There was a time when a lot of people wouldn't consider staying in a B&B. After all, it conjured up ideas of a stern land lady with a long list of rules, shared bathrooms, basic digs and Fawlty Towers. I'm glad to say that those days are long gone and a B&B today is more likely to outshine a 5 star hotel in many ways than to disappoint. Above is pictured how our reception area used to look years ago compared to the contemporary space you will see when you arrive today.
In Torquay alone, there are currently 152 B&Bs according to TripAdvisor and some 1,497 in our beautiful county of Devon. I'm pleased to say we are still at number one after almost a year in that ranking position (so thanks for all the excellent reviews!). What this stiff competition does is not only offer the consumer a great variety of types of establishment to stay in locally, but also drives up the quality.
When we moved to Torquay, we planned to offer top quality accommodation, the same as we had in North Wales. We pushed the envelope this time though in terms of what we created and have a 5 star, gold award winning B&B to be proud of. It's partly driven through necessity too though.
The thing is - when someone goes away on holiday, particularly if they're celebrating something like an anniversary or a special birthday, then they rightly want to experience better than they have at home. Unfortunately for us B&Bers, people's homes get better all the time. There was a time where finding a sink in your room and a large TV in the communal lounge area was a luxury, along with the very modern central heating system. Nowadays though, when so many people have an en-suite themselves, Netflix in every room, coffee makers, power showers, fast Wi-Fi etc then they expect all that and more when they are away. When we moved to Wales ten years ago we replaced all ten room TVs with the latest flat screen Digital TVs at a huge cost. The TVs at the time looked massive. A decade on and those TVs look tiny and are two a penny at any supermarket or electrical store. Things move on and change so quickly.
That's why we've tried to match and exceed expectations with large Smart TVs in each room which have Amazon, Apple TV and Netflix. Our luxury rooms have mood lighting, bathroom TVs, Nespresso coffee machines, iPads and all sorts of other luxuries too.
Ironically though, it's actually the little things that people comment on the most. In our busy lives, it's rare that people have time to bake any more so finding my little treats in the room when you come back from a long day of sight-seeing really makes a difference. And coming down to breakfast in the morning and enjoying home made items both off the hot menu and the cold buffet on the sideboard really make it a meal to remember.
For anyone who hasn't stayed in a B&B for a while - maybe you should. Ok, so The 25 doesn't have a gym, spa or swimming pool. It doesn't have room service or offer breakfast in bed either. But when did you last go to a hotel where you were greeted by name, had help with your bags, had a chat to the owners, felt you were really valued as a guest, and felt that the staff really cared about you having the very best time both in and outside the hotel?