Our Bed & Breakfast ‘the Overhorn‘ is located in a monumental farmstead, a large residential farmhouse. We live there and also run several businesses here. All together, we manage to get a rating of 9.5 for staff and hygiene. Therefore, would our guests mistake our hospitality and comfort of our rooms and apartments for a 4-star hotel? Because lately, our B&B has been increasingly seen as a hotel. We want to understand that, but it goes wrong sometimes.

Bed and breakfast

After all, a B&B is not the same as a hotel. By a Bed & Breakfast (what’s in a name?) we are basically talking about small-scale lodging, for a (usually) short-term stay, with the possibility of eating breakfast. We too want to keep our B&B as small and personal as possible. With us, no buffet in a hall, but cozy breakfast at the kitchen table. We have rooms and apartments overlooking the Vecht River and the Naardermeer nature reserve. This in turn presents special issues for parking boats, bicycles and canoes. Cars may simply be parked on our own property. Walking at walking pace is advised, as you can encounter stray animals everywhere. Therefore, we live and work behind a fence and are surrounded by ditches, stables and fenced pastures. Along our little dike, you won’t find a key box for independent entry, nor will you find hardly any street lights, as is often the case with lodgings in a terraced house on a main road or in a busy city center.

The outdoor area is really different

For some, that takes getting used to. Often we have to take extra care. For example, we recently fished a boy out of the ditch. In the dark, he had stepped next to the dam (embankment) and ended up in the ditch. We couldn’t save his cell phone and his clothes were covered in mud. Fortunately, it ended well: the guest took a hot shower, we washed his things, and the next morning he made a fresh start. Checking in at daylight -as was agreed- is more convenient then anyway.

The other day we were in the starting blocks to welcome a group of English tourists after dinner. But it got later and later and we couldn’t reach them. Finally at 10:30 p.m. the phone rang: “Yes, we’re having a super fun time in Amsterdam. We’ll probably be there before midnight.” That doesn’t fall very nicely when you’ve already gotten up at 6 a.m. that morning to have breakfasts ready on time.

Downright worried we were when German guests were expected between 1 and 2 pm but did not arrive until 8 hours later. We may not be open 24/7 to check in guests, but a guest is missed with us. And we make sure we can be reached by phone if you unexpectedly can’t find your way (back)… Similarly, we like being able to call guests.

All hands on deck

So we arranged our reception differently than at a typical hotel. We have our own set of rules and personal directions and are not open 24/7. In rotation, residents and part-timers of the B&B arrange the reception of our guests. Fortunately, we can also count on the staff of NML Health, the animal health products company on our property. Therefore, we have sufficient staff available during business hours. Outside those times, it is a bit of a struggle and our guests depend on whether the owner and residents are present. All of us are very flexible, although it helps if we know what to expect when we make the reservation. So that guests are not standing in front of a closed gate, for example.

We work with local organic products and are happy to accommodate special requests, allergies and diets. We don’t have stores directly nearby, so even then it’s nice to consult in advance.

Almost like home

We want our guests to feel at home at our Farmstead. And just as mother sighed at home “it’s not a hotel here,” in our B&B it is a good practice to be considerate of each other. That includes agreeing in advance what time guests will arrive and leave.

Our ground rules are simple. Below they are listed again.

  • Arrival:

On weekdays before 5 p.m.

On weekends before 12:30 p.m. or by appointment

  • Breakfast (if booked the day before)

On weekdays between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

On weekends between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

  • Departure

By 11 a.m., unless expressly agreed otherwise.

  • No dogs  

We want to guard the tranquility for our guests and the animals in the yard (chickens, dogs and a cat). Therefore, unfortunately, it is not possible to bring your own dog.

  • Rest

Guests, nature lovers as well as business people appreciate the tranquility of our BB. Our large yard dogs run loose on the property, there is fence wire and ditches everywhere. We have no playground or petting zoo. Hence, in principle, we are not THE suitable location for a family with small children or babies.

  • Sound

The monumental farmhouse is wood, the stairs creak and the partitions are not as insulated as a concrete shell. Nice if guests are considerate of each other and don’t make too much noise between 10:30 and 7:00.

We also expect notification if appointments need to deviate or change. Is that weird?