Hamlet House B&B is located in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, which is a city found south of Birmingham and known as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, according to the owner. The bed and breakfast has four guestrooms, which are available for reservations throughout the year. The Victorian-themed establishment is decorated with antiques related to William Shakespeare and his work. Breakfast is provided free of charge each morning. Many nearby places are within walking distance, including restaurants and attractions, such as Shakespeare’s Birthplace. The owner of the business, Paul, would like his guests to feel comfortable and laid-back while they are staying at the bed and breakfast. People are allowed to bring their pets with them as long as they are well-behaved. The building was first constructed in 1864 and was owned by a local railway company before it became the Hamlet House B&B. The owner is locally known as Mr. Shakespeare due to his extensive knowledge of William Shakespeare.
Hamlet House B&B has a total of four units available for reservation. Each room is uniquely decorated and has a private restroom with a shower and access to Wi-Fi. Due to Stratford-upon-Avon being William Shakespeare’s birthplace, the rooms are decorated to represent some of his plays and characters, such as Romeo and Juliet. There are a variety of antiques that can be found throughout the interior. The owner of the business, Paul, describes the decoration style as “a sort of Victorian theme.” He is an artist and has some of his own paintings around the home for visitors to see. The owner and two of his friends sometimes paint together, and he mentions that he may invite guests to such activities in the near future.
All of the four guestrooms have different interiors, though they come with similar amenities. Room One is found in the back of the house and overlooks the garden. According to Paul, it used to be two rooms and is now converted into a single unit, making it the largest accommodation available. The other units consist of a family room that has a double and a single bed and two more guestrooms with double beds. Everyone who has a room reserved is invited to breakfast each morning.
Paul cooks breakfast each morning and provides several options for the meal. One of his favorite dishes to make is eggs benedict. He notes that the eggs can typically be made in any fashion that patrons desire, and they are often combined with a variety of herbs from the garden. Other items that are usually available along with the main course include fruit, tea, cereal, and coffee. Visitors who have food allergies or dietary restrictions, such as vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free, can be accommodated. The meal is served between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.
Several common areas inside and outside of the house are available for guests to use at their leisure while staying at Hamlet House B&B. The dining room can be used by visitors as a place to eat food. On the outside, people can find a garden and a pond. The owner describes the outdoor area as being “Victorian and small.” He also mentions that the pond is an “eco-pond,” which means that he allows animals to congregate at the pond freely, namely frogs, fish, and other small creatures.
There are a variety of locations that visitors can visit within the vicinity. In Stratford-upon-Avon, one can find many attractions related to William Shakespeare's history. The home of his birthplace is less than a ten-minute walk away, and people can visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which is dedicated in William Shekespeare’s name. According to the owner, the city is known as “a market town” because many stores and shops are within walking distance. The River Avon flows through the city, and one can find Stratford-on-Avon Golf Club across it. Paul also mentions that there are other historical locations nearby, including Warwick Castle, which he describes as "one of the best medieval castles in the U.K.'' The city of Cotswolds has several activities available as well, such as hiking and motorbiking. Restaurants can be found throughout the area, and the owner says he enjoys recommending some of his personal favorites. A few that he likes to mention by name include Loxleys Restaurant & Wine Bar, Sorrento, and El Greco.
Paul, the owner of Hamlet House B&B, would like his visitors to feel “comfortable” when they arrive at the property. He mentions that he tries to “put himself out there” and be available for guests if they need anything or have any questions. The desired atmosphere that Paul wants for the establishment is “laid-back.”
The business has several policies that visitors should be aware of during their stay. Hamlet House B&B is pet-friendly, but the animals must be well-behaved and keep the barking to a minimum. Smoking is prohibited inside, but people can smoke outside if they would like. At night, the owner asks everyone to remain quiet and to refrain from disturbing other occupants.
Hamlet House B&B has received a number of reviews from patrons who have visited previously. Many of these reviews mention the history of the building and town as well as the amenities that are provided. One person wrote, “We received a friendly welcome from Paul, the owner of Hamlet House. We had room one, first floor at the back of the house, with a spacious ensuite shower room, comfy bed, and lovely breakfasts. It is not far from the town center, so it is within easy walking distance to good eateries and all the major Shakespeare attractions.” The business is open year-round, and the busiest time of the year tends to be during the summer. The typical demographic of guests that visit Hamlet House B&B tends to be older couples, but the owner notes that he has seen many younger travelers over the years.
Hamlet House B&B was built in 1864, and according to the owner, Paul, it used to belong to the railways. The train station, which is about an eight-minute walk from the bed and breakfast, owned several of the houses and would give them to some of the managers and other workers with more important positions. After some time, the railways sold the homes to a man who worked at the theatre as a dresser. He owned the property for over 40 years. Then, in 1988, the present owner purchased it and has been using the home for the last 36 years.
The current owner is responsible for creating the bed and breakfast and has kept many of the original building's furnishings, such as the fireplace. Paul explains that he has been a licensed and registered bed and breakfast owner since he and his late wife first opened. When the internet was first introduced and began gaining traction, Paul created a website, noting that with the licensing and website, “[they] were ahead of the game.” He mentions that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many bed and breakfasts were either forced to close or had to significantly reduce some of their amenities, including getting rid of breakfast. While there are a few restaurants in the town that sell breakfast, Hamlet House B&B is still capable of providing it as well.
Paul explains that one of his favorite aspects of running the bed and breakfast is meeting the people who come to stay. For people who are in the area for some of the historical aspects, the town has what’s called Stratford Town Walk, which begins at 11:00 a.m. every day and takes guests to some of the noteworthy locations within walking distance, including places related to Shakespeare and a few local buildings that have been around for centuries. One unique fact is that the owner’s nickname is Mr. Shakespeare to many people in the town because he has many pictures and photographs related to William Shakespeare.
Since taking ownership of the property, he mentions that he has yet to make many large-scale updates or changes to the building besides implementing more modern amenities to the guestrooms. Paul decorated the interior with antiques that he had found over the years and made sure that each room had its own private facilities when he turned the building into a bed and breakfast. Recently, the owner painted the outside of the house. In the future, he would like to do some work on the roof, but otherwise, he doesn’t plan on making any significant changes to the business.