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What Is a Bed and Breakfast?

What is a bed and breakfast? It might seem like a simple question, but not everyone is sure about the answer. You can guess from the name that you get a bed, and breakfast the following morning. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about what a B&B is and isn’t.


Bed with striped pillows

What Experience Do You Get at a B&B?

Generally, a bed and breakfast is accommodation which is also the owner’s home. Alternatively, it might be run by a live-in host or manager. This often means that you see the owner or host more than you might in other accommodations, and get to spend some time with them. You’re more likely to have breakfast and perhaps other meals with them, and socialise with them in common areas. However, some hosts are more involved than others.


At a bed and breakfast, you should get breakfast in the price of the room. This could be a cooked breakfast, but isn’t always. It could also be anything from a tray or basket of breakfast items brought to your room, to a selection of pastries, cereals and various other choices in the breakfast room. Some places might offer a room-only option.


Traditionally, a B&B doesn’t offer evening meals. However, many today do provide lunch or dinner in various ways.


How Big Is a B&B?

People usually think of B&Bs as small accommodations. The truth is that you will find a range of sizes, although there is a point at which you might feel it becomes a hotel. A bed and breakfast could have as few as two rooms, or it could have ten or more. According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, the average number of bedrooms is six.


Is a B&B “Cheap and Cheerful”?

One misconception that many people have about bed and breakfast accommodation is that it offers a cheap and cheerful option. This isn’t entirely untrue; many B&Bs aim to provide affordable, no-frills places to stay. But “bed and breakfast” doesn’t always mean cheap, either in price or service level.


You can choose a luxury B&B or a boutique bed and breakfast, whether you’re running one or staying in one. Some hotels choose to rebrand as B&Bs because people expect more services from hotels, and it can be hard to keep up with those expectations.


Does a B&B Have Private Bathrooms?

Many people expect a B&B to have an ensuite or private bathroom for every room. However, this isn’t always the case. Some accommodations have shared bathrooms, and you might find that their frequency depends on the country. If the bathrooms are shared, you’re likely to find that reflected in the rates.



What’s the Difference Between a Bed and Breakfast, Guest House and Inn?

It’s not always easy to define different terms like guest house or inn. Many people will choose to name a bed and breakfast type accommodation as an inn or guest house. But these terms might mean different things in different parts of the world. A guest house might be more likely to serve evening meals and have a license to serve alcohol. An inn is often a pub, but isn’t always!


Sometimes, there are legal definitions for these different terms. As a guest, there’s not really any need to worry about what what they all mean – the services they provide are more important. If you’re an owner (or thinking of being one), it’s worth giving it a bit more thought and perhaps doing some research.


What Are Some Other Words for Bed and Breakfast?

What about around the world? What are B&Bs called? You might find these terms handy – but remember that they can vary from country to country and region to region.


French: chambre d’hôte

German: Gästehaus or Zimmer Frei

Spanish: pensión

Italian: camere or affittacamere

Portuguese: pensão


If you’re not sure, look for B&B or even just the word for “room” in the local language.


What Are the Benefits of Staying at a B&B?

There are some great reasons for staying in a B&B instead of a larger hotel, a cheaper hostel or even self-catering accommodation. B&Bs are generally affordable without being too cheap and, of course, breakfast is included.


Having the owner or host nearby means you always have someone to chat to, whether you want to know more about the local area or just have a relaxing conversation about anything. The intimate feeling of a B&B is just like staying in someone’s home – because that’s usually what you’re doing.


It’s also an excellent way to meet other travellers because you’ll be closer to them than if you were in a larger hotel. However, unlike a hostel, you have your own space and privacy.


Now you should have a clear idea of what a bed and breakfast is, make sure you book it in the right way. Proper BnB helps you book direct for the best deals. If you’re a B&B owner, list your property for more direct bookings.