There is a very broad spectrum of bedroom accommodation available in the world of hospitality from the over-the-top luxury and indulgence of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai to the humblest of rooms on offer in the poorer regions of the world (this writer remembers a weekend in the Hunza valley of Northwest Pakistan where one bucket of hot water was the ration for the day and the breakfast consisted of a choice between bread and apricot jam or nothing – even so it was a wonderful experience).
The British B&B occupies a space in this spectrum somewhere between the two extremes above but, at its best, can offer some of the greatest hospitality you’ll ever find. And I’m not thinking of the awful B&B that resides in the childhood memory of all of us of a certain age –a clammy atmosphere due to lack of proper insulation in the walls of a 1960 bungalow, nylon sheets and a sign telling you not to touch the (naff) ornaments.
The best British B&B offers high levels of cleanliness, a hearty breakfast typically made from local ingredients and a genuine and warm welcome. The best hosts are also incredibly useful sources of information about a place or region and can provide insights and tips that are beyond even the best of guides. But perhaps more important than anything, we the guest can often feel accepted into the family home and this transcends the economic relationship that underpins the stay.
There are many fine B&Bs throughout Northumberland and we hope that our offering at St Mary’s Inn will make a modest contribution to the county’s stock of quality bedrooms. And a warm and genuine welcome as well of course!Cartoonist David Haldane This February, Brita Granstrom’s Nordic Art