Choices, choices, choices…
With summer fast approaching, most peoples thoughts are now turning towards their holiday. If you’re visiting Edinburgh this summer, the choices of accommodation on offer are vast, with options to suit most budgets, whether you’re a single traveller, a family, or holidaying with a group of friends. We’ve taken a look at the 3 most popular types of accommodation and provided a quick summary of the benefits and pitfalls of each, to allow you to decide which one is right for you. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to Edinburgh, the basic principles are the same no matter where you go.
“Self-catering” covers many different types of accommodation from flats and houses to serviced apartments. As well as sleeping accommodation they will also provide cooking facilities as well as seating areas and bathroom facilities. Whilst hotels are good for short stays, self-catering apartments are ideal for people who want to stay for a longer period of time, perhaps as a base for exploring or for those travelling for work or visiting family (or even whilst they are getting work done on their own property). Most self-catering properties require a minimum stay (usually 3 nights) due to the costs of cleaning and preparing the entire property, and many offer discounts for longer stays. Some, however, require rental for a minimum of one week and require check in and check out on specific days – so definitely worth checking this out prior to booking. For example, Marchmont Self Catering sets a minimum of 3 days most of the year, or 6 nights during the festivals and you can arrive and leave on any day of the week – you can check your dates on our availability calendar.
- Price: generally cheaper than hotels or a B & B of a similar quality, especially when calculated per person per night
- Facilities: Personal living space in the living room and kitchen makes self-catering ideal if you have a family or group of friends or work colleagues. Many people choose self-catering for this reason, as it makes such a difference to have a private space rather having to meet in the bar, restaurant or communal lounge (if provided) at the B&B or hotel.
- Flexibility: Great for families or larger groups of friends travelling together, or if you are visiting for work.
- Fewer additional costs: ability to make your own meals, saving the cost of eating out.
- Fewer services provided: You can go out, order take-aways or cook your own meals (and make your own bed!)
- Length of stay: If you can only stay one or two nights, you may need to pay a supplement to stay at self-catering, or resort to another type of accommodation.
Bed and Breakfast
“Bed and Breakfast” (or B&B) and “Guest House” refer to the same thing, accommodation which offer rooms with breakfast included in the price. They tend to be located in private houses, usually run by individual owners (thus offering a more personal service). There aren’t generally as many facilities as those provided in a hotel, but as it is often the owners own home the quality is often quite high. Unlike hotels, many B & B providers don’t offer private bathroom facilities and so they’ll be shared with fellow guests. Evening meals are usually not included and there usually aren’t any dining or bar facilities available. They tend to be numerous, especially within cities or in areas where there are a number of tourist attractions.
- Cost: as they provide less in terms of facilities they are often cheaper than hotels, but more expensive than self-catering, per person.
- Personal service: as they tend to be smaller than hotels, guests usually get a much more personal service.
- Privacy: as guests are often sharing facilities with others, there may be a lack of privacy.
- Lack of communal space: many B&B’s do not have a communal lounge so you either stay in your bedroom or go out.
- Dining options: as there are usually no restaurants or cooking facilities in a B & B guests will usually have to go out for their lunch and evening meal.
A trip away where you’re provided with breakfast and your bed is made for you (alongside entertainment often being on tap), can be an ideal escape and allow you more time to enjoy yourself, see the sights and relax. Hotels themselves come in a variety of different styles, and of course budgets. Most hotel rooms are serviced with direct access to an on-call 24/7 reception. Most usually have en-suite shower and bath facilities (although this is not always the case in the smaller budget hotels. Depending on the hotel, many offer breakfast meaning you can set yourself up for the day before you venture outside to explore. Most hotels also offer WiFi to their guests (whether included in the package or as an additional cost), and they often come with their own restaurant or bar which guests can use. Hotels will often run special deals where an evening meal is included in the cost of a night or weekend stay.
- Brand: You know that whatever place in the world, you can expect much the same standard and feel of the hotel, and know what to expect. (We appreciate that for some people this is a disadvantage of a hotel – it is generic and could be anywhere, losing the unique flavour of the place you have travelled to. )
- Location: for those wishing to enjoy a city break, there are usually a wide choice of hotels in the city centre
- Facilities: some hotels have restaurants onsite, as well as providing entertainment and leisure facilities, meaning that you don’t really have to venture outside if you didn’t want to.
- Price: even budget hotel accommodation can be more expensive than B&B and Self Catering.
- Less personal: hotels tend to be more functional than personal, less interaction with guests and staff.
Whether you decide a hotel is best suited to your needs, or a B & B or self-catering it’s always worth bearing in mind that accommodation providers often advertise their best rates on their own sites. You can check out the accommodation and the public reviews on large booking sites such as Trip Advisor, Booking.com, Expedia and AirBnB, and if you like the look of it you can do a Google search for the accommodation to see if they take direct bookings too. The best value deals are usually when you boo direct with them rather than through a booking site. For example, you can book direct with us on our booking page.
What’s coming up next?
We really hope you enjoyed our latest blog and found it interesting – it would be great to get your feedback. Coming up next time we’ll be providing hints and tips on the best things to do and see in Edinburgh over the summer holidays. Once it’s ready we’ll provide a link via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.