LQA

Jul 18, 2024
‘Leading Quality Assurance’ (LQA) Standards are a set of criteria and guidelines used to assess and guarantee the quality of hotels and catering establishments. When all employees follow the prescribed guidelines, the affiliated hotels and catering establishments can not only guarantee consistency in their services, but also meet the expectations of their guests. Although I […]

Holiday

Jul 12, 2024

On her way back to her room, one of the guests suddenly stops. She turns around abruptly. I’m just about to clear the table after breakfast, when she asks me very kindly: “Would you like us to help you clear the table?” I look at her in surprise. “No of course not!” I almost don’t know what to say. I’m happy that the guests feel at home, but showing them the way to the kitchen with a pile…

La pregunta de la clave

Jul 5, 2024

Television programs such as ‘A New Life in the Sun’ and ‘No Going Back’ have been extremely popular for years. The more that goes wrong, the better. Viewers, who are not even thinking about exchanging ‘our’ wet, cold country for sunny Spain (or any other country), find new confirmation in every episode. “See! It’s all falling apart, yet again.” Others who, unlike the first group…

Summer

Jun 28, 2024

Where the start of the summer season in Zermatt as been put on hold, bookings here are slowly starting to trickle in. While the rain keeps my sister confined to the house, we owe the careful switch from little to a little more mainly to the sun. Forget the summer solstice. The longest day of the year. Or the bonfires of Saint John. With the opening of the swimming…

In search of…

Jun 21, 2024

It is (in my opinion) only normal that we, as starting entrepreneurs, are still searching. Sometimes literally, but more often figuratively. For example: what do you do if guests want to have a late check-out because of the nice weather or a late lunch reservation? At times when the room has not already been rented, we do not really mind. It only becomes difficult…

Huge success

Jun 14, 2024

As my sister gets behind the wheel, I place my hands against the back of the old green car. The neighbor, who has tied both cars together with a rope, is already sitting in the other car. Since going uphill is not an option, there is no other choice than to pull the old wreck in the direction of Benissivà. In reverse – because unfortunately the other car does not have a tow bar.

Namasté

Jun 7, 2024

I wake up startled. Surprised, I reach for the telephone that is next to me, already ringing. What time is it? Eight o’clock. Time to get up anyway. While I’m answering, I try to sound as awake as possible. “This is Michelle.” A neighbor with another Bed and Breakfast, who’s on the other end of the line, immediately apologizes for the early hour. “I made a mistake!” she exclaims.

Expectations

May 31, 2024

Taking over an existing Bed & Breakfast or building one from scratch? Every now and then I receive a message from people who would love to exchange rainy Holland for sunny Spain. For many, running a Bed & Breakfast seems like the ideal way to take this (often exciting but scary) step. And I completely understand that. After all, we did it ourselves too. But how do you start?

The perfect score?

May 24, 2024

A study conducted by the Spiegel Research Center shows that ratings between 4.2 and 4.5 inspire the most trust. According to this study, mistakes happen in every company and every industry, and stressing over a single bad review or striving for an unsustainable perfect score is a waste of time. According to them, more important than the company’s score…

Poc a poc

May 17, 2024

It has now been more than four months since we were first introduced on Spanje Vandaag. Both of my sisters were working in Switzerland at the time and it was (mainly) up to me to put the Bed & Breakfast on the map. And although I have had to say “no” for a number of weekends because we were already fully booked on a certain day, we are still far from where we want to be.

Limited vocabulary

May 10, 2024

Now that we have put the changeable weather behind us and my sisters are still here for a few weeks before they have to go back to Switzerland again, it is high time to prepare the garden for summer. With the little money we have left from the winter season in Switzerland, we take stock. What do we really need and what can wait? A new coffee maker? The suitcase racks…

Unreachable

May 3, 2024

When I walk into the kitchen in the morning, the rest is already sipping on their coffees. While I make a cup myself, I put both phones on the table. Since we run a Bed & Breakfast, I do my utmost to always be available. That means I’m constantly dragging both my personal phone and my work phone from room to room. Annoying? Sometimes. Especially because I like to switch…

Foreigners?

Apr 26, 2024

The guests are about to leave. The couple, who have just paid, are still waiting until their friends, with whom they spent a night in our Bed & Breakfast, have also packed their suitcases. One of them is thinking long and hard about how best to formulate his question to me. Probably not knowing that the Dutch are, in general, quite direct and not easily…

Small price

Apr 19, 2024

It’s five days earlier (and four hundred euros more) than planned, but my sisters are back home. A combination of heavy rain and persistent danger of avalanches abruptly ended their season in Switzerland. The restaurant where they worked decided to close its doors a few days earlier than planned and because of that they were presented with a choice.

Top sport!

Apr 12, 2024

We have just finished setting up breakfast when the first guest walks into the dining room. It is six o’clock in the morning and, as an exception, we serve breakfast (on request) two hours earlier than usual. Although I don’t want to make a habit of getting up in the middle of the night to prepare and serve breakfast, I don’t mind at all when six of the nine guests…

One day…

Apr 5, 2024

I was eighteen when I went abroad by myself for the first time. I had just completed high school and my mother, who also comes from a family that loves to travel, encouraged my sisters and me to travel for a year before we would start college. That I got (somewhat) fluent in English, and not Spanish, after an eight-week language course in Barcelona, didn’t matter.

Impossible to overestimate

Mar 29, 2024

Vall de Gallinera, the municipality to which Benialí belongs, has approximately 585 inhabitants spread out over eight villages. With a percentage of 52%, there are slightly more men living here than women. At 58%, the age category 18-64 years is the largest, whereat the average age is 52 years. As in the rest of the province of Alicante (78%)…

Until next time!

Mar 22, 2024

Although the quantity is still far from where it should be five months after opening, we can’t complain about the quality. After all, the fact that no fewer than 12.5% ​​of all our guests have already stayed with us more than once or booked with us again, immediately upon departure, is why we decided to start this adventure in the first place. Naturally, I was pleased…

Marmalade

Mar 15, 2024

I glance at the crates full of tangerines and oranges. A gift from Luisa, the owner of L’Aplec restaurant. Super sweet! Gratefully I empty the crate of oranges into the large bowl outside. Our guests will be able to enjoy a fresh glass of orange juice with breakfast for a long time to come. Great. Because that certainly should not be missing from a breakfast…

R.I.P.

Mar 8, 2024

Although plans to emigrate usually aren’t made overnight, there is always a moment when the tone of the conversation changes. From vague plans, beautiful daydreams and alcohol-influenced talks to the point where someone actually slams their fist on the table and says: “We’re just going to do it. Tomorrow I will book a flight to Spain and we will view some houses.”

Tetris

Mar 1, 2024

If it wouldn’t be frowned upon, I would have probably already started with the tips and obligations discussed with the delegation from Alicante regarding our Casa Rural before the end of their actual inspection visit. Because as a true control freak, I naturally prefer to solve problems before and not after they arise. I therefore had to restrain myself from quickly popping…

Mixed feelings

Feb 23, 2024

With mixed feelings I glance outside. It’s raining. It hasn’t done that for a while. We certainly can use it and I hope it will rain a lot more in the next two months. But today I would have liked to see it differently. Because the delegation from Alicante can arrive at any moment. To check whether our Casa Rural meets all the necessary requirements.

Three years

Feb 16, 2024

When I walk downstairs my mother has just finished cleaning the fireplace. As she walks into the kitchen to make me a cup of coffee, she notes that is has been exactly three years since we started cleaning and reorganizing the house. A little later my sister Noëlle receives exactly the same message from Facebook. Photos of what the house looked like at the time…

Bon Patata

Feb 9, 2024

With a questioning look in his eyes he holds up one of the papers. “What is this?” I smile apologetically. It’s something I applied for online a long time ago with the help of my father’s digital certificate. “Does your father work?” he continues. “No, he is retired,” I answer. “In Spain?” He raises an eyebrow. “No, in the Netherlands.” I smile apologetically again.

Benidormalí

Feb 2, 2024

“How exactly did you end up here?” It is a question we are asked regularly. By both the Dutch and the Spanish. Justifiably. Because Vall de Gallinera does not yet enjoy the fame it deserves. It’s a shame. Because when we first visited Benialí (the village we now lovingly call home) a few years ago, we were immediately sold. Not much later, our dream house was too. To us, that is.

Svetlana

Jan 26, 2024

I’ve just sat down on the couch with a cup of coffee, when our father walks into the living room. He looks around inquisitively. He raises one eyebrow. Almost surprised. “Is Svetlana still sleeping?” he asks, slightly mockingly. I have to restrain myself from spluttering my coffee all over the table. Instead I shake my head. No. Svetlana is not still in bed.

Like home

Jan 19, 2024

I immediately dismiss his apology. “No problem at all,” I tell him. If he hadn’t said anything, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed. “This is Benialí,” I reassure him. Here, no one will bat an eye if you show up in your pajamas in public. I doubt whether Raul, the baker who supplies all eight villages with fresh bread every day from his van, would even recognize us…

Firewood

Jan 12, 2024

“Who put that yellow monstrosity in front of your door? And that tree?! Do you sell firewood these days?” One of the local residents starts laughing uncontrollably at his own joke. Although I try my best not to burst out laughing too, I decide not to give in that easily. “Keep laughing!”, I answer. “You’re just afraid that you won’t win the competition…

Our business card

Jan 9, 2024

When I hand him our business cards, he looks at them critically. “This font is much too small,” he says sternly. I nod meekly. I know. Pascual, the local pub owner, is just as direct as the average Dutchman. “Our address is not on it either,” I answer. “I forgot.” He shakes his head. Although he is not completely satisfied with the business cards that I may have made…

No going back?

Jan 3, 2024

“Liars! All of them. Every single one. How can they sit there?! Smiling on that bench at the end of every episode…” I can’t help but nod in affirmation when our friends (who own a hotel a few meters from ours) start ranting about the average “Ik Vertrek”-episode*. He is right. We just watched them trying to fix half their roof with a budget of €12 half an hour ago.

Full of Love

May 24, 2023

When I want to grab the car keys, my middle sister is holding up the shopping list right in front of me. “Where do you think we can get this…”, she asks me with a smile on her lips. “At the Aldi or the Mercadona?” I run my eyes over the list. “Lettuce, tomatoes, avocados…” I don’t see anything that stands out. It’s only when I reach the bottom of the list that I start laughing.

Perfectly imperfect

Oct 6, 2022

To say that our plan is anything but original is an understatement. We are not the first foreigners who want to start a successful Bed & Breakfast in Spain. But it is not originality we are after. In being our own boss, we hope to organize our lives more according to our own insights. With more freedom, time for each other and time to enjoy life. And all this in…

Head of Field Service

May 21, 2022

“If you would like to interview me in my position as the Head of Field Service, please let me know…” She looks at me with a straight face. Without flinching I turn my eyes back on the screen of my laptop. I’m trying not to burst out in laughter. She, too, can not suppress a smile. Because while our father can’t wait to decorate the balconies with beautiful plants…

Hector Cornel

Apr 10, 2022

Whoever hears us talking about Rocky, Rambo, Gerry, Scary Karel, Oscar, Leo Limoncello, Mr. Purple, Klimberley, Leopold, Stijn, Bennie, Fat Bennie, Harrie, Stoffel and Calvin, might think that we are already running a successful Bed & Breakfast. Unfortunately that’s not the case yet. On the contrary. Giving (almost everything) a name is a habit that has gotten a little out of hand.

Shopping? Fun?!

Nov 9, 2021

While the driver is handing us packages of tiles one by one, one of the pool builders just walks by with the wheelbarrow, ready to empty the debris into the container. He glances at the tile supplier and the packages that we just carefully stacked together in the hallway. “Ah so you all went shopping? Fun!”, he exclaims jokingly while swiping the sweat…

Benialí

Oct 23, 2021

While the guys stayed behind to work on the house, the three of us got into the car and drove one hundred and seventy-five kilometers to Francisco Segarra’s showroom in Castellón. Not wanting to be late for our appointment with Hind, we left half an hour early. Unnecessary. Because when we reach our destination two hours later, we still have exactly thirty minutes…

Flaca

Oct 1, 2021

“When are you leaving Zermatt?” “Friday evening”, I hear my sister answer two counters to my left. I repeat her words, when I am asked the exact same question a few seconds later. “Where are you traveling to?” “Spain!” My sister quickly corrects herself when she almost automatically wants to answer with ‘The Netherlands’. While the lady from the town hall and I can hear…

Perfect

Jun 5, 2021

“There is our culprit!” My father sighs as I step into our future breakfast room. The oldest and most experienced handyman of the three shakes his head in dismay. Finishing the bar they put together in less than two days took more work than they had anticipated. “Why the hell did you want the blade to be cut at an angle?”, the second continues. I shrug.

Holaaa!

May 13, 2021

According to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, one can drink twice as much in Spain as in France. Where both men and women are allowed to consume two alcoholic refreshments per person per day in the second, is one in Spain allowed to drink as many as two (women) to four (men) alcoholic units per day. So when the Spanish Health Insurance…

Ich Heiße Kartoffel

May 8, 2020

From the corner of the room come sounds of frantic ticking. The youngest, as she announced this morning, is sitting at the table. Her head almost disappears into the screen. While I plop down in front of the television after a long walk and devour my usual toast with herb butter, she is completely lost in her work. The ticking then briefly gives way…

We’re going

Jan 17, 2019

With a sigh she searches her card folder and hands me the one from her health insurance. The door slams shut with a bang. I follow her example and get out of the car as well. I put the card on the windshield and make a frantic attempt to scratch off the ice. It is eight o’clock in the morning, dark and cold. We never thought it could freeze. Apparently the car rental company didn’t think…