As you may have noticed I do partake of the odd holiday in the UK so I stay in a fair view B&B's per year.
I don't ask much. My requirements are:
- Tea making facilities
- serves an evening meal.
Nice to haves
I think you'll agree that I don't ask for much. The evening meal bit rules out many pure B&B's so I often end up at small hotels or pubs.
I tend to use the AA website to track down somewhere to stay, for no other reason than it'll give me a fair selection and SOME idea as to quality. In booking my recent round of holidays I've had real problems finding places. There seemed to be a dearth of places that I considered acceptable. Or perhaps I should say met my pricing requirements.
Now excuse but HOW can a pub justify charging me £75 a night to sleep!! Yes sleep, breakfast was extra!! North Wales wasn't too bad but South Wales was difficult. Sussex was a flipping nightmare!! The place I'm going to in East Sussex is actually charging me the same per night (£48 including breakfast) as it did 7 years ago! But West Sussex was a right pain. I know prices are going up but most pubs want £70 and upwards for B&B!!
And please don't get me on single supplements. Ok I am "happy" to pay a supplement if I have a twin or double bed but if there is a single bed only in my room I would like to know why I am being charged a supplement. Are you paying attention the Mayfield House Hotel, Crudwell near Malmesbury!!
I try to budget for £75 a night which allows for accomodation , my meal and a couple of pints/glasss of wine. I think I have to revise this I reckon this is running to nearer £80 nowadays.
To be honest i'm not certain what I get for my money for B&B, there's a bit of electricity, someone sticks some tea and coffee in my room of a morning and makes the bed. Oh they cook me breakfast and for this I pay them £48 (and let me add that this isn't pricey these days, actually its pretty good).
I am not a demanding guest. Frankly all I ask is that the telly works, I can get a breakfast and the room is serviced and I can make a cuppa. I don't demand adequate seating in my room (which is good because I won't get it) just a bed to lie on and watch the telly. When I have asked you to reserve me a table please reserve it! Just give me a seat to sit in, a pint of beer/wine and a light to read my book. All you have to do of an evening is take my order and stick food under my nose.
I've noticed that residents lounges are being phased out. The excellent one at the Old Black Lion Hay-on-Wye went ages ago. More seats for food, more money. I am not complaining you understand, despite its many changes in ownership over the past 11 years the OBL still serves a good pint and good food. Its why I go back there every two to three years.
Food can be a bit variable on my travels, I was rather lucky that the OBL was the first place I ever stayed at and so I knew that I could get decent food. I am not that demanding, it doesn't have to equal the Starr at Dunmow (stop drooling Jan). I'd rather an excellent Ham Egg and Chips , Gammon Steak or a mixed grill than someone thinking they can cook and providing me something that looks pretty but tastes nowt special. Of courses places I go back regularly to do provide good food.
Another thing is service is never that stunning. I've only had really bad service a couple of times but mostly its ordinary and you are tolerated. I don't expect them to sacrifice the fatted calf but come on !! Its getting to the stage that they throw a key at you and point in a direction. The thing is good service does stick in the memory. I go back to Briarfields in Titchwell because the staff are friendly and the service good. I enjoyed my stay at the Belfry Yarcombe last year not because the room was clean and had good facilities (it was and they were) or that the food was good (it was) but the couple who ran it were friendly and didn't view you as a credit card (they may well have done but they never let it show).
I'll finish this blog with an example of good service. When I go to East Sussex this year I'll be staying at the Olde Forge near Hailsham, I've been before. My first visit was the year the proprietors took it over and the owner was closing to go on holiday. At breakfast on my last full days stay the owner explained this and said I was the only guest for dinner and would I mind ordering in advance? Well I understood his reasons and I selected the beef. He told me that he had assumed I would order that. I explained that I would have ordered the duck if it had been in a peppercorn sauce say instead of the sweet and sour on the menu. And you know what? He offered to cook it for me and it was excellent. So this year I fancied a trip to East Sussex and I'm going back there again and will happily recommend it to you.