If you prefer to stay at hotels when you travel, you may want to consider staying at a bed and breakfast—they can be more like hotels than you would think! B&Bs suffer from a lot of myths with little or no basis, especially among younger travelers. From observations I’ve made via social media, it seems some travelers believe that they have to share bathrooms with other guests and be forced to socialize with strangers over meals.
B&Bs have modernized, and many innkeepers now choose contemporary décor and have added amenities that one would expect at a boutique hotel. Research shows that nearly all B&Bs rooms have private baths now, and nobody says you have to share breakfast with strangers if you don’t want to (though it can be a fun way to meet interesting people from around the world)!
You can find B&Bs across the world, from Morocco to Canada to French Polynesia. In some countries, they are called guest houses or pensions, but they all operate in a similar fashion. B&Bs are located all throughout the United States and come in a wide variety of price points. Whether you want to splurge on a romantic getaway or travel on a shoestring, a road trip to a B&B can be a perfect quick escape.
Here are some of the benefits of B&Bs and small inns:
Your money goes very far at B&Bs. Pricing is generally close to other local accommodations. All B&Bs serve breakfast by definition, and most serve a fresh, home-cooked meal. Some B&Bs also serve dinner, and many B&Bs in the United States have a guest pantry where you have free access to snacks. It’s not uncommon for B&Bs to offer a free wine and cheese happy hour. Most B&Bs have free parking, and the vast majority of B&Bs now offer free WiFi. You won’t get nickled-and-dimed at B&Bs.
At most bed and breakfasts, each room is uniquely decorated with varying amenities. The rooms are often so individual that they have their own names rather than numbers, such as “The Lavender Suite,” “The Porter Room,” “The Library Loft,” and “Jacob’s Lair.” Some rooms have fireplaces, while others have whirlpool tubs. Some B&Bs even have themes; I know of several properties with literary themes with rooms named and styled after famous authors. I have seen B&Bs in former fire stations and train cabooses, in addition to B&Bs operating on boats and located in vineyards. There are B&Bs ranging from very urban to very rural settings.
Innkeepers are passionate about their business and they love the area they live in, and they specialize at making you feel right at home. This is because they are basically welcoming you into their home, giving you a very personal experience (though they know to give you space). Innkeepers are fabulous resources and can give you all kinds of priceless information about local attractions and restaurants. Innkeepers are also often willing to make reservations for you at restaurants and shows.
It’s a myth that you are required to eat the breakfast or share a table with other guests. Some B&Bs have separate breakfast tables, so you don’t have to sit with people you don’t know. But if you’re open to it, staying at a B&B is a fantastic way to meet other interesting guests from around the world. One time when I stayed at a B&B in rural England, we met a fascinating man over breakfast whose job it was to travel across the country and inspect hotels and B&Bs incognito. Another time, at a B&B in Rome, I met an assortment of intriguing international ladies. You never know who you’re going to meet. But remember—you don’t have to interact with anyone if you don’t want to.
Amenities similar to hotels
B&Bs offer amenities that today’s guests want. Guest rooms at most B&Bs have televisions, and more and more are adding free WiFi. Some B&Bs offer robes and toiletries to guests. I have seen a decent amount of B&Bs with pools, and some even have their own on-site spas. In fact, here at BedandBreakfast.com, we have an elite group of properties called The Diamond Collection. All of these inns must meet certain criteria, such as free WiFi, all private bathrooms, 24/7 access to staff, flexible check-in, and a review rating of four or higher on BedandBreakfast.com (out of five). Guests still get the personal experience of a B&B, but with amenities you used to only be able to find at hotels.
Next time you travel, I hope you will consider staying at a B&B!
This is a guest post from Emily Gerson, Marketing & Communications Manager for BedandBreakfast.com, a directory of online bed and breakfasts and small inns around the world.