The luxury of self-catering

In a nutshell, self-catering is ‘the action of staying in accommodation with facilities to cook one’s own meals’, but have you ever thought about this way of holidaying as a luxury? No? Then you’ll want to read on – from more freedom and total privacy to oodles of space, it offers so much more than the average hotel room… 1. Freedom Self-catering holidays offer freedom that you just don’t get with a hotel. Eat what you want, where you want, when you want! There are no set or restricted meal times, so you can eat whenever you want and take things at your own pace – and that’s just want you want on holiday, right? If you want to lie-in and eat breakfast in the middle of the day, you can! It also means than you can spend less money on food if you wish to, by cooking and eating in – which for some people may well be preferable over dining in a crowded restaurant anyway, costs aside. Whether inside or al fresco, enjoy a quiet, intimate meal with your loved one, a leisurely, relaxed supper with a group of friends or a sociable, memory-making lunch with the family – self-catering offers this all, with no interruptions #bliss. Do all the cooking, share the cooking, have a cooking competition (pretend you’re on Come Dine with Me or MasterChef!), cook outside, cook inside, do your best Jamie Oliver impression with gourmet, locally-sourced or even self-foraged ingredients – the kitchen is your oyster (and you could cook them too!). On the flip side, not only does a self-catering holiday mean you don’t feel tied to a hotel restaurant, it makes you get out and about and explore more, especially when it comes to food. Whether you stumble across a hidden café on the cliffs whilst out stomping the coast path or get dressed up and treat yourself to a slap-up meal at a Michelin restaurant, you’ll make holiday memories that you’ll treasure for years to come. “Freedom is the oxygen of the soul” – Moshe Dayan 2. Privacy With self-catering you get the whole place to yourselves, meaning total and utter privacy. And who doesn’t want to be left alone to enjoy their holiday…it’s a no-brainer. Do what you want, when you want. Come and go as you please, through your own private entrance, without worrying about bumping into fellow guests. Lie-in for as long as you want, without being awkwardly interrupted by the maid. Any additional facilities – i.e. a hot tub – will, more often than not, be yours and yours only to enjoy for as long as you want. After all, we go on holiday to get-away-from-it-all and therefore privacy is oh-so-important for escaping from modern life and reconnecting with one another. “Live life and stay low key. Privacy is everything” – Mansu Manwani 3. Space A self-catering holiday property is a home-from-home, offering so much more than a hotel room, with all the facilities you could want, comfort to match that of your own home and plenty of space to spread out in. It’s a great way to holiday with groups of family or friends, as the adults can watch TV or socialise in the evenings while the kids are either asleep in the bedroom(s) or hanging out in a separate space, all under the safety and security of one roof. It’s wonderful for couples too, providing not only extra facilities but more space to spread out than your average hotel room. Aside from a balcony, something you rarely get with a hotel room is outside space (e.g. a patio or garden), and a lot of self-catering properties offer this in abundance. Relax in the sun, cook up a storm on the barbecue, read a good book and play games with the kids until your heart’s content, all in the privacy of your own dedicated area. The provision of more space, both inside and out, means that there are a lot more dog-friendly self-catering properties than there are hotels. After all, holidays just aren’t the same without our faithful four-legged friends and taking them along with you will save money on kennels or dog-sitters too. Rover will love exploring a new place, with plenty of space in which to roam around and lots of interesting smells to explore. “In today’s life, luxury is time and space” – Harmon Okinyo “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury” – Coco Chanel And, you’ll certainly be very comfortable in a self-catering property. Katie Chown is Co-Creator of Where Oh Where. Where Oh Where is a new way of discovering your perfect place to stay in the UK, with luxury hideaways that go beyond glamping. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blogin order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. I think some of these ideals can be applied to everyday life, as well as while you travel. I’m used to cooking my own meals almost on a daily basis. And although it can be a little tricky to do that while traveling, you can definitely save a lot of money by “self-catering” especially when you’re visiting a country where things might be a little more expensive than usual. It’s not a bad idea to go to a local grocery store and check things out there because things will usually be cheaper and you can get a feel for the local vibes of the place you’re visiting.

    1. Totally agree Alex, and it’s always interesting to visit a supermarket in another country too, to see what local produce/specialities that you can pick up and try.

  2. I travel a lot for business, in fact that’s why, sat in an airport departure lounge, I’m reading ALTB at this ungodly hour, and I stay in more hotels than is good for my figure and sanity.

    Firstly, let me say that hotels have improved their menu offerings hugely over the last decade, particularly on their healthy well-being choices, but it is difficult to control the calories and keep your weight down when you are just going from meeting to meeting.

    That’s why we always self-cater when we go on holiday. Another thing is that the kids aren’t always good at sitting still through a formal meal. No, let’s be honest they are never good at it!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mo.

      Yes, we’re definitely not adverse to a hotel stay but have to admit there are lots of advantages to a self-catering holiday…especially with kids, as you say.

  3. A few years ago we stayed in a fantastic hotel in Cornwall and the food was fantastic. What was frustrating was walking around the fishmongers and knowing that I couldn’t buy and cook anything. Self-catering has real advantages.

    1. It definitely does Maggie and, being from Cornwall myself, I can very much recommend the local seafood!

  4. I quite like the flexibility of self-catering but it depends what type of break I’m after. Sometimes I just want to do as little as possible and be lazy, so I like the half board options or going out for dinner to explore local cuisine. But to save money and be more flexible around what you want to do, self-catering is brilliant. I went with a bunch of friends a few years ago and we opted for self-catering and I’m glad we did because a few of them had dietary needs to cater for, so it was a lot easier doing it ourselves, and we could suit ourselves then with how we timed our activities throughout the days.

    I hadn’t seen it as a luxury option before though. Now you say it, it can seem like quite a luxury because it becomes more of a leisurely experience that you have full control over. I really like some of the quotes you’ve shared too, especially the Harmon Okinyo one. Very true, given how busy and always connected we seem to be these days.

    1. I’m glad we introduced you to self-catering in a new light, Natasha. And thank you, we do love a good quote, especially those that make you stop and think.

  5. Agree on the quotes. “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury” is a revealing one from Coco Chanel. Luxury’s come a long way since she uttered those words.

    I’ve got to admit that I’ve stayed in a couple of self-catering units where it was so luxurious that I was scared of knocking over ornaments and doing thousands of dirham / dollars of damage. That’s not luxury, you can’t relax so you’re not comfortable.

  6. I’ve been on a lot of self-catering trips myself and find it very relaxing. I like cooking meals that I love from home and with self-catering I get to do that even when I am far away. Comfort food really does make you feel at ease in a new and unfamiliar place. At your own pace and time seems to be the unique selling proposition of these self-catering villas. And for those that want to take their sweet time or are fickle about their day’s activities will definitely benefit from this. However, I’ve stayed in a private villa that does offer you an option for having a personal chef cook for your or a concierge of sorts offering an itinerary. I’d say that’s something good to have for when you are not too keen on planning your own itinerary.

  7. This is what I’ll be doing this year – a self-catering holiday. I’ve always enjoyed self-catering – more independence and privacy, but this year more than ever I think we’re going to see this often overlooked sector of the industry booming – at least for the second half of the year, hopefully. Hotels, on the other hand, I think will face more severe challenges in the coming months.

  8. We self cater a lot abroad. Why is it that they have a barbecue but never any tools?
    Every time we have to go hunting for tools and that’s not easy
    Answers on a postcard please

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