Bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) are a special part of travel to Ireland and the UK and are included in quite a few of the packages that we sell here at Tenon Tours. But are they the correct accommodation style for you as a traveler? We have compiled some information for you to read to help determine if a B&B stay is right for you, so you can have the best vacation possible!
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: A bed and breakfast is someone’s home. Due to many misconceptions and questions we receive from travelers, Tenon Tours would like to make it clear that this accommodation option is a private room in a shared home. Home build dates also vary – they can range from the 1950’s to 2000’s, providing a wide range of quality, decor and configuration. Most B&B’s also have stairs with no luggage handling assistance. It’s important to note that B&B accommodations are not the right fit for everyone.
Variations in Properties:
Every bed and breakfast is someone’s home, and everyone’s home is different. Some are going to be quaint and quirky with knick-knacks and creaky stairs while others may have a boutique feel to them with abstract art on the walls. Others are going to feel like a business. Some B&B’s are working farms with animals and a lot of land, while other B&B’s are townhouses close to town, with little to no land at all. The decor may not be how you would decorate your own home. Sometimes the owners decorated when they first started the B&B and have not changed their style since they first moved in! These are things that you have to be open to if you choose to stay in a B&B.
Check in/Check out:
When checking into a bed and breakfast, you may be prompted with a note on the front door to come in and settle into your room and find a key on your bed, or perhaps the host will greet with you smiles, conversation and tea. While many hosts want to get to know their guests, not every host will be available; it all depends on the property. There will not be a concierge desk where you can physically check in or check out.
Breakfast will vary from property to property. The host may ask you the night before what you would like to have and ask for any dietary restrictions. Other times, there may only be a continental breakfast available. Breakfast times will also vary with some serving from 8am-9am and others from 7am to 10am. Please check with your host when you arrive or read the material left in your room or common space.
Tenon Tours has developed partnerships over the years with great B&B’s that will always be clean and ready for your arrival. (Please note that if you are looking for a spacious room with 600 thread count sheets on your king size bed, a B&B may not be the best option for you!) Most B&B’s will have twin and full-size beds (double), and occasionally will offer a queen or king sized bed. Extra pillows and a top sheet are not common. Some B&Bs have upgrades available to nicer rooms with larger beds that they might offer if available when you check-in but is not guaranteed. Bedding can also vary from a platform bed to a 4-poster bed, depending on how the owner has chosen to decorate.
The B&B’s that we work with vary in size. Some of the properties have only 2 rooms and others have up to 10 rooms. Staying at a smaller B&B will offer a more intimate experience. Please let your Personal Travel Specialist know if you have a preference and we will try our best to accommodate depending on location and availability.
All accommodations in Europe tend to be smaller than what we are accustomed to in the U.S. in terms of square feet, especially with B&B’s. Your room may be just big enough for the beds, you and your luggage. If you need plenty of space, a hotel may be a better option for you.
Shower Size & Water Pressure:
If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, then you understand small showers! Many B&B’s throughout Ireland and the UK have smaller showers, which often means lower water pressure which you may want to take into consideration depending on the travel experience you are used to.
If you have trouble with stairs or smaller spaces, or need a wheelchair/walker/scooter etc., B&B’s are not the best option for you. Very few B&B’s are handicap accessible, as many of them have rooms on the second floor of the house with no elevator access. If you use a wheelchair, there may be issues with getting into and maneuvering throughout the house. Please let your personal sales representative know ahead of time so that we can do our best to accommodate you.
Not all B&B’s are purpose-built, and many are older homes from before they were ever a business. This means that you may not see convenient things such as electrical outlets strategically placed throughout the room. If you have a lot of electronics, you may need to charge them at different times, as the plugs in the room may be sparse. Additionally, they may not be placed directly next to the bed as most of us hope. You may need to get out of bed and walk across the room to turn off your iPhone alarm.
As funny as this sounds, most places in Europe (this includes hotels) don’t provide washcloths. We suggest packing your own or bringing a loofa so that you are prepared if this is something you are used to having.