You may be thinking, “Am I really going to be staying in someone’s home?”
The answer, of course, is yes; very likely you will be staying in someone’s house! A bed and breakfast is a lodging option with the owner living on the premises (or nearby). The owner provides a clean, attractive accommodation plus a breakfast, (usually a memorable one). The host also offers to help the guest with directions, restaurants and suggestions for local entertainment or sightseeing. The B&B host takes a sincere interest in making their guest’s visit a success, creating a personalized kind of accommodation for people seeking an alternative to the anonymous hotel-style setting.
There are as many different styles of B&B’s as there are private homes themselves. When you contact a reservation service or when you browse through B&B listings you will be choosing exactly the type of establishment in which you would like to stay.
Bed and breakfasts are unique in every way—architecture, decor, amenities and the genuine hospitality of the innkeeper. There is no easy way to measure this type of lodging.
There are gingerbread houses, tiny and homey, with two or three rooms available. There are sprawling ranch style homes in the Rockies, multi-storied town homes in large cities. There are farms and cottages, adobe villas, log cabins and even lighthouses as well as many stately mansions, often in the Register of Historic Places. This variety is part of the thrill, the romance and the charm of the B&B experience.
First time B&B travelers are concerned about room-size, bed-size and other amenities. People who normally stay in franchise hotel/motel properties know exactly what they will be getting. Many travelers, however, enjoy novelty and pleasant surprises at least occasionally and this is what has led to the exceptional growth of bed and breakfast accommodation.
Many would-be guests are concerned about privacy. Many B&B’s do offer shared baths but most also have rooms with private baths. Many are “en-suite” or connected to your room. As the bed and breakfast concept continues to develop, the private bath becomes more standard and there are fewer accommodations where baths are shared. If you don’t mind a shared bath you likely will save considerably on your room rate. If you require a private bath, you will find such accommodations plentiful everywhere.
The same is true of conversation. Breakfast can usually be taken in a communal dining area, or some private nook or, if you prefer, delivered to your room. The choice is yours and the listing for the B&B will describe the breakfast service it provides. Privacy and solitude, like sociability and conversation are almost always available in equal measure and can be experienced at the discretion of the guest.
The more standardized our surroundings become, the more attractive the B&B experience becomes. To stay in a Victorian mansion with a manicured garden on a tree-lined city street one night and in a rambling farmhouse complete with ducks and chickens the next, is an antidote to regimentation. Fresh flowers, broad lawns, leisurely, deliciously prepared breakfasts and hosts who pamper you with personal care—this is what awaits those who try the bed and breakfast style of vacation and travel.
Bed and breakfasts are not necessarily for everyone. Standard hotel/motel amenities may not be present. Some B&B’s have a pool but most do not. A large number of bed and breakfasts now offer in-room whirlpools or out-door hot tubs.