A bed and breakfast sounds pretty self-explanatory; a house or cottage that gives you a bed to sleep in, and breakfast in the morning. But as many of us who have stayed in B&Bs, or owned them, we know that there is so much more to them. More private than a hotel and often with more amenities, a B&B is always catering to the specific wants and needs of each visitor.
If you are an avid hotel-goer, and have never stayed at a bed and breakfast, this article is for you! There are a few differences if you stay in a B&B in the US, versus in Europe or other countries, but many are quite similar. Here is just a short list of what you will expect in many, but obviously not all, bed and breakfasts.
The most obvious amenity you can expect is breakfast! Most B&Bs have quite elaborate menus for breakfast, with chefs on site to provide you with a variety of items that change from day to day. In some B&Bs, breakfast is served in one area where everyone eats together. In others, you can eat privately in your room, on a patio or balcony. Make sure to ask about dining arrangements when you make reservations.
Fresh Cooked, Diet Oriented
Because B&Bs have a chef and use fresh ingredients in their meals, it is much easier for them to cater to your dietary needs. Maybe you are a vegan, or you can’t have glucose. If this is the case, let the B&B owner know when you call, and often times meals can be designed specific to those needs. And don’t be afraid to ask; this is one of the defining characteristics that separate a B&B from a hotel.
Wifi and TV
Like most hotels and resorts, B&Bs almost always have wifi and cable TV. Make sure to ask if the wifi is complimentary or an additional fee.
Not as common in older B&Bs, but today’s newer establishments often have outdoor amenities, like pools, hot-tubs, patios, decks, and balconies. Although hotels often have these amenities as well, at a B&B they are much more private because there are fewer rooms and therefore fewer guests. Also expect indoor amenities such as zoned A/C and heat, on demand hot water and ironed linens.
With fewer guests and one on one contact with B&B owners, you can expect to be pampered during your stay. With each B&B having its own unique perspective on what makes each guest feel special, you can see things that range from unique bathroom soaps, to warmed towels for the pool or shower. This is really where a B&B shines; feel free to ask about extras before your stay.
In years past, many B&B establishments did not have private bathrooms dedicated to each room. Often visitors shared baths with other guests, typically having one bathroom per floor. Today, most B&Bs have either renovated their buildings or constructed new ones where each room has its own private bath. Some differences can include a shower versus tub, whirlpool tubs and particular daily items, such as hair dryers and clothes irons.
B&Bs can be located in busy tourist areas or nestled in more quiet small towns. Usually in either setting, local attractions are often a walk away. Fine dining, city sites, museums and other attractions are often close by.
Knowledge of the Area by Owners
It is often the case that B&B owners open their establishments in their own city or town. Due to this, most have extensive knowledge of the area. Whether you are looking for a place to eat dinner, or fun things to do during the day, your inn-keeper can almost always give you advice.
Most B&Bs do not have lunch or dinner for their guests (although a few do) but many will have afternoon snacks, vending machines, or even wine and cheese tastings to choose from. These items are perfect if you’ve been out site-seeing and come back to the B&B for an afternoon siesta. Often dinner during a trip doesn’t happen until late evening, so make sure to take advantage of whatever your B&B offers.
It is becoming more and more common for B&Bs to have bars or at least cocktails available for guests. With outdoor pools and patios becoming more and more common, especially in the south, owners have realized that offering adult beverages is a must. Often this is something that will be listed on the B&B’s website, but if not always feel free to ask the owner.
Lastly, but possibly most importantly, rooms at B&Bs cost close to, or even less, than local hotels. One might think that B&Bs would be more expensive, as the guest list is so small, but keep in mind that the costs of a B&B are much less than a hotel. Fewer guests, fewer employees and smaller buildings all add to the affordability of staying at a B&B.
In our eyes, as owners of the Inn on the Drive, we believe that everyone should take the opportunity to stay at a bed and breakfast. We are certain you will appreciate the private ambience, excellent food, and pampering that come with your stay. It is our hope that afterwards, you will enjoy your stay so much that you will seek out B&Bs for all of your future trips!