Allow me to start off by saying that I design websites for bed and breakfast providers. I have been inside many institutions, photographed them from all angles, sampled the food, experienced the problem of finding them if they are off the beaten track and spent time with their owners.
Sometimes I’ve felt like The Hotel Inspector. Sometimes I’ve buttoned my lip and said nothing, occasionally I have politely voiced my concerns. If I’ve seen something amiss it’s a fairly certain bet that guests will also and will be only too keen to say on Trip Advisor or social media.
There’s a clue in that previous sentence if you are researching Bed and Breakfast providers. What experiences have previous guests had?
Were the owners friendly and helpful, or did they act like they did not want guests in their home?
Were the rooms and facilities clean and tidy? Was the location peaceful or were you looking onto a major road and a building website?
Trip Advisor will tell you all this and more.
Take a look at how owners react to negative comments. Remember, disgruntled guests and people who need to complain about the smallest thing are the ones most likely to post. Did their complaints seem valid and how did the owner respond?
I tell my website customers that bed and breakfast customers shop with their eyes. Photos, photos, photos. Guests want to see what the place they are coming to resembles. What the rooms look like, what the shower rooms look like, what the view from their window will be, what the food looks like.
If those photos aren’t on a supplier’s site, or they’re grainy and out of focus, ask yourself why that might be? If the website hasn’t been updated in years, might that tell you something.
Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. A B&B that prices #45 a night for 2 people probably won’t be as smart or as spacious as a person which charges #145 a night. Lower pricing doesn’t need to imply that rooms are dirty and facilities do not work.
Look to determine if the area (s) you are booking have their own en-suite facilities or have shared facilities. There seems to be a growing trend in britain for a roll top bath to be placed in the bedroom. If you are young and in love, you could be very happy to bathe together or to have your partner watching. But would you be so keen if you are two buddies using the space as a double room?
If you have pets – check that dogs are welcome. If in doubt, call the owners and ask.
If you have young children, check that the B&B is kid friendly. You don’t need to find that the establishment doesn’t accept kids and have your holiday ruined. Respect those that don’t accept kids – they may have had a bad experience, they may have elderly owners, they may specifically run a kid free institution.
Some establishments will offer a”room only” rate. This may be what you want if you’re staying only 1 night and have an early start. Or perhaps you’re one of those individuals who just doesn’t eat breakfast.
Make certain you know what size the mattress is. For some couples this is not an issue, but if one or both of you is tall, or a little on the wide side, you might prefer a larger size double bed – king or super king size.
Check what facilities are offered in the bathroom. In case you have mobility issues you may prefer a different, walk-in shower. Make sure you read the owner’s description and if in doubt, email or phone to check.
Most B&Bs are happy to cater to special dietary requirements. Not telling the proprietor your special requirements until you sit down to breakfast leads to embarrassment. Most owners will want to fulfill your needs and will feel angry and embarrassed if they can’t – advance notice helps to ensure that the food your require will be available when you want it.
Check the location of the B&B. You might want peace and quiet in an isolated, rural location. Or you may choose to stay somewhere that’s more easily accessible to the regional sights and doesn’t demand a 10 mile drive up and down the valley to reach it every day. An internet mapping service will usually give you a pretty accurate location and there may even be Street View so you can see where you’re planning to stay.
In the UK there is 1 site that lists the majority of the accommodation local to a choice of small towns – B&Bs, self catering and hotels. Unlike other sites that list hotels nationwide, or self catering nationwide, this website focuses on listing all of the lodging in a defined local area.