Staying at a bed and breakfast inn (B&B) can be a wonderful experience, but there are potential pitfalls. Before making a reservation at a B&B, it’s important to ask questions to help you decide whether it’s the right place for you.
1. Resident Pets
B&B websites usually indicate whether or not guests are allowed to bring pets, but they don’t always mention resident pets. Like many other people, B&B owners often have pets, and sometimes they allow them in the common areas. Often, the animals serve as greeters to make guests feel more at home. If you have any pet allergies, be sure to ask whether there are any pets in residence. If so, get as many details as possible, such as whether the animals roam freely–even entering the bedrooms–or are confined to a few areas. The answers to these questions, along with the severity of your allergy, will help you decide whether this particular inn is a good match for you.
Many B&B owners prefer to lock the front door at night. Usually, the guest room keys will also work on the main door. In other cases, there’s a security code. Sometimes, however, the owners impose a curfew and won’t allow anyone back inside after a certain time at night. If you plan to be out late, it’s important to know whether your return will be accommodated.
Let your potential host know right away if you must stay on the main floor. However, if you’re willing to stay on another floor, be aware that all staircases are not equal. Even if you don’t normally have trouble navigating stairs, the ones you’ll find in older buildings could surprise and challenge even the hardiest souls. It’s a good idea to ask about any existing stairs, especially if you’re concerned about how steep or narrow they might be.
At many B&B inns, guests can choose their accommodations based on photos available online. This usually works well, but what happens if things change? If you’re choosing a room based on a particular feature, such as a love seat or a king-size bed, be sure to mention that when you contact the inn.
5. Bed Height
Thick mattresses are becoming more common, and this means that the beds are very high off the floor. This poses a problem for shorter people and those who have trouble climbing up and down. The most beautiful room in the world will become nightmarish if you can’t get into the bed. Before making a reservation, ask how high the bed is. If necessary, ask whether a step stool is available in the room.
B&B owners often keep the thermostat low in cooler weather. They make up for this by providing plenty of covers for the bed, including thick blankets and down comforters. If you tend to get cold, and you think you’ll be spending time in the common areas after hours, consider asking how far they turn down the thermostat at night. If you still want to stay there, at least you’ll know to pack warm clothing.
7. Check-in/Check-out Times
Flexible check-out times are great for those who just spent the night there, but what about arriving guests? There should be a limit to just exactly how late the departing guests can stay in the room. If housekeeping can’t have your room ready in time for your arrival, that’s a problem. If your host has flexible check-in and check-out times, inquire about how such a situation would be handled.
Often, you’ll be given a time frame in which you’ll be expected to arrive. If you’re going to be later, you’ll need to let someone know ahead of time. What happens if you get to your destination and no one is there to check you in? Find out ahead of time whether someone is guaranteed to be there to greet you. Otherwise, you could be stuck with a dead cell phone battery–or no service–and nowhere to spend the night.
Before reserving a room at a bed and breakfast, make sure you ask these uncommon questions. The answers could make the difference between a wonderful getaway and a disappointing experience.