It took me a long time to book a night in a B&B. I used to love watching Channel 4’s Four In A Bed and used it to form some rather intense opinions on what it was like to stay in a local B&B, and I promise, they weren’t pleasant.
It wasn’t until I wanted to visit Longleat Wildlife Park but found that all the chain hotels anywhere nearby were booked up that I finally committed to actually trying a B&B, and I was surprised to realise that all my preconceptions were completely and utterly wrong.
Perhaps, like me, you’ve always turned your nose up at the thought of staying in a B&B over a hotel, and you just need someone or something to give you a little push to take the plunge. Read on to find out which myths I’m busting in this post.
They’re basically a bedsit in someone’s house
I have no problem with using a public loo, but the thought of bumping into one of the other guests at 2am in my jammies wasn’t particularly appealing. Some of the places on C4 had curfews, and I wasn’t prepared for that either. But the most horrific thought was that I’d be laying in bed next to the host, who would be listening in to every move we make and every word we say.
Had our first experience in a B&B been like that, I probably would have stuck to Travelodges, but our first room was in the annex of a pub in Hindon, not too far from Longleat, and I fell completely in love with it. We were completely secluded with an outdoor seating area, a giant bed and SKY TV – what more could you ask for?
In the past three years, I’ve stayed in pubs, annexes and townhouses. All but two have offered rooms with an en-suite bathroom. All have provided a front door key. And none of the hosts have involved themselves in my business. Safe to say, this myth of mine was based on irrational fears more than anything.
They’re dirty or have broken facilities
What is more horrifying than the moment in Ramsay’s Hotel Hell when he whips out the UV light; or in Four In A Bed when they lift up the toilet seats?
I was adamant that chain hotels simply had to be cleaner as they must have an army of cleaning staff poised and ready to scrub away any remnants of the previous guests. I hadn’t quite considered that more rooms means there’s less time cleaners have in each room, therefore you’ll probably find at least some smears. Whereas with less rooms, and a more personal touch, the B&B is probably your best bet for a filth free night.
Although, unfortunately, I have found that in my experience, B&Bs do have more issues with facilities than hotels. In B&Bs we’ve had broken shower doors, dodgy lights and sticky locks, while in hotels we’ve had holes in walls, loose toilet seats and useless heating. I would guess it can take a B&B longer to fix a facilities issue due to budgets, but if you’re tactical in your booking, you’re unlikely to find yourself as Stig of the Dump.
For most B&B owners, their business is their home, and they have a true sense of pride. No doubt, there will be rooms that are essentially toilets (and trust me, I’ve stayed in some) but most of them are well kept, and some might even be better looking than your house!
The breakfast isn’t as good as a hotel’s
Most hotel breakfasts I’ve eaten consist of batch made food served on trays and kept warm on hot plates. Some have been delicious, but I find that the quality of food at B&Bs are usually much better.
A freshly cooked A La Carte meal of scrambled eggs on toast or eggs benedict always trump a warm buffet of bacon, sausage and beans. In one Yorkshire B&B I had the best breakfast I’d ever eaten – pancakes, berries, bacon and syrup all piled onto a plate. A taste of Heaven!
They’re more expensive
Unfortunately, this one is only a partial bust! Like hotels, the prices fluctuate based on time of year, but I’ve booked ones for anywhere between £50 and £160 a night.
In budget hotels, you’ll get the standard fixtures, fittings and fabrics, while in B&Bs, you may find yourself a room with SKY TV, luxury teas and coffees, comfy blankets, luxury toiletries and a dressing gown for the same price. I know I’d much rather pay a few pounds more to stay in a unique room, in the location we want, with delicious made to order breakfasts.
Ultimately, you get what you pay for: familiarity or novelty.
Now I think about it, I prefer a quirky, unique B&B room over a hotel or cabin any day. There’s no other type of accommodation that offers visitors an individualised experience, immersed in the culture and lifestyle of the location, so I implore you, consider a local B&B next time you travel in the UK.