We first mentioned Creeping Guest House Syndrome in 2001 and expected brickbats, but many owners saw it as a deft summing up of what separates our B&Bs from guest houses. What confirms the diagnosis? 'Private' signs on doors leading to 'their' part of the house, tourist pamphlets in the hallway, a surfeit of Fire Exits, laminated information, large exterior B&B signs, strict timetables for meals or arrivals or departures,separate dining tables... We call it 'Creeping' because of the gradual change from the house being a home first and B&B second, to being first and foremost a business. Some of the above may be sensible measures, but C.G.H.S. is a subtle shift away from 'looking after' to 'processing' guests. We hope you will be enriched by the whole experience of staying in someone's home. Your hosts are 'real' people who have families, sometimes other jobs, pets, friends, gardens or farms to look after. We choose them all because we know that they will look after you, too, in spite of any other commitments.
Obviously, avoid high days and holidays for the best chance of quiet roads and peaceful ambles but we have many special places where you can have a tranquil escape at any time.
Most hotels require a deposit by cheque or credit card to secure a room. You are likely to lose part, or all of it, if you cancel. Check the exact terms when you book. Many places only accept a minimum two-night stay at weekends. A handful will insist on a three-night stay over a Bank Holiday weekend. B&B owners may ask for a deposit - even if they don't , let them know of any change of plan as soon as possible. We have steered clear of suggesting a cancellation policy; it's a hornet's nest! The contract is between you and your host. If an owner holds your credit card details he/she may deduct a (widely varying) cancellation fee from it and not contact you to discuss this. This is rare, but be aware of the legalities of this in the eyes of your credit or debit card company.
Hotel bedrooms should be ready by mid-afternoon and you will be expected to vacate it on the day you leave by about 11am. Many places are happy for you to linger but not in your room! B&B owners generally expect a late afternoon arrival and departure after breafast but may be more flexible, so ask.