Monday, May 16, 2011

Top Ten Reasons to Choose a B&B in 2011

Nelson House B & B is one of 25,000 North American B&Bs offering a better way to stay.

Tired of the same old hotel or motel room? Why not choose a B&B? The biggest reason to leave your old hotel behind is… Cha Ching – the added value. Today’s B&Bs are simply a better way to stay for travellers seeking more for their travel dollars. Take a peek at the top ten reasons bed and breakfasts make a better and a more affordable way to stay.

Reason 10: You won't get nickeled and dimed at a B&B. Put the $5 bill for the mini-bar's bottle of water back in your wallet! Research from reveals that more than 92 percent of B&Bs offer some form of complimentary refreshments. At Nelson House B & B, we are happy to brew you a cup of tea or coffee at any time of the day. We offer 24/7 filtered water and ice and in the summer months, we will surprise you with afternoon homemade lemonade or exotic iced teas.

Reason 9: Stay plugged in. Complimentary wi-fi & calls. Say goodbye to that $20 daily hotel fee for wi-fi access. Nearly 90 percent of B&Bs and country inns offer complimentary wi-fi according to surveys. Nelson House has both WIFI thoughout the B & B and a high-speed ADSL connection in the living-room. We also give you free local phone calls.

Reason 8: Great rates! According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII – (pronounced PIE - hmmm...yummy) the average daily rate for B&Bs is consistently below the nearby hotels in every price category. And that does not even take into account all of the B&B included freebies!

Reason 7: When’s the last time you met the owner of the hotel? And when is the last time he or she carried your bag to your room? Pick a B&B and carefully read their reviews. Inngoers rave about the fabulous hospitality and friendship that innkeepers offered during their stay. In fact, for many B&B travellers, the innkeeper was what made the stay special.

Reason 6: Free parking. OK, we’ll admit, not all B&Bs offer free parking, but last time surveyed innkeepers, 95.3% said they did. Nelson House B & B is in the heart of the city. Yet, we give you your off-street parking free while nearby hotels charge as much as $30/nightly.

Reason 5: Character and amenities. So the hotel might provide you with a shoebox room and dinky, heavily perfumed soaps and shampoos that you would never normally want to use anyways. At Nelson House B & B, your room might have it's own fireplace & Jacuzzi tub - usually reserved for the Presidential Suite in a hotel! Then there is our stylish decor, interesting antique pieces, original art, our book and DVD libraries.

Reason 4: Bed is half their name: Looking for great beds?  B&Bs stake their reputation on your good night's sleep. We offer first-grade mattresses, quality sheets and a choice of memory foam or feather pillows and soft comforters at no additional cost to guests.

Reason 3: Breakfast is the other half of their name: Take you and your partner to the breakfast buffet at a big hotel, and you’re looking at $50 just to start the day. Bed and breakfasts all offer breakfast – it’s their signature selling point and half their name. At Nelson House B & B, your room rate includes the best quality coffee and teas, a buffet of cereal, seasonal fruit and yogurt and a daily change of creative, homestyle hot entrees that will be sure to fuel you through your Vancouver sightseeing. Health or dietary restrictions? No problem, let us know in advance and you will receive a customized meal suitable to your needs. No extra charge.

Reason 2: They really will leave the light on! Arrive at 2 AM and there may not be a cheery innkeeper waiting on the porch but you will, nevertheless, always find a personalized welcome! We run a small business and we will be expecting you. Your room will not have been given away to someone else. Innkeepers genuinely care about your safe arrival.

Reason 1: Cookies, yes! Cookie cutter? No. No two B&Bs are alike. As independently owned small lodging properties, each one offers something new and different. No big box look!  B&Bs range from urban chic to historically preserved mansions and homes. Sometimes, as in our case, it's all rolled into one.

For even more reasons to choose a bed and breakfast, please see...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Go Canucks Go!

 We are easy walking distance to Rogers Arena - close enough for Vancouver Canucks fans(or even concert-goers) to use as homebase for a big night out. If you are lucky enough to hold playoffs tickets, staying at a Bed and Breakfast would be a cool way to enjoy the Game, plan ahead to avoid the drive home and most especially, surprise your partner with a very romantic after-party!

Hey -that's something to cheer about ... :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Vancouver's Cherry Blossom Festival

Vancouver has planted one of the greatest collections of flowering cherry trees in the world. The first were gifted by the people of Japan. There, the cherry tree is called sakura and it has a strong spiritual significance to the Japanese. The short lives of its blossoms occurring in the early spring signify the short and well lived life of a human being. I believe that Vancouverites, surrounded by beauty on all sides, have grown to share this same belief.

In 2011, the City of Vancouver celebrates its 125th birthday party. From March 26 to April 22, you are invited to come see, smell, contemplate and enjoy some of the 37,000 flowering cherry trees lining Vancouver's streets and brightening our gardens and parks. Vancouver has over 35 different varieties of these cultivars and the result is a changing sequence of blooms that actually starts in January and goes on into late May.

Come on! Bicycle under the blooms, linger for a picnic, sip some warm sake or hot tea. Compose your own haiku or simply wonder at the beauty of being alive!

Here is some more Cherry Blossom Festival information. Springtime in Vancouver...breathe deep....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vancouver - rated the world's most liveable city!

For the fifth straight year, Vancouver has topped the Economist Intelligence Unit’s survey of the world’s most livable cities. To do so - Vancouver scored 98% on a combination of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

The report's editor Jon Copestake explained that, "Mid-sized cities in developed countries with relatively low population densities tend to score well by having all the cultural and infrastructural benefits on offer with fewer problems related to crime or congestion."

The Top Ten of 140 cities rated is as follows:

1.Vancouver, Canada
2.Melbourne, Australia
3.Vienna, Austria
4.Toronto, Canada
5.Calgary, Canada
6.Helsinki, Finland
7.Sydney, Australia
8.Perth, Australia
9.Adelaide, Australia
10.Auckland, New Zealand

While online commentary is buzzing over the rights and wrongs of these placements, it should be remembered that The Economist was not ranking the weather! Hometown pride is one thing but this is designed to be an objective, fact-based report, sold at $500 a pop, to multinationals that post their executives around the world.

On Huffington Post and elsewhere many Americans were surprised to learn that the top US city this year was Pittsburgh, at 29th place. In terms of "world cities", London placed 53rd and New York 56th. They were apparently let down by low "stability scores" for the perceived threat of terror and rates of petty and violent crime. The top Asian city was Osaka at 12th. At 140th, the bottom of the list, was Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.

As a Vancouverite, I submit my two "thousand words worth" - these two photos, both taken from the same downtown viewpoint today. Enough said.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home...

I am back in Vancouver just in time for Valentine's Day. I am wondering if the B & B still has rooms for the big weekend.

Arriving at the airport at midnight, o-so-relaxed from a month in the Mexican sun, I meet the slap in the face culture shock of returning home. Canada Customs puts their most surly(I hate my job) agent out to welcome me back. She never meets my eye, no smile, but she is full of mumbly irrelevant questions like "Did I travel to Puerto Vallarta to meet anyone?" This girl has just too much imagination and too little sense to be wearing a badge.

Waiting at the luggage carousel, I look up at TV carrying the late night local sports. This is strange because the local TV Sports Guy was actually on the flight from Phoenix with me. Of course, the big-screen is filled with a slam-bang hockey fist-fight, where nobody can land a punch as they grip each other's sweaters and swing around in circles on the ice. A real Canadian Waltz.

Someone just hardly bumps me with their luggage cart and I hear my first Canadian "Sorry!" Regrettably, we seem to use this word as much as Mexicans say "Hola!" Minus the smiles and eye contact.

I make it out to the Airport's Meet & Greet area. I told my husband to go to bed as he had work early the next day. Just warm up the sheets for me, please. I glance around not really expecting to see my Valentine. And no, he is not there. Instead, I meet the eye of BC.'s Premier Gordon Campbell, standing alone, very much by himself in the busy crowd. Like most locals, when he sees me looking, he suddenly has to check his Blackberry. Most of the world doesn't even know Blackberry is Canadian.

I am home.

Monday, January 3, 2011

January is for the birds in Vancouver...eagles, snow geese & more!

Since childhood, I have taken an interest in viewing wild birds. The feeder at the B & B may be marked "bird & breakfast" but honestly, it is a constant battle with the neighbourhood squirrels, cats and raccoons. In December, I put up a hummingbird feeder for the first time and the regular morning visits of a tiny female black-throated hummingbird like this one has delighted me and our guests.

The hummer's visits reminded me that this January marks the 25th Anniversary of the Brackendale, BC., Winter Eagle Festival & Count. This little town, just an hour north of Vancouver, has earned world-wide recognition as one of the greatest congregations of American Bald Eagles anywhere. The eagles are drawn by the annually varying numbers of chum salmon that spawn in the Squamish and nearby rivers. In 1994, a world record count of 3766 eagles was counted on one day along a ten mile stretch of river, outstripping any numbers in Alaska or the "Lower 48". It is truly a spectacular sight to see dozens of those white domes perched in a cottonwood and set against the rugged coastal mountains. I am happy to see one or two nesting and raising their young out at Wreck Beach in the summer!

The winter is also one of the best times to visit the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, conveniently situated 30 minutes to the south, between downtown Vancouver and the border. As our city's shores are underneath the great Pacific Flyway, literally millions of birds follow the west coast in their annual migrations. The Sanctuary offers them 850 acres of managed wetlands, natural marshes and low dikes in the heart of the Fraser River Estuary. For example, visitors can easily view the very large, dense flocks of up to 20,000 Snow Geese which feed, rest and fly over the Sanctuary. These dazzling white birds have flown 4000 kilometres from their summer home in Russia!

Just bundle up, dig out the binoculars and get some really fresh air this winter.