Accommodations

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Accommodations

Hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, rural inns, or luxurious country houses—there's a style and price to suit most travelers. Wherever you stay, make reservations well in advance.

Our local writers vet every hotel to recommend the best overnights in each price category, from budget to expensive. Unless otherwise specified, you can expect private bath, phone, and TV in your room.

Lodgings are indicated in the text by. Throughout Britain, lodging prices often include breakfast of some kind, but this is generally not the case in London.

Apartment and House Rentals

If you deal directly with local agents, get a recommendation from someone who’s used the company. Unlike with hotels, there's no accredited system for apartment-rental standards.

Bed-and-Breakfasts

B&Bs can be a good budget option, and will also help you meet the locals. Cottages, unlike B&Bs, usually do not provide breakfast.

Reservation Services

Bed & Breakfast.com (512/322–2710. www.bedandbreakfast.com.)

The Bed and Breakfast Club (01243/370692. www.thebedandbreakfastclub.co.uk.)

Wolsey Lodges (01473/822058. www.wolseylodges.com.)

Cottages

Contacts

Classic Cottages (01326/555555. www.classic.co.uk.)

National Trust (0844/335–1287; 44-122/579–2274 in U.S. www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk.)

Rural Retreats (01386/701177. www.ruralretreats.co.uk.)

VisitBritain (0207/578–1000. www.visitbritain.com.)

Table

Local Dos and Taboos

Doing Business

Punctuality is of prime importance; if you anticipate a late arrival, call ahead. For business dinners, if you proffered the invitation, it's usually assumed that you’ll pick up the tab. If you're the visitor, however, it's good form for the host to pay the bill. Alternatively, play it safe and offer to split the check.

Farmhouses

Contacts

Farm & Cottage Holidays UK (01237/459–888. www.holidaycottages.co.uk.)

Farm Stay UK (024/7669–6909. www.farmstayuk.co.uk.)

Historic Buildings

Contacts

Celtic Castles (01422/323200. www.celticcastles.com.)

English Heritage (0870/333–1181. www.english-heritage.org.uk.)

Landmark Trust (01628/825925. www.landmarktrust.org.uk.)

National Trust (0844/335–1287; 44-122/579–2274 in U.S. www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk.)

Portmeirion Cottages (01766/770000. www.portmeirion-village.com.)

Rural Retreats (01386/701177. www.ruralretreats.co.uk.)

Stately Holiday Cottages (01638/674756. www.statelyholidaycottages.co.uk.)

Unique Home Stays (01637/881183. www.uniquehomestays.com.)

Vivat Trust (01981/550753. www.vivat-trust.org.)

Home Exchanges

With a direct home exchange you stay in someone else's home while they stay in yours. Some outfits handle vacation homes, so you're staying in someone's vacant weekend place. Home Exchange.com offers a one-year membership for $101; HomeLink International costs $119 for an annual online membership, which includes a directory listing; and Intervac U.S. offers international membership for $100.

Exchange Clubs

Home Exchange.com (800/877–8723. www.homeexchange.com.)

HomeLink International (800/638–3841. www.home-exchange-usa.com.)

Intervac. (800/756–4663. www.intervac-homeexchange.com.)

Hostels

Although the decor may be basic, some hostels in England and Wales are in extraordinary locations, and others are simply beautiful. You can stay in them no matter what your age.

Members of the Boy Scouts may want to consider London's useful Baden-Powell House, which offers rooms for as little as $32 a night for Scouts and their families, and to non-Scouts for $113. Rooms book up far in advance.

Hotels

Most hotels have rooms with "ensuite" bathrooms—as private bathrooms are called—although some older ones may have only washbasins; in this case, showers and toilets are usually down the hall. Especially in London, rooms and bathrooms may be smaller than those you find in the United States.

Besides familiar international chains, England has some local chains that are worth a look; they provide rooms from the less expensive (Travelodge, basic but bargain, and Premier Inn are the most widespread; Jurys Inns offer good value in city centers) to the trendy (ABode, Hotel du Vin, Malmaison).

Local Chains

ABode (www.abodehotels.co.uk.)

Hotel du Vin (0871/943–0345; 44-121/616–3613 in U.S. www.hotelduvin.com.)

Jurys Inn (0870/410–0800. www.jurysinn.com.)

Malmaison (01962/850676. www.malmaison.com.)

Premier Inn (0871/527–9222. www.premierinn.com.)

Travelodge (0871/984–8484 in U.K.; 800/525–4055 in U.S. www.travelodge.co.uk.)

Hotel Grading System

Hotels, guesthouses, inns, and B&Bs in the United Kingdom are all graded from one to five stars by the tourism board, VisitBritain. Basically, the more stars a property has, the more amenities it has, and the facilities will be of a higher standard. It's a fairly good reflection of lodging from small B&Bs up to palatial hotels. The most luxurious hotels will have five stars; a simple, clean, acceptable hostelry will have one star.

Discounts and Deals

Hotel rates in major cities tend to be cheapest on weekends, whereas rural hotels are cheapest on weeknights. The lowest occupancy is between November and April, so hotels lower their prices substantially during these months.

Lastminute.com offers deals on hotel rooms all over the United Kingdom. VisitLondon.com, London's official website, has some good deals.

Local Resources

Lastminute.com (0800/083–4000. www.lastminute.com.)

Doing Business

Punctuality is of prime importance; if you anticipate a late arrival, call ahead. For business dinners, if you proffered the invitation, it's usually assumed that you’ll pick up the tab. If you're the visitor, however, it's good form for the host to pay the bill. Alternatively, play it safe and offer to split the check.

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