Hotel vs. B&B - what do you prefer?

Aug 1st, 2006, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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BTilke, I know! We've also stayed at small hotels. I was just comparing two extremes.
I must say there's a huge difference between Europe and, for instance, South Africa in the B&B scene. In SA we've stayed at the most marvellous B&B's, that were really more like small intimate luxury hotels (5-8 rooms). We never felt as a *paying* guest. In France we've been very lucky last year with a B&B's that also offered table d'hôte. The best meal of our entire trip!
MyriamC is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 09:37 AM
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A good bed and breakfast host reads their guests. Some like to have more special treatment, some like to be left completely alone.

While we consider all of our guests special, we treat them as the individuals they are. I think another important point has been made. There are many variables in the B&B world, from private entries to communal bathrooms. If you have a question, ask the owner. Find out if you will be able to exit and enter without going through private home areas. Make sure of what the amenities are. Some B&B'S are connected to farms here in Italy, some are not. Some feel like grandmother's extra bedroom, some do not. Some have flowers and wine, some do not. Some have DVD players and music, some do not. Ask what the ambience is like and if there is a website, check it out in full.

If a guest feels compelled unvoluntarily to socialize with the owners, then the owners are simply not doing their job, in my opinion.

The upside of a really nice B&B will be the indivualized service based upon the guest's needs- when you only have a few rooms, it the pleasure comes from watching the guests unwind, take in the surroundings and have the vacation which THEY choose to have...and with just a few rooms, a good B&B owner has the time (and the inclination) to provide this kind of service at a very nice level.
bellacqui is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 09:48 AM
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Just a couple weekends ago we stayed at a B&B of the type Grandma & Gramps rent out a few extra rooms in their place. We decided on a Saturday am to drive up to the coast in Normandy to get out of the Paris heat and this was the only thing we could find left. I had never stayed in a place like this before and I was hesitant, but the only other options were stay home or the couch in another B & B ! It was really nice and the owners were so sweet, however, I had nightmares all night about people coming and going in our room, or us making too much noise and waking everyone up so I didn't sleep well! I would still do it again, hopefully without the nightmares!!!
kellyee21 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 03:22 PM
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WillTravel--every B&B we ever stayed in provided a key to let yourself in.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 03:47 PM
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Very good points made on this thread.

I was just about to say though, Rufus, that WT's point is well taken about those service hours-I myself have banged on the door (yes, they got there about 15 minutes later) but you don't want to be doing that, particularly if this is a first-time trip, and everything is quite foreign to you.

That's why I was a bit concerned about animal's choice in Venice. I just read a couple of reviews, and that's EXACTLY what happened to a couple who, first of all, couldn't find the place in San Polo, because of the terrible directions, and then, once they found it, with help, no one was around, so they had to wait for almost an hour before someone went and found the owner! This is not a great start (otherwise, they liked it very much, though).

I also agree that you can get quite personalized service in a large hotel-I certainly did at the Budapest Marriott-which surprised me no end. But I also agree with the points made about a good B&B, where an astute owner "reads" the guests, to see how much interaction they want-there are some truly lovely B&B's around, that can give a guest a real sense of the historical locale, particularly say, in Venice, if it's a B&B in an ancient palazzo, or in a renovated convent-this historical atmosphere is much harder to recreate in a full-scale hotel-not impossible, but much more difficult-and expensive.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 07:50 PM
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Ah, reception. I didn't read carefully. But it's never been a problem for us in several decades of travel. People sometimes show up at hotels and find their reservation has been lost and no rooms are available--that's never happened to us either.

I would imagine either situation is a problem a very small percentage of the time. Nothing I'd avoid either B&Bs or hotels over.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 08:23 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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There's no right or wrong...just personal preference.
We have stayed in a lot of B&B's over the years,,,mostly in UK! Breakfast is great., but you often get a good breakfast included in a small hotel also. B&B's are often just as ,or more ,expensive than a good hotel.
THe past few years we've stayed in nice hotels., bad knees don't do steps and most B&B's have steps and rooms on upper floors. (a few have ground floor rooms, but they are usually not desirable,...small, next to the kitchen etc).
ANd there is the privacy factor which has been mentioned.....much more privacy in a hotel.
I enjoy visiting with people and owners of B&B, but STILL prefer hotels.
Am not familiar with those places you mentioned, but would like to hear about your accommodations after your return.
Sounds like you have done research and the places will probably be lovely. (Trip Advisor sometimes is not always "on target", but still a good measuring tool nevertheless.)
Often on WEEKENDS in Europe one can get wonderful prices at Marriott's etc and I think that is always a treat, ....with their many ammendities.!
Not everything has to be "Atmospheric",,,, COMFORT plays a part!!!
mari5 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 09:18 PM
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The lines between B&Bs, inns, guesthouses, boutique hotels, alberge, riad or ____ has blurred to the point that the names don't mean that much to me. I have to see the place, either through picture or a walk through... or at least read some reviews or something so I know what I'm getting into.

"We're not B&B people!"

At least not the traditional B&Bs. I feel like some of the others, that I'm not comfortable in that private home setting. Sure, if you are fortunate enough to click with the owners, then it's good. But otherwise, you're like the bad houseguest, except you get to pay for feeling like an intruder. Well, I do anyway.

I'm not a fan of the big hotels either. I don't ever really use all the services, like the concierge, but the ones that don't have services are usually bland as a rice cake. And I've stayed in large hotels which were fantastic, but my working class background left me walking through the lobby feeling a little like the street urchin with his nose against the 5* restaurant window. lol It's fine, I guess, but I don't get much thrill from shiny banisters and pillow mints.

Anyway, I do like the small little hotel/inn/next gen B&Bs - whatever you call them. Vaguely homey, regardless of the decorating style. A little character is good. Usually a check in desk (sometimes literally a desk), not necessarily a clerk 24/7, but a way to get hold of someone at least. The freedom of a hotel, the scale of a B&B. I like that.

As far as country vs city (the other sub-topic) - I like some population around me. Small town or city, but not so much the farm stay type stuff. Prefer to have some options within walking distance (or, occasionally, weaving distance if the wine was good).
Clifton is offline  

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