Why Stay at a Bed & Breakfast

B&B or hotel – are they created equal?  Many of you who have never stayed in a B&B before might wonder what this trend is all about.  Some of you might be die-hard B&B travellers and swear by them.  So I thought perhaps it is time to compare the two options and see which one comes out on top.  Who better to help me with the task than Maria?  So once more we gathered round the well used dinning table over a steaming cup of java to compare the two…here’s what we came up with.

  1. Fixed or Flexible Arrival and Departure Times: If you have a fixed itinerary with arrival or departure times that might be outside of normal business hours, you may find the 24 hour capabilities of a hotel are better suited to your needs.  While B&B owners try to bend over backwards to meet the needs of their guests, they also have to balance the needs of other guests in their homes.  Sometimes noise considerations may limit their ability to accommodate late night arrivals or early morning departures.  Having said that, if your arrival and departure times are more flexible – you might like to try the friendly and casual atmosphere offered by B&B’s.
  2. Anonymity or Looking to Mingle: Sometimes you want a getaway to include a getaway from people.  Maybe you are looking for a quiet and intimate couples retreat, or maybe you just need to recharge in isolation.  While I wouldn’t suggest B&B’s don’t offer tranquility and the opportunity to recharge, or a beautiful environment for a romantic encounter with that special someone, they don’t provide the anonymity of a hotel.  B&B’s are a great environment for a little chit-chat with others who might share similar interests and to get some great tips on how to enhance your getaway as you exchange traveller reviews over breakfast.  Certainly the environment is one which fosters a community of travellers and many friendships have formed at the breakfast table.
  3. Standardized Accommodations or Unique Architecture and Décor: As a former business traveller herself, Maria can appreciate the value of standardized accommodations.  When your travel arrangements and business meetings include an ample amount of unexpected change, it is often nice to know when you check in to the hotel brand of your choice the service you receive is one that you are familiar with.  When traveling for leisure however, Maria encourages you to try the novelty of a B&B.  Given you are staying at the home of your host, B&B’s offer a variety of styles, décor, environments and personal touches that you probably won’t experience at a hotel chain.  In fact, getting to know your fellow B&B guests as well as your hosts is probably the most rewarding element of a B&B stay and may become the highlight of your trip!

Of course, like hotels, there is a wide range of accommodation and services offered at B&B’s and Maria encourages you to do a little research in advance to ensure you are selecting a B&B that suits your style and expectations.  Speaking to the B&B owner is a great way to learn about the property as well as visiting websites, like Trip Advisor, that allow visitors to post reviews.

We’ve just highlighted a few of the differences between a hotel stay and a stay at a local B&B.  Perhaps you have some you would like to share?

Tips for First Time B&B’ers

Many of the guests at Maria’s B&B have actually never stayed in a B&B before, so I sat down at the dinning table with Maria to ask her about a few B&B do’s and don’ts. Here are some of her tips for those of you new to B&B etiquette.

  1. Be sure to arrive on time or let the B&B owner know when you might be arriving if outside of the posted check in time. Remember, unlike a hotel, you are staying someone’s home and they likely need to run errands like the rest of us.
  2. Observe the check out time and try to stick to it. Like tip #1, the owner needs time to get ready for their next guests and while you might be on vacation time, they probably have a tight schedule to get all their chores completed before welcoming their next guests.
  3. Food allergies? Be sure to let the owner know in advance if you have any special dietary restrictions. Most B&B owners will go to great lengths to accommodate allergies or dietary restrictions but you can’t be sure that substitutes are always kept stocked. It is better to let them know at the time of booking and then confirm on arrival. Letting them know that you are allergic to eggs as your omlette is set in front of you is not a great way to ensure good relations.
  4. Make yourself at home, but not too at home.  B&B owners are proud to have you enjoy their home and are pleased when you make yourself comfortable in the space provided – afterall, that is the benefit of staying in a B&B.  However, it can be a fine line between making yourself comfortable and encroaching on their private space.  If you aren’t sure – just ask!  The owners will let you know what areas are reserved for their personal use.
  5. Need something – ask.  The charm of staying in a B&B is that it is a personal residence.  As such, if you find yourself in need of something it is likely the owner has what you need and is happy to lend it to you.  But please ask; no one likes to know their kitchen drawers have been rifled through if only to borrow something as innocent as a pair of scissors.
  6. Introduce yourself.  When you see other guests at the B&B, be sure to introduce yourself.  I know many of us are a bit shy until we know we have common ground to talk about, but hey…you do!  You are both staying at the same B&B.  And aren’t interesting conversations wtih other vacationers the reason you choose to stay at a B&B?