Jump to content

Do you provide Bathroom Toiletries in your B&B?

cest la vie

Recommended Posts


We are wondering if any of you provide 'Bathroom Toiletries' in your B&B eg soap, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower caps etc. We recognise there will be arguments for and against, but since there are so many B&B's run by Brits in our area, we feel it will provide added value. Will appreciate your comments, and if you do provide these goodies have you got a name or web address of a wholesale supplier please?

Cest la Vie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yes, we provide individual soaps, shower gel, shampoo, hand cream, shower caps, tissues & more importantly sanitary bags & cotton wool balls - the bags for obvious reasons, the balls to try to deter ladies from removing their makeup with white towels....not always successful.  We also provide (on request) hairdryers, alarm clocks, the occasional night light & universal adaptors.......& WiFi internet access.  The upper end of the market (both French & English) expect this level of service these days - its the little extras which make you memorable - we provide the same toiletries in our gites as part of the welcome pack.  We brought a good supply with us from the UK when we started up 3 years ago, but they are all easily found in Metro - the Bordeaux branch has a good range at different prices.
Link to comment
Share on other sites


 I am interested in your nightly rates. You being at the upper end

of the market, I am really interested in what the charges are.

We do not put them out but we have reserves of soaps, shower caps &

gels for those who have not brought those items with them , which is to

be fair, extremely rare and in many years, I doubt we have more than 4

or 5 guests in any year that ask us. We supply hair

dryers to each room as well as alarm clocks. Adaptors are always

available for British clients. We have night lights for kids but we

often see lights on all night either in the hall way or table lamps in

the rooms with kids. As many will know, after an accident or two, 

we do not offer tea & coffee facilities in the rooms either.

It is NOT so much the little extras that make you memorable, it is YOU.

You can fill the rooms with just about every freebie you want but if

the owners are not agreeable, it would come to nothing. Nice people

nothing else but very clean and tidy rooms are the forté. If you can

manage all of those things, then the price really does have to mirror

it. Mind you, put the B&B in an out of the way spot and perhaps

only free meals will swing anything !!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Absolutely; I think as part of GdF you are supposed to supply at least soap and wash gloves, we put shampoo and shower gels as well, sometimes they are used, sometimes not.  Also hair dryers and tissues, tea, coffee etc, WIFI because it costs us nothing extra and is part of our abonnement.

Metro is good and also Bernard.fr I think does bits if there isn't a Metro close by.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Soap, wash mitts, makeup remover thingies, tissues, hairdryers, alarm clocks, nappy sacks (not necessarily for nappies). 

If someone's forgotten their shampoo or toothpaste we happily provide it foc but we don't put it out in the rooms.  Most people have their own preferred brand of those things and bring it themselves.  UK plug adapters on demand. 

Beds provided if requested in advance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Miki, I am glad to see that not all places put kettles in the rooms as we often get complaints (from the Brits) about this as we also do not. Accidents being our main cause for concern too. We offer this on request and provide a tray with some added goodies. We have noted something peculiar lately though. We service the rooms daily and, until recently, always placed a daily topup of shampoo and soap. However, we noticed in a lot of cases that the guests had brought their own and were placing our toiletries to one side so that after they'd left we had a pile of 'unuseds' to remove. So, now when this is the case we dont top up. Unbelievably this has not stopped some people complaining that we dont 'top up'! even though it has been obvious they were using their own soap and shampoo and not ours. Anyway, Ive stayed in a few hotels of various star ratings and if there is one thing I would like them to provide it is a decent hair conditioner! what is the point of the shampoo if you cant comb your hair afterwards?.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Forgot to say - like Wen and Miki we don't put tea and coffee making stuff in the bedrooms (or the bathrooms) but we offer them it when they arrive, to have in the sitting room or in the garden, and thereafter on request.  But everybody has their own preferences and ways of doing these things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I have to say, that's a new one on me about supplying soap and

gloves  with  G de Fr ? Can you point me in the right

direction to see where it says that, as I personally have never known


Perhaps I am wrong but it certainly seems to me that with more and more

Brits are now doing B&B here in France, many appear to be bringing  a

British outlook of B&B to France. We are seeing people now saying what they do,

as if it is de rigeur. I guess we learned by mimicking how to do

Chambres D'hôtes from a couple of local French places and where we

ourselves had stayed. Perhaps that is why I am often surprised at what

I read on what the Brits offer their guests. We have rarely (with some,

never) had requests for shower caps, shower gel, conditioner, gloves,

even robes, plus tea & coffee in the room NEVER, EVER from French

guests . I go on a French forum and sometimes ask questions on this

very subject. Some are offering one or two items but never all or even

close, to all of these things.

One of our neighbours last year spent a whole lot of Euros on upgrading

her Chambres D'Hôtes to 4 Epis. She proudly asked all us local folk

in to see the rooms etc last Easter and I have to say, it is super. In the shower room (with

sink and WC) was a China pump pot for soap on the sink. Nice towels,

nothing more and in the bedroom, a hand written notice informing them

of prices etc and breakfast times plus a note to say that hot drinks

were available on demand. They are almost totally an all French guests

place, we are somewhere around 75% or so French (more out of season)

with a mixture of Brits and many other nationalities making up the


Perhaps that is what is happening now and one feels that to gain

clients, one has to be like a hotel and offer just about everything a 5

star hotel offers. That would be a great pity , as it is individualism that

seperates us from the hotels. We offer a welcome alternative and giving

the client a mirror copy is not what Gites de France  (Ch d'Hôtes)

had planned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to say the GDF comment made me go and have a look and I can't find anything either.

We put two shampoo and two bath soap sachets in each room for arrivals but to be honest its the blokes that will tend to us them as most women have particular brands of shampoos etc that they use which they bring with them. In fact most of our French ladies seem to bring a whole cosmetic shop with them when they arrive.

Hairdriers - yes, alarm closks - on demand, tea and coffee - yes. It's funny what some French people think you don't supply, I have had more than one French couple turn up with their own towels (or perhaps they pinched them from another CDH [:-))] ) and were quite supprised to see we supplied them.

I think it pays to remember we are CDH owners and not mini hotels owners and that we are considerably different which is (in my opinion) what attracts a particular type of client. I wonder if people who offer show caps and all the other fancy bits and bobs miss out on the real CDH clients because it's not what they are really looking for. We have had one complaint that we were not 'rustic' enough by a French couple last year because we put a hairdryer in the room, you just can't please some people [:)] . Perhaps Miki's approach is a better idea, have them and issue them when asked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are with GdF & have stayed in the past in other GdF chambres d'hotes in the region - all of which supplied the toiletries - maybe it depends on your region & your local inspector......ours certainly encourages it & demands that we offer a selection of homemade jams & cake for breakfast as well.  A French aquaintance (another GdF member who offered us a lot of advice when we started up) adviced us on what the French are looking for now in this area in a B&B - there are too many rustic places on offer - everyone wants something different & to feel pampered.........maybe we are more like a hotel but we have a large number of regular French guests who love all the extras & I do find that many wedding parties arrive without luggage if staying for one night only - so the toiletries are a very welcome necessity........maybe as a rule of thumb we should offer what we would offer a friend coming to stay for a few nights
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If our friends come we would give them whatever they wanted, they are

friends, family the same. Guests must never be confused as such. They

are clients first our living depends on them and naturally we are

friendly with them. Get that part wrong and you will not have a


You didn't answer about your prices ? And now I am wondering about

where your your region is and indeed how many rooms you have ?

 We are in the Ille et Vilaine, one of

the largest depts for Ch d'Hôtes, lots of competition but sufficient

demand from potential clients for many to be full for long periods. We have publicity sent to

us for many gîte, B&B meetings and seminars, we cannot get to more than a few

each year but when we do we talk with old friends and new people alike.

Sure they are always asking us where we advertise, how we are doing

and  we also talk of what is new etc. I have to say homemade jams

(never cake though ! except as a dessert) have always been de rigeur but now G de Fr are relaxing a little on

that. Bigger places like us will struggle to have sufficient to get

through the whole long season so that is being looked at here.

We know the table situation (one large table to sit all guests at) is

finally seen as pretty difficult for many, so that is not pushed so

much these days. Feeling pampered in a B&B is of course an option

but our regional Director is not at all impressed with people who turn

their ordinary places (OK put me in that bracket)  in to mini 5

star hotel style places. It is OK to see a small Chateau or Maitre de

Maison etc doing this  as it is kind of expected to go with the

overlall effect. I would suggest that your regular (I have to say, we

do have regulars but not in huge numbers, I am always of the opinion

that the World (or France) is a small place now and if w eare much to

go by, we like to see other parts and places every year) guests may be

surprised and rather taken back to see such a thing in a B&B.

Too many rustics in your area, so you  must  get rid of them

and become modern hotel type places........so then one day we will

arrive at the start and I guess anew Ch D'Hôte will arise from the

ashes and once again offer the French public a decent room, decent food

at a decent price

The clue of what you are doing is in the maybe we are more like a hotel but,

if your local colleagues say that's the way to go !  I truly hope

it doesn't reach those proportions here, as that would certainly see us

throw in the towel (excuse the pun !). I see all these things on

British TV and realise that is now happening here among many Brits, so

perhaps I shouldn't be surprised but with the prices that they are in

many B&B's  is in the UK, they are entitled to offer such

luxuries.........I say again, it is not what C d'Hôtes were meant to be

in France, it is basically rooms for guests and if that is what all of

you none B&B'ers

put in your bathrooms in an everyday way,

then I am I guess, out of the way it is in peoples bathrooms, I guess

but, I know what many French

people will have in their bathroom at any time though ! I know whenever

we stay with friends, we take along our own toilet bags, with all we

will need in  them.

Like Quillan, we have had quite a few guests over the years that ask if

we have towels and some even ask about bedlinen, that is how many

French see it  here, just a room in a persons house, after all

that is how it was seen to be by the French. If we all start acting

like hotels and the hotel association start to catch on, like they have

done in the past with table d'hôtes, I wonder where it will all end,

certainly in tears for many, that's for sure.

I think we will all see new regulations about what we can or cannot do.

This year (or early next year will see some new regs for sure, not, I

would imagine for that type of thing but the hotel and camping

assocaiations have long been in talks with G de Fr and the government

about B&B's needing to come under tighter controls and registering

is just one of the  thing that keeps cropping up and you can thank

the hotels etc for putting all us under pressure and G de Fr for

keeping the wolves at bay, so far !)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What concerns me about people effectively turning their homes in to mini hotels is the impact it has and MAY have in the future on the rest of us. The new rules and laws that will be implemented will, as Miki said, tighten up things but it may also change some of the benefits we currently enjoy.

I agree totally with forcing CDH’s to be registered and inspected as this will ensure a certain standard can always be expected by the clients and it will be uniform across France. What of the rest of it though like how we actually run our CDH’s, could it end up with us having to apply all the health and safety rules that are required in other European countries? I’m talking emergency lighting in halls and public areas, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, one hour burn through doors. Then there is the kitchen, will we all have to have completely separate kitchens, food storage and food prep areas, where would it all end. Then on top of this they may remove the current very favourable tax system options for CDH’s which without many of us could not even survive. It could effectively end up with the traditional CDH disappearing although that’s is a bit drastic I know but it may see the end of many.

The more of the ‘luxury’ CDH’s that appear (which is mainly down to Brits I personally think) the more we drift away from what the traditional CDH is all about. To be honest if people set up these mini hotels because that’s what they are they should come under the Logis de France banner instead of CDH.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Well put Quillan.

This is the big beef that the Hotel association has (along with the

campsites and all the similar subsideries) and has had for many years. They merely

want to guard their establishments and their workers against serious

damage done by C d' H's.

G de Fr have fought tooth and nail to ensure we are able to carry on

and as said, able to gain the considerable abattement against Impôts.

The main reason for C D'H's in the first place (and it has been

extremely well documented on here several times before) was for the

agricole folks. We have all been lucky (lucky ?) to be able to work our

own places on the back of this. If now we (and yes, the French) start

to move seriously in to the higher echelons of hotel type

accommodation, I feel that we could well see another serious debate on

where we shoild all be as concerns regsitrations. It is one thing

having small places taking in paying guests, as of course was intended,

it is quite another when we now start to see B&B places encroach

even more on to what the hotels see as their domain. And as said, many

would have to shut if the hotel regs were forced upon us, I  know

we run under that kind of system and for just one thing, it entails

several different organisations to get a  pass, especially if one

has a kitchen for cooking for guests.

Sure the bigger places, such as I said before, Maison de Maitres and

the like  look extremely nice and gain 4 epis for their style and

outlook but they are are no doubt for the greater part, registered  but even they must be careful not to be seen

advertising certain things, over and beyond G de Fr regulations.

Remember that couple in the Limousin who were on TV sometime ago and

had problems (as always !!) with their Chateau, many of us saw through

their operation and how the TV suggested they were operating, it was no

more B&B than McDos but the TV programme wanted to show them as a

B&B and for what they were doing it was simply not correct. It

happens in the UK of course but places like that here, simply cannot

gain G de Fr status, well not on waht was being shown anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting debate. We have stayed in some GdeF châteaux, with the maximum number of epis, and the standard and number of rooms has certainly rivalled small upmarket hotels. As I suppose it should be. Although these are usually also with one of the supposedly upmarket guides, like Fleurs de Soleil or Alastair Sawday, which insist on the provision of toiletries, towels etc. We have also stayed in (and run) rather more basic establishments which are very much 'guests in the house'  in approach. But where do you draw the line? Because we put out Crabtree & Evelyn soaps and shower gel in our B&B, did that disqualify us? If guests have their own entrance and/or their own sitting or eating area, does that turn a B&B into a hotel? It all seems to come down to the relationship and contact between hosts and guests, in my opinion.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a momentary aside, I believe that Alatair Sawday is an independent publication still vets its entries, but we stayed in a couple (admittedly 4 years ago) and were disappointed - they are certainly not all 'special places'.  Both of those we visited were indistinguishable from any common or garden B&B.  AS sent us an application form this year - unsollicited - and an invitation for entry into their lists, which suggests they are more interested in getting more subscribers than in being an independent guide.

Aren't Fleurs de Soleil just the same as every other directory, as well?  We got a circular from them, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe they are all paid-for directories, even though Sawday likes to give the impression that it is independently vetted. I mentioned those two because they both have ideas of being upmarket, though in our experience some of the establishments don't really merit that description.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We too were approach a couple of years back as they had nothing in this area. We got them to send us a free book so we could look at the sort of places advertised and to be honest I thought we would be out of place amongst the grand old houses. They then told us how much we had to pay to get in the book which although I can't remember I did think was rather expensive at the time. They also expected the person who was coming to inspect us to only be charged something like £20 for their nights stay including dinner. I remember thinking I might be tempted to apply for a job of inspector, tester or whatever. I asked if they would give me 60% discount on being in the book as that was what they were asking me for but I hit a bit of a stone wall. Personally I have only ever met one couple in four years who has used the book and to be honest I had never seen or heard of it before they mentioned it which to my mind makes me think I am not alone and I can't see it's a good investment. I would be interested to hear if anyone is in the book and how much trade it brings them. The only English private book we are in this year is the Thomas Cook one and its produced quite a few clients. We paid to be in it for three years and we have had our money back already and its our first year so this to me is a good investment.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Quillan"] I remember thinking I might be tempted to apply for a job of inspector, tester or whatever. [/quote]

Now that sounds like a much better proposition, Quillan! 

I remember thinking when I saw Sawday's rates, what were the chances of their passing the 10% test (i.e. any advertising has to bring 10 times more in business than the advertising itself costs).  I know that people keep their books for a few years, as they are not cheap (these guys must be raking it in!), but even so ...

It also makes you wonder how independent and unbiased the vetting really is when they get such a fat payback from people they "allow"  to advertise.  There's no independent inspection checklist as far as I could tell from the information I was sent.  At least Clévacances and GdF have clear guidelines and checklists, mostly measureable and factual.  Not a perfect system, I know, but somewhat less open to potential bias.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


You are missing the point a little here..

Of course one can give clients what one wants to but times that by a

large number of folks all advertising this, that, this and that and all

the other items that hotels of varying stars will offer and you and

more importantly, the hotel association will see a pattern emerging of

Ch D'Hôtes now acting like hotels. The more Ch D'Hôtes encroach on how

hotels operate, the more chance there will be of new regulations being

enforced on B&B's.

One is supposed to have an area for guests to sit and read or possibly

watch TV, that hardly qualifies as an hotel, any house will be able to

offer that, we don't have straw huts Will [:)] We also have a private

entrance, that is for our sanity and again, many B&B houses we know

have another possible entrance for guests, some will not of course but

again, it doesn't make it similar to being an hotel.

Doesn't matter what size the place is, it is 15 persons maximum and 6

bedrooms to qualify to become a Ch d'hôte, any more, one is not a Ch

d'hôte. Sure you can call yourself whatever you want but in legals

terms to be with the people such as G de Fr or Clévances etc it is as

stated earlier. Fleurs de soleil are not really upmarket and in fact they don't

worlk too well for many folks.

As for Sawday, can't stand them, or their business tactics.  They

think they are the bees knees (or did) and still try to pretend about

all this being by invite only rubbish. It was kind of true some years

ago now but now they rely on getting revenue through advertisers, they

are like any other guide book but are resting on their once exclusive

style of guide book. We know a few and I wouldn't stay there if you

paid me. They quote them as having character, I know what I would call


Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Miki"]Will,

As for Sawday, can't stand them, or their business tactics.  They

think they are the bees knees (or did) and still try to pretend about

all this being by invite only rubbish. It was kind of true some years

ago now but now they rely on getting revenue through advertisers, they

are like any other guide book but are resting on their once exclusive

style of guide book. We know a few and I wouldn't stay there if you

paid me. They quote them as having character, I know what I would call



The last Sawday B&B we stayed in, we had a nice view from our window of the corrugated iron roof of a giant battery henhouse.  That's what I call special.  I won't begin to describe the evening meal ... [+o(]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote] The last Sawday B&B we stayed in, we had a nice view from our

window of the corrugated iron roof of a giant battery henhouse. 

That's what I call special.  I won't begin to describe the evening

meal ... [+o(]  [/quote]

That's your problem Cassis, you don't know character even when it's right in front of yer nose [:)]

We had the infamous up the wall and across the ceiling and back down again wallpaper

in one of the only ones we stayed in and the woman (British) was so

proud to have it, she said it showed real French character....no

arguing with that we thought [;-)]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pity Miki, I was looking forward to staying in your straw hut when we came across the border from Normandy into primitive Brittany. [:D] It'll make a change from our wooden ones.

Seriously, the point was that the Sawdays and Fleur de Soleils of this world demand things like toiletries in bedrooms - which is where this topic started - because they consider themselves, and advertise themselves as being, upmarket (though we know otherwise in many cases) - a cut above the mere Gites de France and Clévacances. So they probably are more to blame than a few British B&B owners who possibly misguidedly provide what is expected by the guests they mainly cater for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Miki"][quote] The last Sawday B&B we stayed in, we had a nice view from our

window of the corrugated iron roof of a giant battery henhouse. 

That's what I call special.  I won't begin to describe the evening

meal ... [+o(]  [/quote]

That's your problem Cassis, you don't know character even when it's right in front of yer nose [:)]


When it finally emerged and lit up the night sky, the giant battery hen was quite characterful, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our neighbour on the 22 side (Cotes D'Armor) is with Fleur de Soleil

and all she does is leave a  little soap in the shower room and a

gant (and towels naturally), that apparently covers her requirements !!

Yes they do offer that but that is hardly in to hotel status and just

read their publicity that we have here for annual publicity in Brittany


The purpose IS NOT to rent furnished flats

to tourists, or perform as hotels in disguise.

Will, honestly they are no more upmarket than G de Fr, just another splinter group who advertise with big words !! Like Quality Label [:)]

In other words, they judge almost exactly like G de Fr (they are not

stupid !!) but with a soap and a gant on top, making them

exclusive................ indeed  !!

The thing with 90% maybe more/less, of British B&B's, is that very

few are with G de Fr or indeed a French label and so cater mainly, if

not solely (especially with their  advertsing) for the British

market and I guess anything goes, so acting like a British B&B

would obviously be more to their knowledge and style. The long term

effect of doing that, probably needs no further discussion !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...