A Bed and Breakfast (often referred to as "B&B") is an accommodation that really just modernizes the age-old, world-wide practice of travelers staying at a private residence or boarding house, with a full breakfast included. Local knowledge of the host family is a tremendous asset as typically there are just a few rooms and personal contact is greater than in a hotel setting. Often the bed and breakfast is a converted old stately residence with the owner's family acting as staff. Bed and breakfast traveling has a loyal following as many find that they get a "home away from home" experience, often with better value than with hotel stays.
In developed countries today, providing deluxe bed and breakfasts has been raised to a sort of art-form. At the top end, B&Bs obviously compete mainly on two main things: bedding and breakfast. Accordingly, at the finest such establishments one is apt to find the most luxurious bedding, maybe a handmade quilt or an antique bed. Breakfast may include seasonal delights of the region or the host's specialty dish. Breakfast might be served in bed. The setting might be an historic old building with antique furnishings, manicured grounds and a swimming pool.
On the other hand, almost anyone can set up a spare room and provide a breakfast. Especially where lodging is not regulated, anything is possible. Indeed, some travelers might find an inexpensive basic, clean room and bed to be the best value for them. Many of the same advantages could apply--such as convenient location and good hosts sharing knowledge of the locale.
A wide range amenities may be provided. B&Bs may offer workshops on cooking, crafts, or wellness. Packages for theatre, golf, dinner, tours or adventure tours are sometimes offered.
Bathrooms may be shared with other guests or "en-suite"--directly accessed from the room and private.
Choosing a bed and breakfast
Somewhere in Thyme - Ohio, USA
Some considerations when choosing are:
What are you getting? While many B&Bs are luxurious, they range all the way to sub-bargain. Find out what you can expect. What bed sizes are available? Are the pillows foam or down? Is the bathroom shared? What is the breakfast selection like and is it included in the price?
Location, location, location. Research the area first. Is the location convenient to the attractions of the area? If you will be using public transportation, is it nearby? Is the neighborhood safe and aesthetically pleasing?
Pets. Do the hosts have pets? Dogs and cats are not uncommon. Are guest pets welcome?
Children. If you are bringing any, make sure they are welcome. If you don't want any around, make sure they are not.
Non-smoking (or smoking) rooms? Is it a smoke free environment?
Ask if your special dietary needs can be accommodated.
Are advance reservations required? What is the cancellation policy?
What are the check-in/check-out times? Typically B&Bs have a stricter policy than a hotel.
Is there a minimum stay?
Usually, a Bed & Breakfast is owned and managed by an individual. If you cannot speak to someone you know who has visited there, visit first, or a call to the owner would be a good idea. Ask about the property, and the kind of visitor they normally attract. Some offer "specialties", like horse back riding, gourmet dining, and weddings. Some cater to older people, sexual preferences, or other niches. They will appreciate your call and likely send you information on their facility and the area. Don't be shy, ask your questions.
Offerings for Bed & Breakfasts vary from castles to inexpensive rooms close to fishing or hunting camps. All of the furnishings and at times, sport equipment provided, are the property of the lodging owner. In these times of digital photography, it is not uncommon for the owner to photographically inventory the room prior to your occupancy. Make sure anything you remove from the room or property is in plain sight before leaving. This will prevent the items being billed to your credit card. You do not want to pay $350.00 for that cute 18th century ashtray.
Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), 207 White Horse Pike, Haddon Heights, NJ 08035, toll free: +1-800-468-PAII (7244), +1-856-310-1102, (fax: +1-856-310-1105), .
Select Registry, 501 East Michigan Av., PO Box 150, Marshall, MI 49068, toll free: +1-800-344-5244, +1-269-789-0393, fax: +1-269-789-0970, (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), .
'Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast Association', (888) 575-1610 | Fax (616) 575-0270, (email: email@example.com), . Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast Association represents the finest Inns and Bed and Breakfasts in the state of Michigan. The organization represents over 210 members found in 140 cities all across Michigan. Their unique and charming bed and breakfast accommodations, with a warm and professional hospitality, provide for memorable vacations and getaway weekends in the well-known cities and resort towns, as well as the beautiful and less-traveled countryside.
Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast members are reviewed by a representative of the association review board. Michigan Lake to Lake believes that the most important standard for Bed and Breakfast innkeepers and their staff is friendly, personal, warm, and conscientious attention to guests. Other requirements include insurance, record-keeping, professionalism, maintenance, decor, safety, and security.