Why stay in a B&B?
One of the unexpected positives of the Covid crisis (if there can possibly be any) is that people who may not have holidayed in the UK for a number of years and have not previously stayed in a B&B got to experience places like the English Riviera and places to stay like St Weonards!
So, to help out anyone who finds themselves in this new situation here are some of the benefits of staying in a B&B over a large hotel.
Your B&B will generally also be the owners home – for them it is not just a job. It matters to them that you have a good stay, tell your friends about it and come back! They choose to have guests in their home, they will be people and genuinely interested in getting to know you. They should pride themselves on making your stay a good one and helping you to create fantastic holiday memories.
If you want an anonymous stay without contact with anyone else then maybe a B&B is not for you. If you want to be treated well and made to feel special then a B&B is the place to be!
You will receive personal service throughout your booking journey and stay as most often your host will also be the ‘receptionist’, cleaner, breakfast chef, waiter and maintenance person!
With most B&B owners living on-site you are likely to be met on arrival – and with a warm welcome. Some, like St Weonards, will even offer a complimentary drink on arrival. You’ll be provided with all the information that you need for your stay and offered advice on the best places to visit, get good food or to bag a local bargain!
At St Weonards we like to meet and greet our guests, to find out a little about them and to see if there is anything we can do to make their holiday a bit more special.
A B&B bedroom is highly unlikely to be a corporate carbon copy of the other 200 bedrooms in the hotel. Each and every room will be different. At St Weonards we have different room sizes, bed types and décor. Each is individually decorated and we hope with a little personality (although some of that has had to be removed under Covid restrictions!).
Of course, the standard of your accommodation can vary according to budget but all the B&B owners we have met pride themselves on providing clean and comfortable accommodation – we certainly do. We also like to provide facilities in the room that will match and better those you might find in a budget hotel-branded tea, coffee and hot chocolate, hairdryers (and a mirror that you can use it in front of!) and big soft bath sheets are all standard at St Weonards!
A bed and breakfast should be exactly that – a good bed and a good breakfast. We have covered the bed so let’s move on to the breakfast! This is where a bed and breakfast can really come into its own. Proprietors are often ex-chefs or worked in catering before. They will be dealing with much smaller numbers for breakfast so your food will usually be cooked to order, there should be no lukewarm buffet with congealing scrambled egg! Some may request pre-ordering but at St Weonards we like you to be able to choose on the day.
With service and quality trumping profit margin, a lot of B&Bs will serve locally sourced food – so you are supporting the local economy further as well as having a fantastic breakfast! There is also likely to be a wide selection of hot food – we serve everything from hot, sweet French Toast (with bacon or fruit compote and maple syrup) to an omelette (which can include a little of everything including ham, cheese, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and peppers!). Of course, we also serve the traditional and ever-popular Full English with a choice of eggs (poached, fried or scrambled) and we can even deliver a ‘bagged breakfast’ to your door if you prefer.
As with many B&Bs, there is also a continental offering. Depending on the budget you may find more or less on offer but we can assure that in general, a B&B owner will take huge pride in delivering a breakfast that you will remember.
It is not just the food that is important at breakfast time though, it is the service and ambience. You will not be sitting in a vast room with piped pan music at a table only recently vacated by someone else. You’re going to get a friendly owner greeting you who asks about your evening and if you slept well. Someone who wants to know what your plans are for the day ahead and offers advice like the best place to park or the most scenic route or a great café nearby for a spot of lunch.
Your B&B hosts will be familiar with the area you are visiting and will have more of a vested interest in you having a great time as they’ll want you to come back. They’ll know the best place to park, the best restaurants, the dog-friendly beaches, the best place to buy a particular item, the nearest chemist, the most scenic route to walk to a local attraction or the best place for afternoon tea. The list is endless of things you might want to know and they will have the answer. Think of your hosts as your own personalised Google.
What you won’t get at a B&B are some of the extras a large property can offer – a lift, 24-hour reception or a swimming pool. Many B&B’s are not licenced and do not provide evening meals or a gym so if you want these services you may be better booking a traditional hotel.
You may well find though that there are services on offer, the owners will likely be on-site throughout your stay and happy to answer questions (they may even provide you with a mobile number in case they are away!). There could be an honesty bar or drinks service and evening meals offered on request. The hosts are likely to offer an informal concierge service offering advice, taking in laundry, helping you book a local trip or getting the local bus timetable for you.
When it comes to leaving, your hosts at a B&B will be genuinely interested in if you have had a great time and any feedback you have. They will want you to return. At a hotel, you’ll often just hand a blank key card over the counter and wave goodbye to a receptionist who never even knew your name, you’ve never seen before and doesn’t really care if you ever come back or not.
Book direct bonuses
A lot of B&Bs rely on Online Travel Agents such as Booking.com and Expedia to get their name out there. Unfortunately, in return for having the property on their website these OTAs charge the B&B huge levels of commission. Whilst OTAs simple booking processes certainly have their place the B&B owner will want you to book direct (and to tell your friends about your stay). They will often offer the best rates on their own website, special offers and other enticements to get you to book direct and to come back.
We heartily recommend calling a property before you book. By all means use the ‘big boys’ to research the available accommodation in the area that you are travelling to. But, once you have seen a place you fancy staying in, please get in touch direct. You are likely to save yourself some money and make the owners day!
At St Weonards our rates are always at least 10% higher if you book through an Online Travel Agent. We put special offers on our website (follow us on Facebook or join our VIP list for notification) and offer free parking to guests who book with us direct.
Have we persuaded you to consider a B&B for your next break?