As part of an introduction to Europe’s bed and breakfast accommodation, travel specialist Rick Steves recently had some very positive things to say about UK & Ireland B&Bs in the Seattle Times.
An obvious fan, Steves begins by giving a warm impression of B&Bs in general and makes a number of pertinent observations: “While B&Bs often lack the conveniences of a hotel — such as fancy lobbies, restaurants, and in-room phones — I happily make the trade-off for the personal touches that they do offer, whether it’s joining my hosts for tea in the afternoon or relaxing by a common fireplace at the end of the day. […] But even though B&Bs are family-run, it doesn’t mean you have to feel pressure to become ‘part of the family.’ Chatty friendliness is not forced on guests. Depending on my mood and workload, I am often very business-like and private during my stay. On other occasions, I join the children in the barn for the sheep-shearing festivities.”
When it comes to specifically praising B&Bs in the “British Isles”, he interestingly picks up on the issue of free WIFI (which we have have often mentioned before with regard to attracting business guests): “While you can find good family-run accommodations in any European country, the best ones are in Great Britain and Ireland. [They] typically have several rooms and are run by a charming couple or family (I avoid B&Bs run by owners who live offsite). Amenities like free Wi-Fi and a tea-making machine in the room are standard.”
But most of all, he seems a fan of the superb breakfasts, for which our B&Bs are famed: “The best part is the huge, home-cooked breakfast — the English or Irish fry. Most B&Bowners take pride in their breakfasts. Each morning, you sit down at an elegant and very British table setting in a small, intimate dining room. You help yourself to cereal, juice, yogurt, and fruit while ordering up whatever parts of the fry you desire, including bacon, sausage, eggs, broiled tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, and coffee or tea.”
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