October 10, 2007
Bed and Breakfasts have been a part of American culture for over 200 years. Loyal B&B guests choose bed & breakfasts as charming, cozy alternatives to impersonal hotels. First time B&B guests are often uncertain of what to expect on their first B&B stay. Here are ten tips for first time B&B goers to ensure that they'll have a delightful time.
Spencer Hotel, Chautauqua,NY
1. Ask Questions: B&Bs are different from cookie cutter hotels, every inn is unique, and this is what makes them special. Some are historic and others are modern, some are quaint and rustic and others are elegant and gourmet. Be sure you are selecting a B&B tailored to your taste & needs.
2. Mention Dietary Needs: Since breakfast is a highlight of most B&B stays, mention any special dietary preference when booking an inn. Enjoy the fact that you are eating a delicious breakfast that the chefs pride themselves in (innkeepers are usually happy to share their signature recipes with you to make at home).
3. Private Baths: Although most inns offer private baths, verify with the innkeepers if the bathroom is shared or private. A private bath is usually in your room, however sometimes it is in the hall exclusively for your use (innkeepers often provide robes if the bathroom is outside your room).
4. Personalized Reservations: Take advantage of the personal service B&Bs want to offer you and ask about amenities, the inn and the area when making your reservation. B&Bs do not have 24-hour reservation offices. If you are making your reservation by phone, call during hours that you wouldn't mind being called yourself and be mindful of time zone differences.
5. Inquire About Handicapped Accessibility: If you or anyone in your party requires an inn that's fully handicapped accessible, check with the Innkeeper beforehand.
6. Ask About Policies Before You Book: Smoking, Children and Pet Polices are different at each inn, so verify them by phone before you make your reservation. Policies not only vary between inns but even at the same inn there may be some rooms that are appropriate for children while the rest of the inn is not child friendly. For all policies, don't assume - ASK.
7. Deposits and Cancellations: Ask about deposit and cancellation policies before you book. Your deposit means you are committing to the inn and they are committing to have your room for you. Since cancellations affect a small inn greatly, they will often result in a forfeiture of your deposit if the room cannot be re-rented.
8. Check In /Check Out Times: Ask about check in and check out times and try and arrive within them. Innkeepers can usually be flexible if you need special arrangements. Since innkeepers are expecting you and want to be there to greet you, be courteous and let them know if your arrival time changes.
9. Reserve Early: Although some inns welcome "walk-ins," all inns prefer an advance reservation and deposit. Since most B&Bs are small, rooms might not be available when you want to visit. If the inn is booked, innkeepers usually will suggest alternate dates or suggest other inns in the area.
10. Make Your Self At Home: Innkeepers are hospitality experts so relax and enjoy your stay! Treat your room with the care you would your own home. You'll know you've picked the right B&B if you feel like a treasured guest and long to return. The greatest compliment you can give an innkeeper is to refer them to a friend.
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