Should I Stay at a Bed and Breakfast?

088-IMG_9925.JPG

Maybe! Bed and breakfasts are as different as snowflakes, but with a little research ( which is part of the fun) you are likely to find one that meets your expectations and will give you a unique and memorable experience.

First you may need to decide what kind of getaway you are looking for, and what you prize most in your lodging accommodations, then begin your search.

Do you desire privacy or the opportunity to be social? Are you looking for a unique accommodation or just an affordable bed? Do you need to be able to walk to a downtown area, with restaurants and attractions or is a peaceful and more rural setting more you speed? Are you looking for an historical home or an experience that includes modern conveniences? Are you a business traveler and require a strong internet and cell phone signal or are you business weary and would not mind being as far away from a cell signal as possible?

Is a weekend of romance what you most desire? Many bed and breakfast offer special romance packages so that you can quickly and easily add a few thoughtful touches to enhance your stay and make it extra special. They do the work and you get the credit!

Are you bringing along kids or pets? Be sure to call ahead in advance of making your reservations to find out if your inn of choice has policies in place. Some inns consider themselves purely romantic destinations for couples, only.

When researching your stay, be sure to check previous customer's reviews of their experience on a site such as TripAdvisor. You can avoid disappointment by getting a feel for a property based what your predecessors might have to say. 

DSC_3659.JPG

If you are an international traveler, you may have already recognized that bed and breakfasts vary widely depending on which side of the ocean you are on. Establishments in Europe tend to be more geared toward value travel, while in the United States, the trend is toward a full experience with the luxury traveler in mind. As trends come full circle, we are seeing how sites like AirBnB are showcasing that value travel is still popular and that niche is being filled quickly.

Be sure to check carefully but typically you can expect some wonderful amenities at a bed and breakfast that are unavailable at a typical hotel for the average traveler. First and foremost, you hosts are likely to provide personal caretaking and concierge services, living in the home, they may be your chefs, housekeepers, maintenance superintendents, and gracious hosts all wrapped into one. Bed and breakfast owners take personal pride in the quality of their inn and grounds, and in making sure you have the best possible experience during your stay. If your are travelling with an eye on moving to an area, or need advice on local schools or nearby college, your innkeepers can be your eyes on the ground and give you some personal guidance as to what it is like to work and live in the area.

DSC_3621-1.jpg

They know that you will expect a private bathroom, free wi-fi access, comfortable bedding with high quality linens, and delicious home made breakfast. They also know that you would like a chance to be sociable when you want to and be able to retire to your room or other quiet areas when you aren't up for interacting.

Your innkeepers stay in personal connection with their guests during their stay and over time have developed a keen sense of what is required to keep you happy.  Because a typical bed and breakfast is a small operation, they are able to change with the times and offer a traditional stay for their long time customers while being in tune with the needs of a new generation of travelers coming to visit.

If the bed and breakfast you choose is a good fit for you, you should look forward to having a home away from home. Some guests develop a loyalty to their favorite inn because they have had a chance to make friends with their innkeepers, staying in touch between stays. When was the last time you had that experience at a hotel? Hopefully for you, a bed and breakfast will be more than just a bed and a breakfast!

The costs you encounter for your bed and breakfast experience will vary widely based on location and season. This is true of any travel lodging. Innkeepers are usually eager to be sure they offer a high quality and unique accommodations in commensurate with their rates. In other words, expect to get what you pay for. Do your research so that you are sure you get the right fit for your needs. If you have unanswered questions, most innkeepers are happy to take your calls and clarify their offerings for you. If you are comparing a hotel directly with a bed and breakfast in terms of cost, be sure to factor in additional costs of refreshments, Wi-Fi, and the owner's personal attention to you and to their breakfast service.

My final advice is be prepared to be flexible and open to a new experience. Your bed and breakfast will probably be the most memorable part of your vacation, and if you are willing to make some new friends, you may be in for an experience that will have benefits for years to come.