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On several islands in the Seychelles I've been seeing a lot of Self-Catering signs: Self-Catering Guest House, Self-Catering Apartment, Self-Catering Hotel, Self-Catering Room, etc.

What exactly does Self-Catering mean?

How does this differ from any other lodging that does not provide meals? Is this something only proper to the Seychelles or a concept available elsewhere?

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    It's certainly not unique to the Seychelles. It's widely used in the UK, for example. It's a popular holiday option for families with young children, who don't want the hassle of always having to eat in a "formal" environment.(Of course the UK may be less generally "child-friendly" than some other cultures!) – alephzero Mar 29 '17 at 2:16
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    Sounds like robots, which is exactly what it isn't. – Joshua Mar 29 '17 at 2:34
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    The opposite of all-inclusive. – Pharap Mar 29 '17 at 5:59
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    As well as with families as @alephzero mentioned, could also be particularly good option for holidaying on a budget (eating out can be expensive if done for two weeks at a go), if there's good fresh produce available & you like to cook (e.g. all around the Mediterranean, particularly with fresh fish/veg) or if you've dietary requirements and want to play it safe (e.g. you've a nut allergy that you don't think you can explain in your third language) – anotherdave Mar 29 '17 at 11:52
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    @Pharap: the opposite of all inclusive is actually "no meals included" – Quora Feans Mar 31 '17 at 10:39
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A self catering apartment, hotel room, hostel, vacation place, etc, is one where guests have facilities for making their own meals and cooking, and are allowed to do so.

Normally a hotel might give guests a kettle and some coffee/tea, maybe some biscuits, and usually a dining room with menu, sometimes also room service.

By contrast, a self catering apartment/room might have a small "galley kitchen" - for example a fridge, a hob or cooker, or microwave, some basic kitchenware - plates, cups, bowls, cutlery, a sink suitable for washing up, and so on. The self catering facility can be in the room/apartment itself, or a communal shared kitchen facility for all visitors. A galley kitchen isn't large, it fits in the corner of an ordinary hotel room.

We went to Spain some time ago, and the hotel had self catering apartments as well as a dining facility with buffet. We enjoyed the buffet breakfast most days but cooked our own fish and made our own salad from local bought produce, one evening, and ate it on the room's balcony. It was delicious!

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    A self-catering apartment may well have an actual kitchen. – David Richerby Mar 30 '17 at 9:48
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Self-catering is a widely used term. It implies 1) that meals are not provided, but also 2) enough equipment is provided for guests to cook their own meals.

Exactly what equipment is provided can vary. There will be at least a fridge and some way of heating up meals, eating utensils, a table and chairs and somewhere to eat. Most will have a stove, an oven and a microwave. In places like the Seychelles a barbecue is almost universal, and the eating area may well be outside. At the extreme bottom of the price range some or all of the facilities may be shared. At the upper price end the accommodation will have its own well-equipped kitchen. Food is usually not provided, although there might possibly be some basic non-perishable staples like salt or oil.

You should check exactly what equipment is provided before renting.

  • Hah! Can you provide examples of such least provision? Sounds like a fanciful description of any decently pre-furnished apartment. Do such places at least provide a stocked pantry of foodstuffs, or a ticket to aquire them? – can-ned_food Mar 29 '17 at 8:28
  • @can-ned_food Almost any self-catered / self-contained rental accommodation in Australia? – The Wandering Coder Mar 29 '17 at 8:30
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    @can-ned_food, I think it's very unlikely that any place advertised as self catering will provide a stocked pantry for you. It's not uncommon to find some very basic supplies in the kitchen (e.g. salt, pepper, tea) and sometimes there's a place for leftover stocks of previous guests (especially at hostels). But in general you shouldn't expect anything. – Emil Mar 29 '17 at 9:19
  • @can-ned_food Yeah any food provided would be a bonus rather than expected. Least expected would be crockery & cutlery :) — I've gone to self-catering places that have literally nothing, so if not too inconvenient, could be worth bringing your own basics with you when travelling there first, so you have something on arrival. – anotherdave Mar 29 '17 at 11:47
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    Just checked into a Self-Catering Apartment in Praslin and breakfast is provided but there is a common kitchen area with stove, cook-top and cooking equipment for people to cook the other meals. Pantry isn't stocked with anything inline with the expectations of comments here. – Itai Mar 29 '17 at 17:46

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