Updated: Jun 21, 2020
When we were operating as a guest house we obviously had to provide our guests with all the amenities they would expect. Over the years we were open we saw a surprising shift in expectations - a significant change in terms of what people expected to find in their rooms. When we started the expectations for a B&B were not much different from what people would expect to find if they went to stay with friends - a bed and some soap and maybe some shampoo and people were happy. How times change! By the time we closed as a guest house the average guest had become rather more spoilt, no matter where they stayed, and they had come to expect a similar level of comfort in a B&B as they would find in a decent hotel. So we upgraded our televisions, upgraded the beds, upgraded the selection of teas and coffees and biscuits that came with the kettle, whilst in the bathrooms we spent a lot of time sourcing a good quality range of toiletries, eventually settling on the Duck Island range.
Choosing a good range of toiletries proved to be far more difficult than we expected. We ordered samples of maybe a dozen different brands and spent one afternoon working our way through them all. Some we dismissed instantly since, bizarrely, they smelt horrible! (Why would you manufacture an unpleasant-smelling range of toiletries?). Others smelt wonderful but the design of the tubes or little bottles meant it was impossible to get the contents out! Again you’d think the designers might have considered that... Still others were fine apart from the fact that you needed the strength and grip of Hercules to undo the containers so anyone with arthritic fingers would struggle. In the end we found just one range of toiletries that met all our criteria, a range called Duck Island. They smelt great, (a lovely bergamot/citrus scent), had good chunky bottles that poured easily and the lids were a great shape and easy to remove, even with fingers that struggled a little. We put them in our bathrooms and for a good many years they got great reviews from our guests.
When we evolved into self catering apartments last year we still had a stock of Duck Island toiletries, so we made sure that each bathroom had a supply. I hate turning up at a holiday let only to find I’ve forgotten to bring my own toiletries and there aren’t any in the bathrooms, so we made sure there was at least enough to get people through a first night. However expectations are changing again. The trouble with the range we have been using is that they come in small plastic bottles and basically they are single-use. We do what we can to recycle them but even if the containers can be re-purposed there is a lot of wastage of the contents. So we have taken the decision to stop using small toiletry bottles. We are continuing with the Duck Island products as they are just so nice to use but as of today we have smart dispensers in all our showers for shower gel/bodywash and shampoo. Not only will these massively reduce our plastic consumption but they should also significantly reduce our overall wastage as they can be re-filled.
So, evolution, for the right reasons. And some nice environmental boxes ticked at the same time. Who said saving the planet had to be hard work?