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Bed and Breakfast, or Hotel?

To stay at a good small hotel, or at a good bed and breakfast?



We're in the process of setting up our business hotel in a grand old house that was formerly run as a Bed and Breakfast, and the changes are substantial. Here's a comparision / sanity check that I put together to highlight where the two types of establishment overlap, and where they differ.

Bed and BreakfastHotel
Definition A Bed and Breakfast is primarily someone's home, where the owners let out a limited number of rooms for overnight and short term accommodation, and serve breakfasts to their guests. Definition A Hotel is a business, run with the primary purpose of providing board and lodgings for overnight and short term guests
At a good B&B, you'll feel very much a welcome guest in someone's home and you'll be encouraged to mix socially with the owner and the owner's family.At a good hotel, all the advertised services will be readilly available to you, but you shouldn't feel obliged to socialise with the owner / manager
Arriving at a B&B, you may need to co-ordinate your arrival time to suite the personal availabilty of the ownerYou should be able to arrive at a hotel at any time after earliest checkin time, including arriving late into the evening.
You may or may not be able to park on the private property that's attached to your B&B. Personally, when staying at a B&B, I'll park on the road outside the property and check before I drive onto their land, and I'm quite happy to park in the road or a nearby car park for the duraion of my stay.Except in a city centre, a hotel should offer parking on its own land for all guests, and guests should be able to drive into the car park by right as they arrive. In a city centre, parking is sometimes provided at a local car park, but you'll at least be able to drive up to reception to check in and unload.
A B&B will often require to you pay in cash or by cheque. Some take credit cardsA good hotel will accept payment by credit card and debit card, and may offer accounts for companies who book for their staff or customers regularly
At a B&B, you're unlikely to be provided with a great range of communications options - chances are that if you want to get in touch with anyone, you'll need to use your mobile phone, and that if anyone calls in for you, you'll have to take the call in the owner's room, perhaps with the owner within earshotAt a hotel, there should be good communications. These days, at business hotels that will include the availability of internet access.
The owner of a B&B is likely to be a great source of local knowledge and will usually be only too happy to tell you what there is out and about in the area, and what facilities he / she offers.Each room in a good hotel will have an "FAQ" folder that will tell you about the faciities on offer, and the locality and services and attractions around. The staff and proprietor will be able to help you too (and will be happy to do so), but that's very much in addition to the information that's at hand if you don't want to trouble anyone
In a B&B, you're likely to find that your room's quite small, as it's designed very much with the intention of being primarily somewhere for you to sleepIn a good business hotel, rooms are more spacious - you should have facilities such as a desk area where you can place your laptop, write, organise your papers, etc
Not all B&Bs offer all their rooms en-suite - some have shared bathrooms and toilets. Where a B&B does offer "en suite" facilities, it may have been added later and be utilitarian and squeezed into a corner of the bedroom. Being on a domestic supply system, hot water may be limited if everyone tries to take a shower at the same time.These days, most hotels offer en suite facilities in most or all rooms, and a good supply of hot water should be available at all times.
Reception room access may be limited or non-existant. You're buying a room to sleep in, and you'll have access to a breakfast room at breakfast time. Other access is welcome if provided, but should not be assumed.Hotels will have at least one customer lounge area, and perhaps more. If they're set in their own grounds, you can also expect to have access to at least some of the gardens although the delivery area is probably "off limits".
As you're staying in someone's home and are an honorary member of the family, you'll be offered a limited breakfast menu (typically a full English breakfast) that will be available over a relatively short period. At some B&Bs, failure to eat a full breakfast can offend the owner.Hotel breakfasts vary - most offer a wide range of continental and traditional full breakfast, served over a period of several hours, although some chains such as Holiday Inn Express are no longer offering the full breakfast option - a trend we see continuing in business hotels.
B&B room rates reflect the different level of services offered as compared to a hotel, and are usually good value for money.Hotel rates can vary widely - usually they'll be somewhat higher than B&B rates, but then you're buying a service that fits in with your requirements and schedule rather than fitting in your schedule to meet the owner's timetable.

(written 2006-06-22, updated 2006-07-03)

 
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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