Monday, December 4, 2006

Selecting a Bed and Breakfast

We would like to share some thoughts and advice on how to select a Bed and Breakfast.
The first thing you should ask yourself is what are you looking for. Bed & Breakfast's, like most other business come in all shapes and sizes, and offer many different services. You need to stop and ask yourself, "Am I looking for a cost effective way to travel, or am I looking for a memorable experience?"

If you are looking for cost efficient lodging then take a look at smaller "Mom & Pop" establishments. Often these B&B's will be more like bunking in with family. These B&B's usually have a couple of extra bedrooms that they rent out to travelers, but for the most part you will be welcomed into their daily household routine. As is the case with all Bed & Breakfasts these business's should offer comfortable lodging and basic amenities.

If it is a memorable experience that you are looking for look for a property with ‘wow’ factor. Most patrons will start browsing B&B's in a local area by photo's found on the internet. That is a good place to start your search. When you find a home that makes you say "Oh I would love to live in a house like that, then you should explore them further and see what kind of services they offer. One of the fantastic things about B&B's is that they offer guests an opportunity to stay in homes that are different from their own. Whether you are looking for a quaint cottage, a unique historical mansion or a hip and cool urban setting you can usually find them, and many more that will offer B&B services.

Secondly think about your budget. If you want cost effective lodging look for the quaint family style operations. If you are organizing a special occasion like your anniversary or engagement plan on splurging a little. Think about it this way, if you wanted to stay in a Super 8 motel you would expect to pay certain amount, but if you were looking to stay at the Ritz you would be in a completely different price range. The same goes for Bed & Breakfast's. The thing that makes B&B's more appealing than a hotel experience is that you will have the opportunity to explore the local lifestyle with the assistance of a well educated host that should be willing to cater to your own personal needs.

Once you have decided upon a price range start to think about the amenities you require. Are you willing to share a bathroom with other guests or would you prefer a private bath or en-suite? Do you need a king size bed, or will you need separate twin beds? These are just examples of where to start your inquiry.

Other tips to help you with your selections are:

Contact the owners either by e-mail or by phone. You will be staying in their homes so you will want to make sure that you gel with the hosts. A host should be informative, friendly and knowledgeable. They should be willing and eager to offer information about the local events and area as well as answers to any questions you have about their own property and services.

Guest reviews are also important when choosing a B&B. Trip Advisor is a great resource for guest reviews, but keep in mind that their rating system is a popularity index not a star rating system. Therefore the number one placed property isn't necessarily the fanciest B&B in town. It is simply the one with the most recent postings. Look for a property with multiple reviews that offer advice that you find appealing.

So having said all of that it all boils down to a few simple ideas.
Decide on a price point.
Chose the type of property you are looking for and the amenities you require.
Look for informative and congenial hosts.
Refer to the advice of past patrons.
If you keep these simple steps in mind you should be able to find a property that fits your budget and helps to make your vacation memorable.

Good luck and happy travels