When choosing a bed and breakfast establishment to stay in, whether for just one night or your whole vacation, there are a few things to consider that will help make your stay a great one. Often, it is a last minute choice to select bed and breakfast accommodation over a hotel or other establishment, but unlike holiday packages, last minute bookings are rarely any more or less expensive than bookings made in advance. This makes bed and breakfast accommodation an easy part of your vacation to budget for. However, most proprietors will prefer you to book in advance, if only by a few days; this helps them provide the service they want to in order to maintain high standards that encourage return visits.
In the UK, almost every commercial business now has some kind of web presence, whether it is a small advert on a larger site or their own dedicated web site. Finding and booking bed and breakfast accommodation could not be simpler. When you know the general area you want to stay in, do a web search with “bed and breakfast” and the name of the area such as “Isle of Wight” or a more specific location such as “Freshwater”. These will bring up a number of individual bed and breakfast web sites along with any local tourist office sites that also list holiday accommodation. Bed and breakfast accommodation is traditionally offered in family homes converted for the purpose; this means that often, the accommodation is in a quiet side street but still very close to the nearby attractions or sea front. Farm house bed and breakfast is another popular option, either on full working farms (which may mean a slightly noisier or smellier stay depending on the time of year) or on farms that have retained a portion of the original land but now operate as part of the tourist industry.
There are a number of quality symbols used in the UK to denote the level of service or quality of accommodation, and often an establishment will have several different awards or quality marks on display. If you just need a bed for the night and something to eat the next morning, then the number of stars or roses may not be as important to you as the cost of the accommodation and the location, but if you are planning to stay a few days in one bed and breakfast, the quality ratings will be a way of influencing your choice. The Enjoy England rose mark is given to establishments including bed and breakfast accommodation that have been checked by independent and objective assessors. Within this scheme, stars are awarded from one to five (with five stars being the highest award) for cleanliness, ambiance, hospitality service and food. Gold and Silver awards are given for those businesses who perform above the expectations of the stars awarded.
The AA also operate a similar scheme, as do several other organisations that focus on the food and design aspects of the accommodation, as well as organisations that look at child-friendly accommodation. Businesses that achieve high marks in these award schemes usually display their quality symbols prominently, both on their web sites and in their advertising literature. Family and friends recommendations are also a good way of finding the gems of bed and breakfast accommodation. People remember the good places as well as the bad, and sometimes you could be directed to a wonderful place just outside the area you were originally considering.