A bed and breakfast, or B&B, accommodation is an enchanting close-up, informal encounter with locals in the area. It’s actually very similar to being a short term guest in a private home where the owner either lives in the same house or close by. In Johannesburg, the B&B is very popular because of the sheer number of visitors, local and international to the city.
In some cases, the owners of the B&B offer more than breakfast if there are no restaurants or café’s close by. The fee charged will be higher in order to include one or two other meals and/or snacks. Meals are generally enjoyed together with other guests and the owner.
The rates in Johannesburg for B&B vary quite widely. One can get a B&B room for as little as R46, while on the other side of the spectrum, there are B&B rooms being rented out for as much as R2000 per night. Two main reasons for the gap are the facilities and location. The higher-end B&Bs have private baths, and certain room amenities like DSTV, air-conditioning, and Wi-Fi.
One might think that paying such a premium for a B&B is like paying for a tailored Armani suit and receiving some comfortable sports clothing instead. In other words, “why not stay in a 5 star hotel if it’s going to cost as much as R2000 per night?” Here are advantages B&B places have over hotels and inns.
- The casual ambience of a bed and breakfast, especially in warm and hospitable Johannesburg, will always be leaps and bounds ahead of an impartial and cold hotel room. There are tiny touches of home that will make you feel like you are welcome instead of being a mere income-generating statistic which is usually the case with hotels.
- One has to factor into the prices the fact that you get a home-cooked, full breakfast. It is never going to be just bread and jam with coffee
- The rooms and facilities of the higher end B&B places are bigger and with fewer guests. This is to say that one gets to enjoy more privacy, and there’s no need to sign up for time at the pool or scramble for the use of the facilities (as in a crowded hotel)
- Location is always going to be in favour of the bed and breakfast if you compare hotels offering similar room rates
- The groaning over all those additional fees for extra beddings, pillows, or even a piece of bread is not something you will experience with a B&B
Best of all, the owners of the B&B are friendly and full of “inside” information about Johannesburg. If you are in town to shop for something special, or you are attending an event, your hosts can probably tell you the best routes, the cheapest restaurants and business facilities, and a whole other set of details that a hotel concierge would not take the time to tell you about. If you are an international visitor, you will have the added advantage of getting to know how the locals live, making new friends, and enjoying a more pleasant stay in the city.
If you are visiting because of a popular or international event, be sure to book your room at the bed and breakfast way ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about getting locked out and having to pay the unreasonable high prices of a hotel.