GETTING IT RIGHT:

A TOP-NOTCH B&B EXPERIENCE

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I am the world’s worst traveller. I hate being subject to the noise of neighbouring room occupants, I detest having to sleep anywhere else but in my own bed, and I have an uncompromising need for cleanliness.

I also like a bit of luxury when I travel . . . my justification being that, if I’m forced to leave the comfort of my own environment, I at least want the same appointments that I have in my home.

These requirements and sensitivities in mind, staying at a “bed and breakfast” is a risky proposition . . . but, on the odd occasion that it does pay off, it does so in spades.

My overnight trip to Nelson – and my stay at The Baywick Inn – earlier this week was one such occasion.

Bath, Ma’am?

Talk about well-appointed. In the style of the finest European hotels, my “room” (more appropriately described as a small suite, really) featured the modern-day equivalent of a claw-foot (minus the claw feet) bath in one section of the large bedroom. And this was in addition to a beautifully modern and well-appointed bathroom.

If one chose to luxuriate in the cavernous tub during daylight hours, one would enjoy a view directly out of the French doors and across at the river that runs along the opposite side of The Baywick’s highly picturesque street.

My “room” also had a large walk-in wardrobe with more drawer space than an entire family of travellers could ever use. It also had its own delightfully sunny “sitting” area, with solid and stylish furnishings that complemented its “establishment” decor nicely.

And Did I Mention Cleanliness?

But – aside from the bath (which I made good use of) – the lasting impression The Baywick made on me was for its cleanliness. I’ve stayed in B&Bs where – despite the modernity of the premises and despite a lofty tariff – there’s been dust behind the headboards thick enough to finger-paint in. Or tired linen and greying towels.

Indeed, according to my experience, many “B&Bs” are run by “hosts” whose first concern is profit, and whose hearts really don’t appear to be in the hospitality business at all.

And there too, the venue is reflective of what appears to be a refreshingly different attitude by its owners, Canadian Janet Southwick and New Zealander Tim Bayley. Whilst Janet is clearly a competent business operator, she’s also a very genuine “hostess” . . . and, as a former restaurateur from Toronto, her breakfasts are both professional and extremely tasty.

No Military-Style Schedule

Just as an aside, I also appreciated the laid back and flexible attitude of the hosts. There’s nothing worse than staying at a B&B, the hosts of which make you feel like you’re intruding on their turf. Or require you to be seated at the breakfast table at a certain time that fits their own military-style household routine. Not much fun at all.

I was delighted and relieved to find Janet and Tim too “guest-focused” to display such an attitude.

I perhaps had only one concern, from a noise and privacy perspective: I stayed in the two-storeyed cottage separate to the main (historic) house, and the top floor had no door – only a two-stage staircase – to separate it from the suite on the lower floor. Whilst I was blessed to be the only occupant of the cottage on the night of my stay, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to have noisy downstairs neighbours leaving early in the morning or returning late at night.

But then – maybe your average punter wouldn’t care. Certainly, the offerings and overall superiority of the venue are worthy compensation.

A Mention for Nelson’s ‘i-Site’

In closing, an appreciative mention for Jen at Nelson’s “i-Site” tourist information centre, for her insightfulness and efficiency in matching my needs with a most befitting venue.

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