The 4 main sections of a guest house are:
In this section, we will briefly cover what it is like inside a guest house, so you will know what to expect before you arrive. While guest houses vary in size, design, amenities and features, you will find that guest houses around the world are divided into the same main sections (for the most part).
Unlike hotels, guest houses often lack a large reception desk or concierge. Because of this, I have found payment tends to be more laid-back than what you will experience in a hotel. Hosts often let guests pay at a later point after checking in (even a day into their stay).
At check-in, hosts usually give a property and room tour, and provide information you may need (Wi-Fi password, how to enter the property, breakfast information). Chatting with your host after check-in is a wonderful way to get to know them, gain a grasp of the area (things to do, where to eat, and tour options) and try local tea or wine.
While most private rooms have an en-suite bathroom, shared bathrooms are also common (especially in mountain guest houses). If your rental includes a shared bathroom, it will usually be in the hallway just outside, or sandwiched between the rooms of the guests who are sharing it.
Guest house bookings range from dorm-style beds to fully private bedrooms or suites - depending on the property. For how to find your ideal guest house, use our Guest House Booking Guide. Private Guest house rooms typically include an en-suite bathroom, one towel per guest, and basic toiletries (like hand soap).
Great guest houses are more than a place to sleep. Some are minimalistic (particularly in dense cities like Tokyo), some provide amenities. Features you may find in a guest house include a restaurant, swimming pool, lounge, billiards and laundry. Some properties host activities like bike tours, barbecues and guided hikes.
Guest houses often have a communal kitchen (located outside your room), equipped with utensils guests can use to cook or prepare their own meals. Many hosts allow guests to use some of their ingredients. In smaller guest houses, the kitchen is often where breakfast is served.
Other features and amenities you can potentially find in a guest house include a fireplace, gym, outdoor grill, sea or mountain views, garage, Netflix streaming, and beachfront access. Guest houses with an on-site bar may organize happy hour or drink specials. For a step-by-step guide on how to find a guest house with the amenities you want, use our Guest House Booking Guide.