Choosing the Best Bed and Breakfast for You

Choosing the Best Bed and Breakfast for You

Ask questions. Visit the bed and breakfast’s website or look in guidebooks, but always call the innkeeper to get unanswered questions taken care of before you book the reservation. Here are some areas you might think about:

If you are allergic to smoke, is the B&B smoke-free? If you are a smoker, are smoking rooms available? If the bed and breakfast only allows smoking outside or off-premises, it is important that you understand that restriction. Some state’s fire law forbids any smoking anywhere inside the B&B. If you must be able to smoke inside, you should choose alternate accommodations.

What is the cancellation policy? It is not unusual for a B&B to require at least seven days notice for a cancellation without charge, and the notice period may be even longer. Some bed and breakfasts charge an administrative fee for a cancellation, regardless of timing or re-booking of the room. B&Bs and small inns generally book specific rooms for specific guests, and do not overbook rooms in order to fill in last-minute cancellations or no-shows, as many hotels do. A cancellation even a day or two in advance often means the B&B will lose the income from that room for the cancelled nights.

What is the room rate? Generally, room rates are quoted without taxes included, and taxes may vary. Be sure to ask what tax rate will apply.

Finding the Ideal Bed and Breakfast for You

Are reservations required in advance? It is always a good idea to call ahead. Some B&Bs require an advance deposit and some cannot accept credit cards for payment. Some bed and breakfasts are not open all year round, so check on availability before you leave on your trip.

What time is check-in? Innkeepers generally do not run a 24-hour front desk, so check-in times may be less flexible than at a hotel. What time is checkout on your departure date? Again, this may be somewhat inflexible, as B&Bs generally have a small cleaning staff, if they have any at all.

B&Bs tend to be individually decorated by their owners with quality furniture, artwork and antiques and are not usually child proof. Well-behaved children are nevertheless welcome at some B&Bs, while some have certain age restrictions regarding children, and some do not accept any children at all. If you are traveling with children, it is always wise to ask about any reservations that involve more than the usual “double occupancy” standard. Parents are responsible at all times for the actions of their children.

Most B&Bs do not accept pets, due to the effect on other guests with allergies. Those that do may have special policies regarding the size of the pet or damage deposits, and the rooms that pets are welcome in. Please let the innkeeper know at the time you make the reservation if you are traveling with a pet.

Most bed and breakfasts will not be “Handicap Accessible,” or will have limited rooms that are, so definitely inquire ahead of time if this is a necessity. If stairs would be a problem, this should also be addressed, since ground floor rooms may not always be available.

Choosing the Best Bed and Breakfast for You

Breakfast is generally included in the room rate—it may be continental (baked goods, coffee, juice) or full (continental plus hot items). What time is breakfast, and what might be on the menu? If you have any diet limitations, like allergies to certain foods or restrictions on eating meat, be sure to mention them to the innkeeper. Most often one entrée is served at breakfast for all the guests, so giving the innkeeper advance notice of dietary restrictions will insure that your breakfast needs are met. Most B&Bs serve you in a dining room at a table or offer a buffet; some may offer breakfast in bed.

While most establishments have guest rooms with private adjoining baths, there are sometimes inns that may have baths down the hall, or even shared baths. Please be sure to ask what to expect if it is important to you.

What size are the beds? If you need a king bed, or two beds, make sure to request them. B&Bs have fewer rooms than hotels, and generally fewer rooms with king beds or two beds. Once you book a specific room, it will be difficult to switch rooms at the inn.

What is available in terms of TVs, VCR/DVDs, telephones and Internet or computer access? Ask the innkeeper to be sure your room will have the facilities you’ll need. Many B&Bs like to help you “get away from it all’ by offering a guest room designed for relaxation and intimacy rather than intrusions from the outside world. On the other hand, if you’re traveling on business, in-room telephone/Internet/TV access may be essential for you.

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