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5 min read, inspiration, opinion

Unforgettable B&Bs – Toby remembers four of his favourite stays

18th April 2015
Unforgettable B&Bs – Toby remembers four of his favourite stays

Generous hosts, sensitive restorations and local, hearty food; Toby tells us what makes an unforgettable B&B, and why these are four of his favourites.



The Old Forge, Fanners Yard, Dorset


No one should run a B&B unless they LOVE hosting. Many forget this very simple rule, seduced more by the money than the prospect of welcoming strangers. Lucy and Tim are born hosts – generous-spirited, easy company and with a genuine love of sharing their home with others. And they’ve had the courage really to keep it home, rather than an ‘enterprise’. A B&B as it should be.



Château de la Bourlie, Dordogne, France

A dream – this place demonstrates perfectly how the world of B&Bs is now aeons away from the musty, fusty formality of yore. Simple, laid-back and with a touch of funk, Lucy’s set-up defies categorisation. Breakfast isn’t served, it’s delivered on a tractor to be eaten whenever you like. And you’ve not a bedroom in a house, but the run of a whole barn set in the grounds. It’s a touch pricier than usual, but then you have so much more than just a bed and a breakfast.


Finca la Ramallosa, Cáceres, Spain


An unbelievable feat of courage and passion, this is a pitch-perfect resurrection of a derelict hamlet in the remote wilds of Spain’s Extremadura. 6 miles down a bumpy track, into birdsong and quiet, and you come across a collection of old farmworkers’ buildings, sensitively restored yet with considerably more comfort than a Spanish 1950s labourer would have experienced. It’s unusual, without for a moment being naff. I want to take my whole extended family, as many – suggests the guest book – have done already.


Le Due Volpi, Florence, Italy


From the slab of salt-encrusted, oven-warm focaccia awaiting new arrivals to the rolling Tuscan views, this is classic Italy at its unpretentious best. Le Due Volpi is neither guest house nor B&B – it’s an Italian home, full of warmth and conviviality, that you have the privilege to call yours fora spell. Heidi welcomes you like an returning friend – it almost feels crass handing over a cheque at the end your stay.