We looked at several homes, one in particular was very smart and 'stylish' in the communal areas but converted from a hotel, miles of corridors to the rooms, etc. and would have been totally unsuitable for my mother, though they were quite willing to take her (at a hefty price). Stylishness was absolutely at the bottom of our list - my mother did not give a toss whether the place looked like something out of Homes and Gardens - homely and comfortable was far more important.
At my mother's stage of AD we felt a specialist dementia home was best - staff are trained to deal with it and relatives of other residents are not so likely to make objections if anyone is shouting out/being difficult, or things go missing, as they are bound to when you've got people with dementia helping themselves to whatever they fancy.
Having said all that my fil went into a 'mixed' home - we chose it because he was still fit and active and would have gone mad (he was going mad with rage anyway on and off) anywhere he was locked in - which was every other home we looked at. That home was wonderful with him - I will always be grateful to them. But my mother never wants to go out of doors, and never did even when she was at home, so although they both had pretty bad AD by the time we finally went down the CH route the 'musts' were rather different.
So much depends on the individual and the 'feel' of the home. One that looks so good on paper may not feel right when you go to check it out, and somewhere that maybe looks a bit shabby may have just the right atmosphere. FWIW we are pleased with the Abbeyfield and I am profoundly grateful that they happened to have a room available
when the crisis finally arrived - i.e. the point where we simply couldn't put the decision off any longer.