Having rather enjoyed the star studded tribute to Shakespeare's 400th anniversary, particularly the "To be or not to be" tribute, whilst I appreciate it is a somewhat tenuous link, all the same I felt it gave me an opportunity to aknowledge the lovely lady to whom I spoke recently. Having booked to stay with us - clearly a lady of exceptional taste, style and appreciation - as part of her travels around the South West, I was asked for recommendations of onward places to stay.
I love unique retreats, boutique hotels (although I have never quite liked the word boutique- personally I prefer stylish) idyllic boltholes and the like and as we are relatively new in our venture - we are 2yrs on from the renovation - but with huge motivation to offer an exceptional experience to every guest, we are only to aware that holding true to your brand whilst being aware of similar offerings is important - well that is the reasoning I offer my husband when he finds me scanning through some of the fabulous places to stay, dropping overt hints about necessary research tends to fall on deaf ears! I digress, the point being I recommended a number of the list of places we have much admired and aspired to, when evolving Cider House - Cornwall is where I grew up and as such I am always delighted to talk with enthusiasm to guests about an onward journey in that direction, in fairness I am always delighted to talk about most things..... In no particular order I mentioned 3 from my list, to be met with "Yes, they do sound lovely but they sound as if they are small hotels (they were) and not Bed and Breakfasts - we specifically choose to stay in Bed and Breakfasts for the unique experience they offer." - there are many fabulous such places West of ourselves and I was able to suggest a number, but what she had said really resonated with me. We love Cider House - we really love it and feel blessed to live here, we loved it even through the build when we were devoid of hot water and heating and due to sporadic electrics went to bed with head torches on, it always has had such a special feel about it, we often refer to Cider House as a "home which loves to be lived in" but when we thought about our marketing and branding, for some reason the term Bed and Breakfast seemed to jar with us, perhaps due to outdated associations of a Bed and Breakfast establishments offering a less luxurious experience, more practical and functional, than spoiling and indulgent and as such our eye was often drawn to the small hotels, as for us, this conjured up something more in keeping with that we were creating.
But, we are not a hotel, we do not have a restaurant - although we are currently juggling with potential options for a supper hamper, watch this space! - we don't have a spa - although again, hold on to your hats as we may be able to create a treat or two in that department too - what we offer is our beautiful home for guests to enjoy; stylish, indulgent bedrooms, aga cooked, home grown and reared breakfasts but most of all attention to detail in every aspect and a genuine love of what we do - we meet amazing people, from all walks of life and continuously give credit to the fact that Cider House offers the most wonderful filter - it brings us lovely guests!
Being set at the heart of a National Trust Estate, in award winning gardens, with 700acres on the doorstep to roam and enjoy, a Grade I Abbey to explore and Dartmoor and the beach within striking distance, we love where we live and take huge pleasure enabling our guests to enjoy it too. In our view, we could not offer the level of attention to detail, the personal touch nor, - selfishly- would we gain the enjoyment of it, if we were a hotel, as all of that would be diluted. We are enormously proud and feel blessed to live the life we do, owning a Bed and Breakfast - a rather luxurious and stylish one! - not a small hotel, that is our brand and as we look back through our guest book it underpins the highs and praise of every review. And so we choose "to be" rather than "not to be" a B&B!