Should I stay in a hotel or
Bed and breakfast accommodations are the most
widely recognized throughout all of Ireland. There are
a wide variety of styles to chose from and they're affordable.
You'll find a varied selection from town and country homes,
manor houses, townhouses, castles cottages, family homes,
Guesthouses are large B&Bs that also offer a few
more amenities, such as TVs in the room and may even offer
an evening meal.
Hotels are generally only found in the larger towns
and cities though there are a few around the countryside
as well. They offer the standard hotel amenities, some
with leisure centers. They will cost you a lot more than
For detailed descriptions of accommodations in Ireland
"en suite" mean?
The term "en suite" refers to bathroom amenities.
An en suite room means that a full bathroom is in your
room. You won't have to walk down the hall or share with
All hotels and guesthouses will have en suite rooms.
Most B&Bs are moving towards all en suite rooms, though
some will be very tight.
Not all bathrooms are handicapped accessible so be sure
to ask if you have special needs.
Some B&Bs may have a partially private bathroom,
meaning the bathroom is private for your room but not
in the room itself, rather beside the room. And others
may have a pair of rooms with a bathroom between them,
which is ideal for a family with parents in one room and
kids in another with a shared bathroom for their use only.
Standard rooms have shared bathrooms with other rooms
in the house. Room rates are less than en suite rooms
for this inconvenience.
a benefit to using vouchers?
There are benefits and drawbacks to using vouchers
on your holiday. I'll attempt to lay out both here.
You don't have to carry as much cash - supplements
may still apply, such as to upgrade from standard
room to en suite.
They're part of a self-drive package.
Can be used for B&Bs only.
Not all B&Bs accept vouchers.
Of those B&Bs that do take vouchers, many will
not be open in the off-season, or they may not accept
them in peak travel season (May through September)
or on the weekends.
Innkeepers will not accept them during festival
or special event times of the year.
Innkeepers reserve the right to refuse them at any
time, either during your stay, at the time of booking,
or at the door. **If you are standing at the door
beside a cash paying guest and there is only one
room available, the cash paying guest will be given
Other things to consider:
Innkeepers are continually having trouble getting
reimbursed for the vouchers so are less likely to
accept them, even if they're listed as taking them
in the guides.
You pay full price for the voucher and get full
services from the innkeeper, yet the innkeeper only
gets paid on average half of the voucher price.
The voucher seller is making the money.
At one time, vouchers were an excellent way to travel.
They benefited everyone involved. For the guest, it meant
no cash handling and ease of free travel as most B&Bs
For the innkeeper, it also meant no cash
handling. Also no haggling over room rates, no daily
trips to the bank, and they attracted guests in the
For the selling agent, they provided a
service that benefited both the guest and the innkeeper
while still making a bit of money for their time and
Today, however, vouchers are a different
story. Selling agents are making a lot of money off
them while the innkeeper not only has to fight, at times,
to get paid, they only get paid about half of what the
guest paid for the voucher. Selling agents make more
money for the service and do little compared to the
innkeeper who is the one giving the guest the service...cooking,
cleaning, organizing local tours, making dinner reservations,
etc, including some who will even mind children without
In today's market, it's preferable to
both the innkeeper and the guest to pay cash to the
innkeeper rather than buy vouchers, unless you don't
mind lining the pockets of the agents who do virtually
Why do selling agents still exist? Simple.
Hotels offer commissions for bookings. B&Bs do not.
While the agent isn't making a booking for you, the
voucher is meant to be a guaranteed room at presentation,
based on availability in the locale. Even though the
agent is promoting the B&B trade by selling vouchers,
they're unable to place guest reservations because it's
not financially viable to do so. The costs of phone
calls for room availability and then again for booking
would be too expensive compared to any commission they
might get. And simply put, an agent will happily spend
more time promoting a 200
a night hotel, at 10% commission, than an 80
a night B&B. 20
commission far outweighs an 8
If you have any questions about vouchers
you're being offered for sale by a selling agent or
as part of an air/car/voucher package, also known as
"stay as you go", please feel free to . We're happy to clarify any issue you may have.
Should I tip
In most cases the answer is NO. Your room rate includes
all services by the innkeeper, including cleaning the
room, preparing breakfast, offering advice, etc. Exceptions
to this rule would include:
If the innkeeper allowed you to use the laundry
facilities and didn't charge you for it.
If you're on vouchers, per above, and you found
the services excellent knowing the above about this
form of travel.
If the innkeeper goes above and beyond your expectations
In these instances you can bring the
innkeeper a bunch of flowers to say thank you, or even
a box of chocolates. But you NEVER give money.
bring the innkeeper a gift?
Again, in most cases the answer will be NO. Unless you've
been corresponding with the innkeeper and have become
friends in the process then you won't know them so it's
unnecessary to bring gifts. Gifts are reserved for friends.
Giving a gift to someone you don't know may seem like
a generous thing to do but will make your innkeeper feel
extremely uncomfortable, as if you expect to then get
the room discounted or for free. This may intimidate the
innkeeper which could reflect on the level of service
he/she would normally give you.
If you've stayed in this accommodation previously, if
the innkeeper is a close friend of one of your friends,
or if the innkeeper is a close personal friend of yours
then NO, do not bring gifts.
If you DO know the innkeeper for whatever reason and
are looking for ideas for a gift for your next visit,
here are some suggestions:
Give them something that reflects the area where
you live. Ideally it should be something the innkeeper
can't get in Ireland, such as items made by local
artisans, or hard to find wines or possibly something
you've made yourself. Other locally made items would
include artisan cheese, small vineyard wines, local
brewhouse beers, artisan chocolates, locally made
Sweatshirt with your town or state name or image
as it also reflects your area.
Duty Free items - Most Irish appreciate Duty Free
items, such as alcohol and perfume. When they go
on holidays abroad these are some of the items they'll
bring home with them as gifts for family and friends.
Popular alcohol purchases includes various Irish
whiskey's such as Jameson, Powers and Bushmills.
Most perfumes in Duty Free are high end products
such as anything by Christian Dior, Yves St Laurent
and Georgio Armani.