoining doors locked and a back entrance separate from their own. Some rooms I’ve stayed at had old photos of their family’s generations past. One had an eerie porcelain-faced doll staring right at me when I lay in bed (I ended turning her face away). One had a rocking chair with a quilt throw sewn by the owner’s grandmother. Another had such a dangerously steep ladder called a staircase that had I been wearing a skirt, anyone “downstairs” would be looking right up at my crotch. Definitely not a universally clearly standard of size, shape, safety, or decor.
The bathrooms are always a hoot. Some of them were added as part of the conversion into a B&B. One had a large bedroom, but turned the closet into the ensuite “facilities” where I had to keep the sliding door open so I can sit on the toilet comfortably. Continental Europeans seem to have something against showers and shower curtains- leaving the entire room to inevitably be doused sopping wet with no safe corner for your towel.
Each new B&B is an adventure. I have a little bit of excitement walking into a new one each time. The truth is.. you really don’t know what to expect at all!
One this I found to be consistent across the board is the superb hospitality of all the hosts and hostesses. As varying as the definition of comfort and furnishings are, never had any of them shied from helping or offering help. Every single place I’ve been, the owners had plenty of recommendations, most of which pan out. My recent scare has now pushed me to B&Bs even more than ever now.
It’s not to say B&Bs are a sure bet. I do much more meticulous research on these accommodations because it still is someone’s home I would be walking into. Sites like TripAdvisor, toprooms.co.uk, and Booking.com are crucial not only because ratings give a perspective by past guest experiences but also because these independent establishments rely on large travel sites and good customer reviews to bring business to them. The reputation of a chain like Four Seasons will always have a consistent clientele and have a reputation of maintaining standards in all their locations. B&Bs don’t have the same branding advantage, making customer reviews their key to success.