Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Top Bed and Breakfast Myths

"RULE 1: ALL guests must report for breakfast at 6:00 AM SHARP.! Fingernails and shoes will be inspected before coffee."

Do Bed and Breakfasts have strange rules or a curfew? Not by my experience. Sometimes an innkeeper might post a note that is meant to help a guest figure out a light switch or in a rural situation, might warn visitors against throwing too much stuff down the loo. Since both guest bedrooms and the guesthouse' front door are inevitably locked at night, guests are always given keys or codes to come and go as they like. Maybe the idea of a curfew dates back to the guest's own family home or college dorm. The notion certainly doesn't gibe with any B & B that I have seen.

Yes, a Bed and Breakfast may also be the personal home of the innkeeper. Unless the property was purpose-built of concrete, it is certainly very nice if a guest shows consideration and respect for others when coming in late at night. My experience is that guests very quickly take their cue from the ambience that a Bed and Breakfast conveys. If it's an older home, they do usually speak quietly when in the hallways at night and keep the television to a decent volume. On the other hand, if the B & B has a party room, a pool or hot tub for guests' use, well then, relax and enjoy the amenities.

Most Bed and Breakfasts do everything possible to respect a guest's privacy. It's natural as B & B's are often marketed as "romantic getaways". Hint. Hint. Do not worry, the bed has been tested and will NOT squeak. Chances are that the quality of mattresses, pillows, duvets and linens will be top-notch. Toiletries too.

And speaking of amenities - most modern inns/guest-houses/bed and breakfasts offer a bundle of goodies such as free parking and free WIFI, delicious homebaking and of course, an unusually good breakast that would be expensive ad-ons in many hotels.

But will it be clean? Frankly, some people should look under their own beds for dustballs. The vast majority of bed and breakfasts are sole-proprietorships, where the BOSS inspects regularly, takes a hands-on approach to the business and demonstrates pride in his/her B & B home. Would you invite guests over without applying the shine and polish?

And lastly, there is the myth that you will be forced meet people and talk to them. Maybe this one has some truth to it. But you can choose to read a paper at breakfast or just chat with your other half. No pressure. Maybe listen to the flow of conversation and add your two cents after the second coffee. When was the last time that you really enjoyed a free-wheeling and open-minded conversation with new acquaintances or made a genuine, new friend in a hotel? It happens round our breakfast table all the time.

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