So you want to travel light? You’re planning to spend a night here or two there, and maybe move around the island as you please. You need a B&B. But what does an Irish B&B offer? We asked Louise McGee from B&B Ireland to answer some of the questions on the tip of your tongue...
Q: In which star category can I expect to get an en suite room as a standard?
A: Over 97% of our homes now offer en suite facilities so it would be very unlikely that clients would be offered a standard room; and if that did happen it would usually be in the approved homes and not in the 3, 4 or 5 star homes.
Q: Is a 5* cleaner or newer than a 2*?
A: We would refer to 2* homes as Approved homes, but it does not mean in any way that these homes are not as clean or as new as a 5* home. It just means that the product offering will be of a much higher standard in a 5*.
Q: Does 5* mean luxury and boutique B&B?
A: Two words that are commonly associated with a 5* B&B are luxury and boutique.
In a 5* B&B, you can expect en suite bedrooms to be elegant and stylish, offering a high standard of comfort to all guests. All of these properties have been upgraded to offer all the comforts of home and more spacious luxurious bedrooms, with beautiful furniture with large beds dressed with crisp bed linen. They will have large en suite bathrooms filled with large fluffy towels, bath tubs, power showers and complimentary toiletries.
Q: What are the approximate price differences between the ratings, and what time can you check in?
A: It is usually approx €3-5 (£2.55-4.26) per person difference between each rating. The average price per person is €32-38 (£27.25-32.36) per person sharing, but it depends on the season. Check in time is normally between 3pm - 6pm, unless otherwise agreed with the B&B owner.
Q: What exactly does a property need to do to qualify to be a ‘Category B&B’?
A: This is a voluntary scheme and is open to all Tourist Board approved Bed and Breakfasts around the island of Ireland. The criteria for categorisation are based on extensive research into the needs of visitors to Ireland who wish to pursue a particular activity, such as walking or golf. B&B owners are assessed and their homes are inspected by the TSA (Tourism Standards Assessments). If the member wants to become a specialist in a particular category, they need to have the following facilities and be approved following an inspection of their home.
This page provides extensive descriptions of all current Category B&Bs. Get to know your hosts on B&B Ireland's website and you'll be all set for a break away in a home away from home.