I am usually one for a lovely hotel, with room service on speed dial, delicious breakfasts and a fully stocked cocktail bar to swan along to whenever I feel like it. Even if I’m not staying somewhere as luxurious as that sounds, I still like the benefits and convenience that most hotels have. That’s definitely speaking from an adult perspective, and from someone who travels mainly in a couple, on my own or occasionally with family. When my sister and I were younger though, we had self catered holidays in cottages, farmhouses, villas abroad and even a barge once. It’s not something I’d done for a long time until my recent trip to the Lake District and the Keswick Reach luxury lodges, so I’d forgotten all the benefits that a self catered holiday actually has.
No packing restrictions.
Probably my favourite benefit of them all because I do not pack light. In this country this is exaggerated even more because who knows what the weather will be like, and multiply that by a million in somewhere like the Lake District where the landscape is also somewhat difficult to negotiate and you’re looking at at least six pairs of footwear for starters. Toiletries too, if I can fill a car of them then I absolutely will. Snacks, hoy them in there’s room, and no end of electronic devices too.
Take your pets.
They are part of the family after all, and I loved that little Phoebe the Jackhuahua was with us on our recent trip. I also think it would have broken my heart if she was in kennels or something. So yeah, this one was a big bonus. A friend of mine at work recently went on a villa holiday to France and they were able to take their dog too, so it’s not just the UK that you can consider.
I LOVE a hotel breakfast, but I do not love the time restrictions, or having to get pretty much fully ready to go down to the restaurant to eat it. Chances are on a self catered holiday someone will love to play host, and you will wake up to the smell of coffee, bacon and egg wafting through the place. You can enjoy it in your PJs too.
Room for visitors.
Even if they cant come for the entire duration, in a self catered place you can invite people over especially if it’s an occasion. There’s plenty space, usually a huge communal and dining area where you can all enjoy a meal together. There’s no limit to who you can invite over as it really is like having your own place.
Plenty of space.
I can’t speak first hand but I think if I did have kids I’d appreciate the space a self catered place can provide. Likewise if you’re away for a big occasion or lots of other guests are visiting, a self catered home provides more space for everyone. If it’s a big place, like a mansion or country house then you’re all going to fit in, all have your own rooms and bathrooms, and there’s likely to be a garden, outdoor area or even a pool if you’re abroad.
Depending on the type of self catered holiday you go for it really can become a home away from home just with plenty added extras. Nearly everywhere these days has all the similarities of home in terms of facilities – TV, wifi etc, but you’re also going to get the extras that make it a bit more special too. We had a hot tub in our lodge recently, and that’s been the case for a couple of hen dos I’ve been on as well, but depending what you’re after there’s no end of options – hot tubs, saunas, fire pits, kids play areas, private pools, games rooms and sports courts. The best bit? They’re all private for your exclusive use.
Learn from the local knowledge.
From my experiences of Air BnB and self catered companies, private home owners usually have great insider local tips and are more than happy to share them with you. A conversation is better than an in room brochure, as recommendations are going to be personal and tailored to your preference. Often hotels will give recommendations based on their own partnerships. Our Air BnB host in Spain was fabulous, he gave us alternative taxi numbers that were cheaper and more reliable, and restaurant suggestions we would never have known about or found without being told.
Real living experience.
You can choose to go for a completely different type of living experience. A Lakeland lodge, a country house, a French chateau, a Spanish casa, I mentioned a barge earlier too. Self catered places give an authentic stay that often throw you in to the local culture for a while, so you really get to experience a different way of living. Cooking for yourself with local produce often seems a lot less of a chore! There’s also the different seasonal gains, what can be better than a cosy winter retreat with a real farmhouse kitchen and roaring fire? Or a light and bright summer getaway with fabulous outdoor scenery and BBQ area?
Value for money.
It totally depends on the type of holiday you want, if all you need is a place to sleep because you’re out all day then a hotel probably going to be better value. But for some situations the accommodation makes up a huge part of the trip, and if you’re spending a lot of time in it then self catered can be the way to go. Huge houses are great for hen parties, big family get togethers and occasions, where splitting the cost works out much better value for money.
Have you stayed anywhere you’d recommend – I’m dying to go somewhere amazing for New Year! Here’s a few of the ones I have been to:
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