Have you ever read what hotels say about themselves on their websites? Sometimes I wonder if people writing those descriptions all use some secret thesaurus of “clever words and expressions for hotel marketers”. It seems as if they all combined a bunch of inspirational phrases at random to convey the unforgettable experiences guests can look forward to. Or better still, disguise the flaws nobody wants to talk about.
The other day it crossed my mind whether these pompous phrases could be applied to any of our recent B&B stays. Could they help me to put into words what excited me most about them? I decided to give it a try by borrowing a couple of expressions I found on a website of a randomly chosen international hotel chain. Let’s see how this works out.
Location, location, location
This is a tough one. None of the B&Bs had that in-your-face location smack in the middle of a touristy city, only two steps away from the main shopping street or on a busy seafront promenade, what you would normally expect. One was located in the Sicilian countryside somewhere close to Modica, the other on the edge of the Dolomites in a village I’ve never heard of, the third just outside of the Brussels ring road while conceptually not just miles but centuries away. However, it’s only when you want to visit anything else except central Brussels that you learn to appreciate the fact that you are staying outside of the city. And getting lost in the Italian countryside searching for an address that no GPS ever seems to find can be part of the fun too. Everything is well compensated for with quiet pitch-dark nights when you can listen to the crickets instead of rowdy tourists returning from a bar nearby.
There’s no point trying to explain how a cosy agriturismo set on steep slopes of an Italian mountain village fits this description. A picture will tell you more than a thousand words:
A touch of history
A 17th century carefully renovated mansion with thick walls and squeaky wooden floors epitomises more than just a touch of history. So does a rural Sicilian house that the architect owner inherited from his father and turned into a lovely home for his family with an extra room for guests. Just because they love to meet new people so much.
Designed with locally-inspired elements that capture the essence of…Dolomites
There’s really no other more aloof yet at the same time suitable description for an old barn that has been converted into a B&B with only four rooms. Despite the modern design the old structure has been completely preserved. This means that you can peek through gaps between hundred year old wooden beams into a rainy night while feasting over o plate of homemade pasta, well protected from the elements by an interior glass wall. How brilliant is this?
A breakfast for two consisting of home-made jams, bread and an omelette with fresh herbs that the lady of the house harvested in the garden a couple of minutes ago qualifies as exquisite gastronomy for me. Warm ricotta that the other owner brought from the local market just so we could experience a traditional Sicilian breakfast falls in that same category. What the hell, we can even call it “indulging in a feast of unforgettable flavours.”
The services you need, the amenities you expect, and the extras you deserve
I’m not saying that we needed or deserved to be invited to a family pizza dinner just because of an electricity blackout, but it was a nice extra that we certainly didn’t expect and will remember it for a long time. But not only this one experience, I believe that this last carefully worded phrase somehow sums up all of the above mentioned stays. When I accidentally came across each of the three B&Bs I never dared to hope that the people we met there and places we discovered from a different perspective would exceed our expectations in so many ways. We were truly able to “relax, recharge and face the world refreshed” afterwards.
Do you feel tempted to follow our tracks?
Here are the details of all the mentioned B&B’s:
- Villa Cappuccina, Modica, Sicily, Italy
- Agriturismo Botton d’Oro, Costa di S.Nicolò, Comelico, Italy
- Dappersfield B&B, Elingen, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium