When I used to travel a lot, I used to be a hotel snob. I would never have thought of staying at a motel or a Bed and Breakfast (B&B). I always assumed a hotel was so much better. Back then I also had credit cards and could “afford” to stay at a hotel. Things are different now; I no longer have credit cards with large amounts of credit available (which is a good thing). I have not only downsized my finances, but also my life. I no longer need anything fancy.
For instance, one weekend my husband and I decided to go to Boston. We had no particular reason for going except that we found a cheap flight and decided to go. I looked for hotels in the downtown area. I found a room for $325 a night and another one for $525 a night in the same hotel. I took the $525 a night room because somehow I assumed it had to be better. It was nice, but I wish now I had taken the lesser priced room and spent the money on other things. According to the pictures on the Internet, the rooms looked identical; we got nothing more out of the more expensive room except a bigger bill. Lesson learned.
Along those lines, I always assumed that staying at a B&B meant staying at someone’s home, using their bathroom and eating their food. None of those things would I care to do with family, let alone with strangers. Then I learned that there are actually six different types of B&B classifications. If staying at someone’s house is what you want, that works because that is one of the classifications. If you are not particularly looking for that, that works too because there are other classifications.
The first classification is the traditional B&B where you actually stay in someone’s guest room and share breakfast with them. I think, that is the image most people think of when they think of a B&B. This is an intimate experience, no doubt, and one that many people enjoy.
The next classification is the farm B&B. This experience includes the chance to lend a hand on a working farm. Many bigger farms have started a B&B component because so many people want to experience “real life on a farm.” Many of these locations are near Amish communities or other rural areas that attract tourists.
The B&B Inn is more like a smaller hotel, then a person’s home. The B&B Inn usually does not have a restaurant but will serve a buffet breakfast for its guests and maybe an evening wine and cheese spread. There is a large, formal dining room where guests can meet. Each room has its own bathroom and feels like a hotel.
The B&B Cottage is the next classification. This is usually a cottage or other outbuilding on the innkeeper’s property, but not connected to their living space. Breakfast is usually not provided as the cottage will have its own kitchenette. This is a great way to get away and still have a lot of privacy.
The next classification is the apartment B&B. This setup usually consists of an apartment-like space included in the innkeeper’s living quarters, but has a separate entrance. This way you can stay in someone’s home without feeling like you are actually in their home. This allows for the innkeepers as well as their guest’s privacy.
The last classification is the unique B&B where themed events are held, such as mystery weekends, haunted weekends, weddings or other themed events. Breakfast is usually included in the cost of the mystery show but other arrangements usually need to be made for dinner.
As you can see there is a classification for just about every taste and privacy level. The reason I mention this at all is because many times the B&B will be a less expensive alternative to a hotel and can be more intimate and personal. As I stated before, if I even saw the words bed and breakfast show up in a hotel listing, I would not have even looked. That is a shame, as I missed out on some very special experiences due to my prejudice. Since those times, I have stayed at a few B&B Inns and have been very pleased with the service, the rooms and the eye for detail many of these locations have.
So the next time you are looking for a place to stay on a business or pleasure trip, please do not discount a B&B. You just have to investigate what they have to offer in relation to what you are expecting. There may be one just right for your needs. One last thought, be sure to check out their house rules. Many B&Bs do not allow smoking or pets for example. Taking an extra minute to check out those things can alleviate any inconveniences. Happy Travels!!