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Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook
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Stay in Britain Accommodation Guide eBook

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Every country has its own forms of tourist accommodation and …

Every country has its own forms of tourist accommodation and
the names and standards that apply to these can be confusing for
the overseas visitor. In Britain, this can be even more confusing
as there are four different tourist authorities (England, Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland), each of whom have individual ideas
about how best to promote their region. In this booklet we
attempt to clarify some of the accommodation types and the
names used for them.

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  • 1. Stay In BritainA Guide to British accommodation(Dingley Lodge Hotel - Market Harborough) Author Tony Lucas Produced by Reserve IT Limited 2012 www.stayinbritain.co.uk
  • 2. IntroductionEvery country has its own forms of tourist accommodation andthe names and standards that apply to these can be confusing forthe overseas visitor. In Britain, this can be even more confusingas there are four different tourist authorities (England, Scotland,Wales and Northern Ireland), each of whom have individual ideasabout how best to promote their region. In this booklet weattempt to clarify some of the accommodation types and thenames used for them.TerminologyIn Britain, we may not use the same name for an accommodationtypes that you may be used to. For example we don’t use termssuch as Motel, Condo or Gite and our accommodation terms maybe unfamiliar outside of Britain so it may be useful to have abrief description of the terms we do use and what they mean.Booking the right accommodation for your visit is after all, anessential element in making your holiday a memorable one, forall the right reasons.
  • 3. Example of England Tourist Boad signTourism Standards for accommodationThere are two major organisations that provide grading schemesfor accommodation available for holiday rental in the UK, theTourist Boards and The Automobile Association.The main one is the Tourist Board which, for some strangereason, doesn’t call itself the Tourist Board anymore but goes bya variety of semi-commercial names such as Visit Britain, VisitEngland, Enjoy England, Visit Scotland, Enjoy Scotland, VisitWales, Enjoy Wales, and Discover Northern Ireland. All veryconfusing to the visitor to our shores who just wants to knowwhere they can find tourist information. A classic case of havinga great name that everyone knew and understood and then
  • 4. changing it to something that nobody outside the industryrecognizes. Genius! Example of Northern Irish Tourist Board sign
  • 5. In many towns, especially in the main tourist regions, there isoften a Tourist Information Office. These are usually sign postedand the staff are well informed about the local area and theaccommodation available. Example of Scottish Tourist Board signThe other organization that grades the quality of accommodationis the Automobile Association or the AA as they are morecommonly called. Both organizations have, at long last, workedout a common standard of grading that, in theory, should make iteasy to know what level of quality you are getting. However, aswith most quasi-governmental bodies and large organisations,nothing is that simple as the grading scheme is based on differentcriteria depending on the type of accommodation that has been
  • 6. graded. So a three star hotel may be of better quality than a fourstar B&B since different factors are used to arrive at the gradinglevel. The industry doesn’t like it and the visiting public,especially from overseas, are confused by it.Note that participation in these two schemes is voluntary andbecause of the high annual cost of these grading schemes and thepresence now of other, internet based ways, to assess the standardof any accommodation, increasingly, properties are notparticipating in these grading schemes to the level that they usedto. So be aware that the absence of any official accolade does notmean that the standard of accommodation is in any way lessthan excellent. All it indicates is that the owner is not aparticipant of the expensive and confusing official scheme. Example of Automobile Association Sign
  • 7. How to judge the quality of accommodationNot as easy at it might appear. The grading scheme does give agood indication but as we have seen it isn’t a mandatory scheme,a lot of very good properties (the majority) don’t participate andthe grades are not the same across all accommodation types.The other way to judge the quality of any establishment is to usethe social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter or Youtube)and visitor assessment rating sites (such as Trip Advisor).However, a word of caution. Many of these sites, (includingTrip Advisor), allow comments from ANYONE without therebeing any evidence that the person making the comment hasactually stayed at the property they are commenting on and theperson making the comment can remain anonymous. It is notunknown for adverse comments to have been posted by acompetitor, by someone with a personal grudge or even by aperson seeking to blackmail the property owner into a discountedrate. In some cases the criticism has been about facilities that theproperty does not actually have. The owner’s right of reply or tohave such malicious or inaccurate comments removed is aconstant source of debate within the industry. Some sites domake sure that comments can only be posted by guests that haveactually stayed at the property and in an identifiable manner, butthere is no way of necessarily knowing which sites do and which
  • 8. don’t. Having said all that, on balance these sites do give a fairindication of quality as long as they have a sufficient volume ofcomments on any particular property. Use your judgment whenlooking at these comments and don’t take them all at face value.Our advice is to look for properties whose websites have lots ofpicture and video material as well as using the social sites and, ifpresent, the recognized grading scheme. Then, if you feel itnecessary, use the visitor assessment sites to further check yourshortlist of properties.Most properties are of a good quality but it is always worthchecking before you book. Example of Welsh Tourist Board sign
  • 9. Prices and discounted ratesPrices can be based on two styles: per person per night (oftenshown as pppn) or per room per night (often shown as prpn).Be aware of these differences as they can make a significantdifference to the cost of your holiday accommodation.Rates can also be based on other factors such as meals. Forexample the rate may be “Room Only” (or RO) where all mealsare excluded from the price, it can be Bed and Breakfast (or BB)where breakfast is included but all other meals are not, it can beDinner, Bed and Breakfast (or DBB), in other words no lunchincluded or Full Board (or FB) where all meals are included inthe package. Make sure you know which applies to your bookingas there are potential opportunities to save quite a lot of money ifyou chose the rate that suites you best.Discounted ratesIt is always worth asking for discounted rates when booking.Hotels want to sell at the maximum price of course but if theyhave spare capacity on any day or period, they are often verywilling to offer a better or packaged rate if asked. This isespecially true if you are booking accommodation near to your
  • 10. arrival dates as they will be more anxious to make sure they areat maximum capacity.It is always worth asking if any discounts or promotions areavailable for your booking and they won’t be offended if you do.At the worst, they can always say there are no discounts orpromotions available.Be aware that many properties, especially, hotels, bed andbreakfast and Guest houses may also offer discounts for bookingsfor several days as they want you stay as long as possible. Somehotels have packages such as “three for two” where you book forthree nights (usually only applies to mid-week bookings) andonly pay for two nights. Many B&B’s will have a cheaper rate ifyour booking is for several days.In short, Ask!
  • 11. Definition of property TypesIt ought to be easy in theory but given the diverse nature ofproperty in Britain and the age and variety of styles ofarchitecture, there exist a variety of property types within eachaccommodation category. Sounds confusing but once youunderstand the basic principles of each accommodation type, itwill become clearer.The main property types are each discussed on the followingpages together with some advice on how to get the best out oftheir rate structures and discounts.The accommodation types discussed are:HotelsBed and BreakfastGuest HouseInn AccommodationSelf CateringNarrow boats.Nearly all accommodation in Britain will fit one of thesecategories.
  • 12. Hotel (Express by Holiday Inn London- Newbury Park)Internationally, the most widely used term for accommodation is“Hotel” and many visitors instinctively think of an hotel whenthey wish to travel to the UK.However, the term is ambiguous (and an hotel may not be themost appropriate or affordable way to stay on your holiday) normay it be what you expected unless you understand the varioustypes of hotel that exists. Officially, the use of the term Hotelapplies to a property that has 20 rooms or more of which 75%have en-suite facilities. In practice, there are a large number ofsmall hotels with 6 or more rooms that call themselves hotels andoperate as hotels and some budget travel accommodation, usuallynear motorway junctions, use the term “hotel” but are in realitybudget motels.
  • 13. The Tourist Board defines Hotels into several categories:Hotel - Formal accommodation with full service. Usually ofmore than 20 rooms. Graded 1 to 5 stars with 5 being the highestCountry House Hotel - A Hotel with large grounds or gardenswith an isolated, peaceful atmosphere. Graded on a 1 to 5 starbasisSmall Hotel - Usually less than 20 rooms, owner managed butmore personal than a chain hotel, usually with limited facilities.Graded on a 1 to 5 star basisTown House Hotel - A city centre hotel of up to 50 rooms withlimited facilities. Graded on a 1 to 5 star basisMetro Hotel - a city centre hotel with no dinner service but closeto food outlets. Graded on a 1 to 5 star basisBudget Hotels - The equivalent of a “Motel” in the USA. Pre-paid, cheap travel accommodation with very limited services. Nograding is made for these properties. (You get what you payfor.)
  • 14. You can already see that there are a range of options available toyou within this category. Basically, the first three definitions tendto be the higher end of the spectrum and the last three the cheaperwith limited facilities.Choose the hotel type that suites your needs and budget but beaware of the distinction that exists between these various hoteltypes. Choosing the wrong one could ruin your holiday or end upcosting a lot more than you thought. Also bear in mind that asmall, family run hotel may give a more personalized servicethan one of the large chain hotels, although they may not be ableto provide the same range of facilities.
  • 15. Bed and Breakfast (or B&B) (Staunton House – Leominster)We are on safer ground here as the definition explains exactlywhat you can expect as a minimum – a bed for the night and abreakfast in the morning. Officially a bed and breakfast is definedas an owner operated property with no more than 6 guests. Inreality that may be a very loose definition as we will see belowand the term Bed and Breakfast is becoming the more populardefinition.A bed and breakfast is an owner run enterprise and you will beliving in a room in the owner’s house (or sometimes a propertyattached to, or in the grounds of, the owner’s house). You canexpect a reasonably personal level of service and the freedom tocome and go as you please. Breakfast falls into two basiccategories: cooked, usually consisting of bacon, eggs, sausage,beans, toast etc. often referred to as “Full English” (or a national
  • 16. variation on that theme, such as traditional Scottish, traditionalWelsh etc), or a breakfast that consists of cereals and uncookedelements (often termed “Continental”). Some properties will doone type or the other and many will offer both so check beforeyou book. Additionally, some properties may provide eveningmeals, a sandwich making facility or other meals but as aminimum, you will get a breakfast and the meal is normallyincluded in the price.As with hotels, prices can be based on two styles: Per Person pernight (often shown as pppn) or Per room per night (often shownas prpn). Be aware of these differences as they can make asignificant difference to the cost of your holiday accommodation.
  • 17. Guest House (Glenhill Guest House in Worthing)To all intents and purposes, a Guest House and a Bed andBreakfast is the same thing despite any official definitions.Officially, any bed and breakfast property with capacity for morethan 6 guests is a Guest House but, unless the owner isparticipating in the Tourist Board grading scheme, the terms arein reality used interchangeably depending on the whim of theowner.Again, officially, a Guest House is a more commercial businessthan a bed and breakfast, with the possible provision of anevening meal at additional charge but a B&B is also acommercial undertaking and may also provide an evening meal.The designations are in practice meaningless so you may judgeeither by the same criteria.
  • 18. Inn (or Pub) Accommodation (Fauconberg Arms Inn accommodation in Coxwold, Yorkshire)This is accommodation that is provided on the same basis as anyBed and Breakfast (or Guest House if you prefer) but which isprovided in a Pub (short for Public House) or former coachingInn and this form of accommodation usually has the advantagethat you can get other meals and drinks during licensed openinghours. The accommodation is usually above the bar/restaurantarea or in converted buildings in the grounds of the pub, often oldstables or store rooms.The same rules and precautions apply as those outlined in Bedand Breakfast above. Be careful that you know the mealarrangements and the breakfast types on offer and check thebasis of the rate – rate per room (prpn) or rate per person pernight (pppn).
  • 19. Inns and pubs that offer accommodation can be found in mosttowns and villages and sometimes in quite remote countrylocations. They vary from small country pubs to large formercoaching inns that were built to accommodate travelers using theold stage coaches.If the idea of staying at a typical British pub is your idea ofheaven, then is the accommodation to choose.
  • 20. Hostel (Bath YMCA)A very affordable form of basic accommodation for thebackpacker, student or touring traveler on a budget. These hostelscan be found right across the British Isles and are an affordableform of accommodation for those that wish to travel around theUK. They vary from basic accommodation in student dormitorieson a university or a college campus during the vacations, hostelsthat are in the YHA (Youth Hostel Association), to a privatehostel in a city centre. They are a very popular for thosetravelling around the UK on a budget. They can take the form ofthose that offer a communal bunk house, some that offerindividual sleeping facilities and some that are just a space in abarn where you can put your sleeping bag and cook on your ownequipment.Certain protocols are expected at all Hostels: each group cooksfor themselves using their own equipment and all utensils arecleaned and returned and no litter or other mess is left behind. It
  • 21. is expected that each resident has respect for the other guests atall times and that there is no anti-social behavior or loud musicduring the evening or night.
  • 22. Self Catering (Cyffdy Farm Cottages – Bala)This is a very broad category with many types of property butessentially it is what is says: You hire the accommodation for aperiod of time (usually by the week rather than the day) and youcook for yourself or eat out. You can reasonably expect theproperty to therefore provide a well equipped kitchen, cookingand eating utensils and table and chairs and usually a lot morebesides. This is a very popular form of holiday accommodationand the standard is usually very high.For a stay of a week or more in a particular place, a self cateringproperty is often the best option if you don’t mind cooking yourown meals and cleaning. Be careful that you know what isprovided in the letting and what you may have to bring with you.For example, some properties will not provide bed linen or
  • 23. towels (especially beach and bath towels). If you have a youngchild you may want to know if a cot or highchair is available, ifyou have a pet you wish to bring, you need to make sure that theproperty owner will permit pets.If internet and mobile phone connection is important to youduring your stay, check that it is available (and if there is a goodsignal in some remote areas of Britain). Coverage is not yetuniversally available in all areas.Self catering properties range from that idyllic thatched cottagedeep in the countryside, a remote hunting lodge in the ScottishHighlands, to a fully equipped self service apartment in the citycentre. They come in all shapes and sizes and styles, in alllocalities and with prices to match. If you are travelling as aparty, then a self catering property that can accommodate a groupcan be a very affordable form of accommodation during yourholiday.Some interesting self catering concepts have arisen in recentyears and these include wooden lodges set in woodlands orlakeside areas, wigwams, tipis, old railway carriages andMongolian Yurts in rural locations, to name but a few. The range
  • 24. on offer is many and varied and there will be something to suiteeveryone and every budget.
  • 25. Camping & Caravans (Castlerigg Farm Campsite in Keswick)There are facilities for camping and caravanning in every part ofBritain and it is a very popular form of holiday. Always checkwhat any site offers as the quality of these varies from a space ina private field to specially designed and high facility sites. Manysites will accommodate both tents and touring vans but some mayspecialize in one or the other only.On site facilities will also vary, although almost all establishedsites will provide toilet and shower blocks, washing facilities,some will provide electric hook up and have on site shopping. Itis worth checking what is provided on site before you book andalso to check where off site facilities are located. If you have totravel miles to find the nearest shop, you may want to bring acertain amount of provision with you. If the shop is a fewhundred yards away you may decide not to.
  • 26. Camping and caravan sites may be available without priorreservation but it is advisable, especially during the BritishSchool holiday season (July to September), to pre-book the sitesyou want to visit.
  • 27. Narrow Boats (Canal Cruising Co Ltd – Stoke on Trent)Britain, especially England, is blessed with an extensive networkof waterways and canals that were originally built to take goodsfrom one industrial production centre to a point of distribution ormarket. They feature ingenious methods of moving boats throughwaterways at different levels and putting canals through hillsidesusing long tunnels. Some of the engineering involved in theseprojects is incredible given the technology available at that time.With the advent of the railway, most of these were abandoned forcommercial purposes but over the last 50 years many have beenrestored as recreational and environmental facilities and the useof Narrow Boats on the canals is now very popular. The craft areeasy to handle and basic training is provided.
  • 28. These craft range from a basic craft with sleeping and cookingfacilities to luxury craft with whirlpool baths and luxury cabins.Narrow boats can be hired by the week. This is a lovely andleisurely way to see the British countryside and to visit many outof the way villages and pubs that lie along the route of thesewaterways and many companies exist that will hire out narrowboats for both daily and weekly periods.
  • 29. What accommodation is right for my holidayin Britain?For many visitors, the first instinct is to book a hotel for their stayand this may be the most appropriate form of accommodation formany people, especially for a short stay or if it is necessary to bein a city centre location. Everything is taken care of for you.Meals can be taken in-house if you are reluctant to eat out. Youknow more or less what your costs are going to be and you arepart of a group of visitors in the same environment as you are. Itfeels secure. However, is it the best value for money? Possiblynot.If you are a little more adventurous or if you want to see more ofBritain than just London or any of the main cities, then there areother ways to stay during your visit. A Bed and Breakfast orGuest House will very often be less expensive than its Hotelcounterpart and because it is owner run, may also be a muchmore personal service and provide a better experience of theBritish people. These properties exist in almost every city, townor village so they are easy to find on the internet and easy to bookdirectly with the owners. If you are staying more than a couple ofnights, ask about discounted rates.
  • 30. If you plan to be in a location for a week or two, it may be worthconsidering a self catering property. You will have to shoplocally for provisions and cook your own meals (or eat out) butyou will have a base that is yours for the duration of the stay,where you can come and go as you please and where you can feelat home. At first glance, self catering may appear to be anexpensive option but in fact for a family or party, the cost canactually be a lot less than a hotel or bed and breakfast where youmay have to book more than one room to accommodate yourfamily or party.We would recommend that wherever possible, you bookaccommodation well in advance of your visit to avoid anydisappointment, especially in the peak holiday season from Julyto early September.Whatever you choose, we hope you have a wonderful time in theBritish Isles and that you find this booklet helpful.
  • 31. About this publicationThis booklet has been produced by Tony Lucas, a Director ofReserve IT Limited, a company which specializes in tourismwithin the UK and has produced a number of websites for visitorsto Britain. Their sites include Stayinbritain.co.uk which containsdetails of over 40,000 places to stay and a wealth of informationabout Britain. The website makes no charge for bookings madethrough it service and has been used by visitors since 1999.For further information contact us on:Email: Support@stayinbritain.comTelephone: +44 (0)1730 999101Postal Address:Ground Floor Unit 7Rotherbrook CourtBedford RoadPetersfieldHampshireGU32 3QGWebsite: www.StayinBritain.co.uk
  • 32. Appendix – The Star rating schemeAccommodation standards are now rated by the AutomobileAssociate (The AA) and by Visit Britain (The Tourist Board) to acommon set of standards using stars. This should help visitors tofeel more confident about the level of service any ratedaccommodation provides. The following descriptions can be usedas a general guide to what you can expect: 1 star: Simple, practical, no frills 2 star: Well presented and well run 3 star: Good level of quality and comfort 4 star: Excellent standard throughout 5 star: Exceptional with a degree of luxuryHowever, just to confuse everyone, the ratings can also havedifferent meanings when applied to Hotels and other Guestaccommodation, so the same rating can mean different things andbe applied differently depending on accommodation type. Thismeans that a high quality property in one category can show alower star rating than a poorer quality property in anothercategory. The AA descriptions are simpler to understand andhave been used for the purposes of this booklet.
  • 33. Accommodation standards Star ratings descriptions (takenfrom the AA)One StarHotel - Courteous staff provide an informal yet competentservice. The majority of rooms are en suite, and a designatedeating area serves breakfast daily and dinner most evenings.Guest accommodation - Minimum quality requirements forcleanliness, maintenance, hospitality, facilities and services. Acooked or substantial continental breakfast is served in a diningroom or eating area, or bedroom only.Two StarHotels - All rooms are en suite or have private facilities. Arestaurant or dining room serves breakfast daily and dinner mostevenings.Guest accommodation - Courteous service, well-maintainedbeds, and breakfast prepared with a good level of care.Three StarHotels - Staff are smartly and professionally presented. Allrooms are en suite, and the restaurant or dining room is open toresidents and non-residents.
  • 34. Guest accommodation - Friendly welcome, and good-quality,well-presented beds and furniture. A choice of good-quality,freshly cooked food is available at breakfast.Four StarHotels - Professional, uniformed staff respond to your needs orrequests, and there usually are well-appointed public areas. Therestaurant or dining room is open to residents and non-residents,and lunch is available in a designated eating area.Guest accommodation - Attentive, more personalized service.At least half of the bedrooms are en suite or have privatebathrooms. Very good beds and high quality furniture. Breakfastoffers a greater choice, and fresh ingredients are cooked andpresented with a high level of care.Five StarHotels - Luxurious accommodation and public areas, with arange of extra facilities and a multilingual service available.Guests are greeted at the hotel entrance. High quality menu andwine list.Guest accommodation - Awareness of each guests needs withnothing being too much trouble. All bedrooms are en suite orhave a private bathroom. Excellent quality beds and furnishings.Breakfast includes specials/home-made items, high qualityingredients, and fresh local produce.
  • 35. This edition first published in Great Britain 2012Copyright © Reserve IT Limited 2012The right of Tony Lucas to be identified as author of thiswork has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright,Design and Patents Act 1988.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may bereproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, inany form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording or otherwise without the priorpermission of the copyright owner.ISBN: 978-1-4716-5821-1

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