The Alternative B&B is unlike any pay-to-stay place I've been to, I really feel like I'm staying with an aunt or cousin. Many b&b's I've stayed in are either nervy, overly familiar that can come over as a bit fake or just to business.. room / breakfast/ pay and done etc. which is fine mostly as I tend to get on with my own things and don't think too much about it.
Here, Di, the owner, is pretty much like a member of my family, down to earth, knowledgeable with common sense, practicality and friendly without being fake, The house is a home, so don't expect the cookie cutter b&b, this place has real people living in it, holiday, family and pet pictures adorn the walls along with other travel momentos... There's also a lovely garden that I imagine in summer is quite beautiful to chill out in – it's winter now and despite it not being freezing so much, the snowdrops are out, the trees have shed their leaves and it's not exactly garden weather.. still, nice to look at through the window :-)
My room is pretty spacious, they have one double, the one I'm in, and a twin, next door to me. As they only rent two rooms I imagine this is how they keep the vibe so personable. My room is clean, again with books, pictures and a huge bay window. The radiator keeps me warm, the bed is really comfy, not exactly sure why, it's not an overly-stuffed or particularly new looking bed, but as soon as I fall into bed I'm fast asleep. Breakfast is pretty much decided by what you choose on a card given by Di also you choose what time it's served.. I opted for 9am which is the latest time she serves... a few times, if it's getting near 9 and she doesn't hear me moving, likely because of the comfy bed! Di has called my name through the door to see if I'm awake so I don't miss breakfast, I was initially taken aback a little but find this really sweet and caring- kind of like what family would do.
I'm vegan and Di has some vegan and other dietary mindful options on her menu.. which was initially why I chose to stay here. She has made me french toast, pancakes and a vegan cooked breakfast, all served with her home made bread and yumness blackcurrant jam. As there were quite a few things she could make vegan I asked her to surprise me instead of having to fill in the form every night.. I wasn't disappointed!
I tend to prefer my own bathroom but Di has no en suite rooms, however as the twin room was empty I pretty much had the bathroom to myself anyway. Either way I cannot imagine there being an issue. Every day the bathroom was spotless .. Di asked me if I wanted my room tidied etc but as I only stayed 6 days and had unpacked much of my stuff I preferred my things left alone which she had no problem with- Some places have told me they want to be in every day to clean the room etc which can seem a little invasive for me, no such issues here with that after I said there's no problem for me just to pull over my sheets etc – she did tell me that after a few days she wanted to change the sheets / towels etc tho which was cool. There was also quite a supply of clean towels in the room too!
The shower was pretty powerful which was refreshing and Di puts out non cruelty / non synthetic chemical hand and shower products to use. I tend to carry my own products around so didn't use much of these but the hand-wash smelled divine and upon looking didn't have the dreaded parabens and other nasty unnecessary chemical ingredients. Other ecological mindful aspects were Di composts fruit peels etc and recycles bottles and paper- as I'm mindful of doing this myself at my home in the states, I was happy to do this here.
All in all I was pretty sad to leave, six days isn't long but some places make more of an impression, it was kind of nice to be part of a household that has people doing creative things, Di and her partner Paul, are quite into music so every now and again if I tried I could hear music being played, or I'd have a conversation about life or the local art scene with Di. Hoover, the cat, sometimes could be spotted and petted but he tended to keep himself to himself and is not allowed upstairs to the rooms to cut down on allergens. I had no problems and was happy to pet him when * he * was in the mood – cats!! :-)
I'd recommend this b&b to chilled, mindful, thinking people, and if you have any dietary restrictions. If you're coming to York to party etc then I'd look elsewhere but for a pleasant personable break away from the usual grind I'd come here.