Let me start by saying that I am designing sites for breakfast and breakfast providers. I was inside many establishments, photographed them from all angles, sampled food, and had a hard time finding them if they were off the beaten track and spent time with their companions.
Sometimes I felt like a hotel inspector. Sometimes I press on my lips and I didn't say anything, sometimes I politely expressed my concern. If you spot something wrong, surely guests will also bet and make sure to say it on Trip Advisor or Social Media.
There is an idea in this last sentence if you are looking for Bed and Breakfast providers. Find it on Trip Advisor. What experiences did the previous guests experience?
Were the owners friendly and helpful, or did they act as if they did not want guests in their home?
Was the rooms and facilities clean and tidy? Was the site quiet or were you looking for a major road and building site? Was the breakfast cooked and generous?
The trip advisor will give you all this and more.
Take a look at how landlords respond to negative comments. Remember that disaffected guests and those who have to complain about the tiniest thing are most likely to post. Do their complaints appear correct and how did their owner respond?
I always tell my clients that bed and breakfast customers shop with their eyes. Pictures, photos, images. Guests want to know what form they are coming to. What the rooms look like, what the shower rooms look like, what the look will look like from their window, and how the food will look.
If these pictures are not on the provider's website, or if they are grainy and lose focus, ask yourself why this might be? If the site has not been updated for years, this may tell you something.
In general, you get what you pay for. A B&B costing £ 45 a night for two people may not be as smart or spacious as the one that costs £ 145 a night. Lower prices do not mean that the rooms are dirty and the facilities are not working.
See to see if the room (s) you are booking has its own facilities or have shared facilities. There appears to be a growing trend in the UK to place a loft bathroom in the bedroom. If you are young and in love, you may be very happy to shower together or to watch your partner. But would you be very careful if you used two room friends as a twin room? Or a parent and child sharing a room?
If you have pets – check that dogs are welcome. If in doubt, contact the owners and ask them.
If you have young children, check that the bed and breakfast is child friendly. You do not want to find that the institution does not accept children and destroy your vacation. Respect those who do not accept children – they may have a bad experience, they may have elderly owners, or they may run a private foundation specifically for children.
Looking forward to see if breakfast is included in the price. Some institutions will provide a "room only" rate. This may be what you want if you only stay one night and have an early start. Or maybe you are one of those people who simply don't eat breakfast.
Make sure you know the size of the bed. For some couples, this is not a problem, but if one or both of you are tall, or slightly on the wide side, you might prefer a larger double bed – king or king size.
Check the facilities provided in the bathroom. Some will have a bathtub with a shower. If you have mobility issues, you may prefer to shower separately. Be sure to read the owner’s description and if you are in doubt, phone or email for verification.
If you are a wheelchair user, or have another disability, read the description carefully again, and if in doubt, contact the owner to make sure the institution meets your needs.
Most B & Bs are happy to cater to special dietary needs. Failure to inform the owner of your requirements until you sit at breakfast breaks embarrassment. Most owners will want to meet your needs and will feel upset and embarrassed if they can't – pre-notification ensures that the food you need will be available when you want it.
Check out the B & B's website. You may want peace and quiet in a secluded countryside location. Or, you may want to stay in a place that is more easily accessible than local attractions and does not include a 10-mile walk to the bottom of the valley to reach it every day. The online mapping service usually provides you with a very accurate location and there may be a "Street View" feature so you can see where you plan to stay.