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To B or not to B&B
by Marti Mayne
To B or not to B&B? That is the question for many first-time inngoers. Fearful of too many rules, teddy bears, dolls with bulging eyes, and being forced to make small talk with guests or the innkeepers, many B&B never-evers have been jaded by unfortunate and improper views portrayed in the media. Let’s try to clear up some questions and offer ideas for when B&Bs actually are not the best option.
When to B&B – three reasons to choose a B&B
1. If you seek the unique. No two inns and B&Bs are the same. There are an estimated 25,000 inns and B&Bs in the U.S. and Canada and like snowflakes no two are alike. For those looking for unique decor and individualized attention, B&Bs are for you. No cookie cutter, white washed designs here. You’ll find unusual artwork, antiques, and one-of-a-kind furnishings in each room. No two rooms at the B&B will be alike and no two B&Bs will be alike. A surprise behind each door.
2. More for your money. Breakfast? Got it – hot, hearty and healthy each morning at 99-percent of inns and B&Bs. Late night or afternoon snacks? Plan on it from 75-percent of inns and B&Bs offering everything from the bottomless cookie jar to coffee and drink stations, guest pantries and more. Some inns and B&Bs also offer afternoon tea or evening receptions with wine, hors d’oeuvres and more. Best of all, it’s all included in the cost, so put away the nickels and dimes…or should we say $10s and $20s you’ll need for the infamous mini-bar and breakfast bill at the hotel, and enjoy plenty of extras included in the price at a B&B.
3. Plan to plug in. Unknown to many B&B first-timers, you’ll find complimentary wi-fi at more than 95-percent of inns and B&Bs. Surveys have shown that anywhere from 96-percent to 98-percent of inns and B&Bs offer free wi-fi to guests. Increasingly, you’ll find guest computers and printers, iPod docking stations and TVs in every guest room at inns and B&Bs. In fact, more than 75 percent of innkeepers recently polled by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International reported they offer TVs for guests. A new trend we’re seeing more and more are inns and B&Bs offering guests complimentary use of iPads. Some even come equipped with customized apps offering itinerary planning and more. Yup – all included in the cost of the stay!
When Not to B&B – three times hotels make sense
1. Creatures of habit are advised to stay away. For those who don’t wish a surprise behind each guest room door, choose the hotel option. There you’ll find guest rooms which all look alike throughout the hotel and throughout the chain. While beds might be heavenly, you will quickly grow used to the look and feel when you travel.
2. If the mini-bar is your friend, plan to choose a hotel. You’ll find plenty of $5 waters and $15 cans of almonds, and if you’re traveling on an unlimited corporate budget, this means that raiding the mini-bar late night for that $10 mini-bottle of Sutter Home works well on sleepless nights too.
3. Got loud, active kids? Choose a hotel. The hallways are much longer for them to run and play. There are more doors at hotels on which to knock and wake guests up, and the beds are undoubtedly much more fun to jump on. Hotels are a virtual playground for very active children, who love to collect all the bath amenities each and every day. While some inns and B&Bs are geared toward kids – especially farm stays and ranches – be sure to ask about the amenities for active kids at the inns and B&Bs of your choice.
For great ideas of a better way to stay, visit www.betterwaytostay.com.
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