I have always preferred to stay in a bed and breakfast when I went on holiday whether it was the Isle of Wight or Dubai. It is nicer to stay at a hotel but then this depends on the price. Certain destinations abroad like Egypt, Dubai, India have hotels that cost the same or cheaper than a guesthouse in London. Of course there are hotels that are not affordable but I did stay in a 5 * hotel in Sharm El Shaikh and Cairo and both were very low rates. This is about 10 years ago. London guesthouses and bed and breakfasts vary greatly in room rates. At Rose Guesthouse where I work in London, we do not offer breakfast though from time to time we have provided breakfast. Presently we upgraded the rooms and provide a self catering facility which is the normal electric kettle for tea, toaster, microwave, small fridge/freezer. The microwave we added for the comfort of the guests and at their request. With a guesthouse, a lot of customers would like to have a kitchen facility or at least a room with some catering facility.
Families that have children love to have the catering facility in preference to the bed and breakfast because firstly this keeps the rates low plus it allows families with babies or small children to be able to cater for them using the microwave, kettle and toaster to make milk hot and their breakfast when they decide to get up. Children get up either too early or too late so having a bed and breakfast may not be useful. Children of different ages sitting and eating in a dining room can also be a nightmare especially if you have a small baby who keeps crying and disturbing all the other guests trying to eat their breakfast peacefully.
It all really depends on what a person requires when they go on holiday. Couples may prefer a bed and breakfast but then they can always visit the local low budget restaurants in town that provide a lovely breakfast; bacon, eggs, sausages, beans, garlic mushrooms, toast, tea or coffee for less than £5 each. They get to see the sights of the area at the same time. I would on the one hand love to have breakfast in the bed and breakfast (b and b) I am staying at but then if they do not provide it, the local cafe would be fine as it gets me out of the place and ready for my tourist visit to London. I would not want to spend too much time at the place I stay at but would prefer to spend as much time as possible visiting the sights of London which is what I probably came to see in the first place.
There are other more important things I need when staying somewhere which would be a nice hot shower every day and a nice clean room with a very cosy bed to sleep in and I would need silence at night time as a busy place with noise all night would be terrible. I know some places are like that so I would want to be sure of a nice restful sleep at night time.
It is a simple question, “Do you prefer to stay in a guesthouse or bed and breakfast?” but one that each person that visits a destination needs to ask themselves. Of course if you leave it too late beggars can not be choosers so you get what is available and that may end up being an expensive hotel if you have not booked in advance for a b and b or guesthouse. Cheaper places need to be booked in advance especially for special holidays like New Years Day, children;’s holidays, and the summer period is the busiest time of the year when all the tourists hit London.
There are other cheaper options like hostels but they are usually for the younger generation who enjoy being dumped with a load of strangers from all over the world so they can make some friends while visiting London. it does not suit all young people however and it is a type of person that suits a hostel or lack of money also probably as they really are very cheap starting at £10 per night. Guesthouses and bed and breakfasts start at £40 per night upwards depending on the size of the room and whether it is ensuite or not.
Hostels consist of bunk beds crammed in rooms of 10 or 20 people who don’t know each other. I would hate that though when I was in my teens I would not have minded it so much except I would be worried my things might get stolen while I am asleep. If you sleep soundly even your mobile phone and passport can be stolen from under your pillow. I would be hugging onto these items probably if I stayed at a hostel. Some hostels are mixed and I would not like to share with the opposite sex. If I am visiting with my partner I would prefer a private double room. On the other hand many hostels keep dormitories separate for men and women so if I went with a group of friends that were mixed we would not be together for the holiday except when we would meet up to go out to visit London. It is a matter of choice.
If I could afford it I would rather stay at a hotel but this all depends on my needs or requirements. Some hotels are not that good as they are so busy at night time. They can be noisy with new incoming visitors coming at midnight or thereafter. There can be guests in neighbouring rooms who want to stay awake all night partying in the room or just talking all night. I would hate that and would demand a refund if that happened to me as my sleep is very important. Whether I stay at a hotel, b and b or guesthouse I need to sleep and I believe most guests would agree. There is nothing like having had a bad night not sleeping and then having to get up to a schedule of visiting London but I could not get up till late and the whole schedule got messed up because I did not get my 8 hours minimum sleep and I ended up missing seeing some important sights. With the time beign short if I have only a few days to visit London that could mean I would not get another chance to see those sights.
The bathroom should always be clean. That is another thing I feel. You would be amazed at some places where the bathroom is a mess even in hotels. Coming back to whether I would want a b and b or guesthouse I like to be able to bring food home and put it in the fridge including milk which goes bad so quickly ifleft out especially in the summertime. I cannot live without my daily cups of tea or coffee either morning or evening. I guess I want the same comfort as I would normally have in my own home. After all visiting another country should be like a visit from home to home and that is another reason why I like to stay in a guesthouse or b and b rather than a hotel. It allows me to get the feel of the country and the way the local people live. Guesthouses have the nostalgia of the local way of life. Hotels are the same everywhere but to stay in a guesthouse is like staying in someone’s home where they have allowed you to rent a room in their house.
Many guesthouses have a reception which is open daytime only and closed at night time because it is a large house being used as a guesthouse therefore 24hrs security like a hotel is not required. There is however a telephone number where staff can be contacted in emergency as some staff are living in the guesthouse. It may be locked at night time too for security reasons but that would suit me as I do not intend to come back after midnight especially there are no trains running after midnight in London. I know there are night buses but they take ages unlike the London Underground System which is very fast.
Going to a club I would probably stay out till it closes which is 4am and the trains start at 530am and night buses run all night. Rose guesthouse doors are locked from 1am to 5am but can be left open if the guests ask for this to be done on certain nights. New Years Eve the guesthouse doors are left open all night as guests are visiting to see the New Years fireworks and celebrations at London Embankment and will surely return any time during the night. Trains are running all night of New Years Day.
Rose Guesthouse has a shoes off policy inside the guesthouse and we provide guesthouse slippers to all our guests unless they prefer to bring their own. We like to promote a hygienic environment.
I would prefer to book an ensuite room too if I can afford it but I do not mind sharing a bathroom if it is a lot cheaper and shared by 5 other guests or less. I and my family could manage for the few days we would probably be staying at a guesthouse whether it be in London or abroad.
I conclude and so have many of our guests agreed that staying at a guesthouse is better. It allowed the flexibility to get up and make your own breakfast when you are ready and not have to get up for the strict time when breakfast is served in the tea room. If I can save some money by getting a room without breakfast I would prefer that too. Each customer has their own preferences and must decide what it is more important to them.
Annie Bennett - Customer Services Manager
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