I was born in England and emigrated to New Zealand when I was only six years old, I consider myself a kiwi but have regularly made trips back to the UK to visit family. The last time I went to England was about 7 years ago when I was living in Brunei and was in desperate need of some culture and floral inspiration for my paintings. During this time I stayed in a London bed and breakfast while visiting the beautiful Chelsea Gardens. The bed and breakfast I chose was a really pretty Victorian Semi detached in Kensington. Rather than stay in impersonal hotels I prefer to choose bed and breakfasts as I have always had pleasant experiences of kind people who go that extra mile to make you feel welcome. I don't truly think you experience a country until you have stayed with someone locally, shared their home and in England, eaten the genuine English cooked breakfast.
I'm really fussy when I'm planning a trip and when I find something I think will suit, I always read the reviews. A photo can easily look better than the real thing, images don't show the exact size of a room or the cleanliness, a picture may paint a thousand words but sometimes a few of those words might be missing. Of course when you are looking around for accommodation, cleanliness and comfort is paramount, this is where reviews truly come in handy. Put into Google search the name of the bed and breakfast you choose and add the word, "reviews" onto the end of the bed and breakfasts name. Please don't disregard a place for one bad review, check the date of the review, if it was because the accommodation was a little tired, its highly likely the owners have since re-decorated. Read a number of reviews and make sure they are current. I have never been disappointed with any of the places I've stayed since using reviews and I have travelled extensively throughout England and Europe.
The following are important points when seeking accommodation:
- Room size
- Bed size and comfort level
- Do they have washing facilities (most don't but some do allow you to catch up with your washing)
- Cost - don't always go for the cheapest, as with most accommodation you usually get what you pay for, however there can be a big difference between two places of a similar price.
- Shared bathroom or en suite?
- Shower or Bath?
- Is there a TV in the room? - Often missing from B&B's but doesn't bother me as I'm there to sight-see, not catch up with the latest Coronation Street :)
- Do they have a guest lounge or garden you can access.
- Is dinner available at an extra cost (sometimes it's nice to eat in rather than going out every night).
- Proximity to public transport
- Proximity to tourist highlights/shopping
- Check overall reviews.
I have often thought of how nice it would be to own a bed and breakfast when I retire. Possibly a small place in the country with 2 guest rooms and a small studio/gallery for my paintings, what a wonderful way to keep busy and meet new people from new places. One can show off their cooking expertise and really go out of ones way to make sure guests experience great hospitality when visiting your country.
If I had my own bed and breakfast I would design my bedrooms to be fresh and clean with special little touches such as a home made chocolate on the pillows on arrival, scented candles and gorgeous crisp white cotton sheeting. Sometimes rooms lack little extras such as a small table or desk and chair but if you can find space, I feel they are important. I don't think bed and breakfast proprietors have to spend a fortune to create a little style to their rooms. These days with so much inspiration on the Internet it is easy to take a style and re-create it without a huge expense. I am in the process of styling a couple of bedrooms in a house that is going up for sale. I will be sharing the two room makeovers next week and telling you how much, or rather, how little spent in creating what I think is 2 inviting rooms to sleep in.
If your looking for ideas for your bed and breakfast rooms or want a change to your own bedroom, I have found some inspiration to share. Note: these are not bed and breakfast interiors, simply inspiration for creating that perfect place, to rest your head.
And for a little sunshine and a touch of Morocco, mind you I would iron the pillows perfectly :)...
If you've always stayed at hotels, I would most definitely recommend experiencing a bed and breakfast stay your next trip away, especially if your visiting London where hotel prices are sky high.
Have a great weekend.