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What is bed & breakfast?

The expression Bed & Breakfast (B&B for short) is a general expression for a private house where you can stay the night and have breakfast.

A short history

The principle of bed & breakfast already exists since the beginning of humanity. So did monasteries and convents already serve as bed & breakfast for centuries and they still do in some places. Already far before the twentieth century it was customary for travellers to spend the night with private families. B&Bs were especially favourite with the European travellers. The European colonists took the principle of bed & breakfast to the United States. On their severe travels they sought a safe place to stay in houses and inns. During the Great Depression in the thirties of the previous century a lot of people opened up their houses for travellers to gain extra income for their families. Some of these historical houses are still used as a B&B. After the Depression this form of accommodation decreased in popularity and got the image of a low-budget accommodation. With the arrival of motorways, motels came into being and the B&Bs disappeared to the background. The English-speaking countries England, Scotland, Ireland and the United States used the expression ‘bed & breakfast’ for the first time. In these countries you used to see a lot of nameplates with ‘B&B’ on it. In other European countries expressions were used such as Chambre d’hôtes (France) and Zimmer Frei (Germany). Because of internationalisation, the strong increase of the amount of travellers and the arrival of the internet, the concept of bed & breakfast is rediscovered in the last decades. The interest in and the demand for bed & breakfast is increasing. Bed & breakfast is not considered as a low-budget accommodation any more, but as an attractive alternative for a standard hotel or motel room. Nowadays, there are B&Bs which offer facilities measuring up to the most luxury accommodations. The expression B&B has become a worldwide household word.

‘Bed & breakfast is a small-scale accommodation aimed towards offering the possibility of a touristic and usually short stay with breakfast being served. A bed & breakfast is located in a private house or outhouse and is managed by the owners of the house concerning.’
Source: Bedandbreakfast.nl


Guesthouses and family hotels offer the same formula on the basis of accommodation and breakfast. The big difference is that a guesthouse or family hotel has more rooms available than a bed & breakfast. Guesthouses and family hotels are also managed by a family, but are often provided with catering facilities like a bar or restaurant. Guesthouses and family hotels offer in addition to breakfast also other meals and mostly employ personnel. About ninety-five percent of the bed & breakfasts on this website is small-scaled. The other five percent are large B&Bs, guesthouses and (family) hotels with eight up to a maximum of fifteen rooms. For each address is specified how many rooms the accommodation has got. Small or large, the supply is extremely varied and diverse. And that is why sleeping in a bed & breakfast is just so much fun.

“Whatever B&B you will choose, the B&Bs offer an excellent service and are suitable for everyone who is interested in other people and other places.”


Warm and welcome

At a B&B you are invited in the house of a family. Often, you are welcomed with a cup of coffee or tea and a snack. And sometimes the fire place is already burning at arrival. Your guest family makes you a bed and takes care of a delicious breakfast in the morning. The family is welcoming and thinks it is important you are feeling at home. You will get personal attention, but with appropriate distance. The one B&B offers more privacy than others: sometimes you can use the living room of the family; with the other B&B you will have a living room of your own, table and chairs in the room or just a bed room. The guest family shares their house or a part of their house with guests and grants you a glimpse on their daily life. And although you are asked to keep to the house rules, you will be treated as a welcome guest. The most B&Bs offer a private bathroom for the guests. Sometimes you will have to share sanitary facilities with other guests or the owners. Of course, a B&B with a private entrance, an autonomous section for guests or a private bathroom offers more privacy than a B&B where you share the facilities. For each bed & breakfast on the website is specified if there is a private bathroom (possible) or if there is a shared bathroom.

Something for everybody

B&Bs are spread all over the world. They bring the geniality of a village, the extensiveness of the country or the dazzlement of the big city. There is a tremendous large supply nearby all the towns and sights you want to discover. B&Bs are perfect for a weekend in the city; close by shops, restaurants, theatres and nightlife. But B&Bs are also ideal to relax; there are houses outside the city area overlooking meadows, a forest, a river or the sea. And as for the type of house the choices are also numerous. What do you think about a monumental building, a villa or a castle? A lot of the accommodations are located in restored houses. Spend a few nights in an old school, a mansion, a vicarage or a mill. And in each house there are all sorts of experiences: a gallery, a tearoom, a museum or the possibility to attend a creative, inspiring or informative workshop. New or authentic, in the city or in the country, bed & breakfasts meet the latest standards of comfort and facilities.

Local knowledge

One of the most important advantages of a bed & breakfast is the local knowledge of the guest family. Often, the host or hostess already lives in the city or region for years and knows the environment inside out. Which activities are possible, where are the ‘hotspots’ and which attractions are worth a visit? They can tell you about the cultural history of the region, the flora and fauna of the area en the most beautiful recreation areas. Your hostess or host is a ‘hands-on’ expert, who takes your specific wishes into account. The hidden places of the city, the best shop for x, y, and z and that little restaurant on the corner can be the basis for a successful weekend away. A stay in a B&B gives you the opportunity to live like a 'local’ and find out everything about the environment. And to make it easy for you, often there is an extensive collection of guides, flyers and walking and cycle routes ready for you.

‘Discover the world by staying at people’s homes. Spending the night in a B&B is the best way to discover a country.’