Are rebuttals to other advice columns allowed? Well it’s my blog so…I say yes. There was no where to comment on an article’s point of view regarding B&B’s-which is heavily skewed, and I feel something should to be said.
I recently read this post from last month by Julekha Dash on “6 Reasons Why You Should Never Stay At A Bed & Breakfast Again”. You can read the article at this link if you want to: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/travel/g4528/why-you-should-never-stay-at-bed-and-breakfast/
Personally, I found it a hysterical example of poor travel planning. It sounds like she booked her birthday weekend last minute and was stuck with whatever was left. That often happens in towns when it’s season or there is an event that clears out all the best rooms, leaving you with either the really poor star options, or a last minute cancellation as your only room choice. Last minute you don’t get options for King beds vs Queen beds, you get whatever is leftover.
Having worked at a lovely B&B and knowing a few other innkeepers of charming and gourmet B&B’s, I just have to share the other side of the coin for the readers that Mrs. Dash may have turned off. Her experience is not guaranteed at a B&B. You can have a great experience at one too! That is why so many who stay at B&B’s repeat staying at them time and time again when they are back in the area.
Her first point to not stay at one? “The Early Bird Gets the Scones.” Now, I know some B&B’s do a continental style breakfast, but others I know of and have cooked at, serve GOURMET 3 course breakfasts. Decadent plates you would not normally indulge in at home that are worth getting up for! You don’t have to get up too early. They usually ask the night before what time you would like your breakfast and it can often be served up to an hour later than most continental breakfasts at major hotel chains end. Rarely did I see or cook scones as the main breakfast component-but any quality B&B…makes sure they have enough for each guest of whatever breakfast is. These are the types of breakfasts you can see at a gourmet B&B…
Strawberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast
Cajun Eggs with Cornbread, Avocado Relish, and Andouille Hollandaise
Ham Cups with Potato and Green Onion Ebelskivers.
(There are two other smaller courses in addition to these main plates mind you…Do you get this at a regular hotel with unlimited juices/coffees/teas? I think not.)
Her second point? “Akward conversations with strangers over breakfast.” Not necessarily. Most B&B’s are set up with both tables for four and up and tables for two. If you prefer to dine alone or with your partner alone, you are welcome to sit at a table for two. Aside from smiling and saying “Good Morning”, which most people do even in a hotel dining room, you’re not required to engage in conversation at all before your coffee.
Third point: “Where’s My Coffee?” Complaints: Weak coffee. Most B&B’s make their coffee fresh; right when you sit down or just before. They order their beans from nearby or local roasters and you can taste and enjoy a real quality brew, I still miss the coffee at the one I used to work at! Most don’t offer latte’s but the coffee is amazing, and if it wasn’t, I would ask for a fresh strong pot, maybe there was a mistake and most owners will be happy to brew a fresh pot of black gold for you!
Fourth point: “The rooms are from another decade”. Usually you can view the B&B’s room styles in advance on their website. Some people prefer more traditional/classical/victorian rooms, others more modern/country chic rooms. Every B&B is different. If you don’t like the decor, don’t stay at the B&B. At least at a B&B you less likely to worry about your sheets not being changed or the room being properly sanitized. Major hotel chains have been in the news quite a lot lately for this becoming a concern- with hotels rushing maids or maids just not doing their job.
At a B&B…there is a smaller housekeeping team who’ve worked there a long time because they are treated like family. Never once did sheets not get changed for a new guest where I worked…on the contrary I’ve stayed at really expensive hotels and made them give me a new room b/c the sheets were obviously used when I stayed at them! BIG NAME hotels too-not ones you’d expect. Never once would we have done that to guests at the B&B.
Fifth point: “There are few modern amenities.” Perhaps in some B&B’s…again, you can tell a lot from the website. Often there are gas fireplaces, new alarm clocks, free WIFI and great cable packages on the yes… flat screen TVs. None of the B&B’s I’ve frequented had not updated to at least flat screen televisions, Mrs. Dash must have stayed at a more outdated inn. Some have a DVD lending library offering a wide assortment of movies you can take to your room. Afternoon wine, fruit and cheese platters, home-made cookies and a mini-bar of various colas and waters can often be found in common areas and included with your stay at no extra charge.
Sixth point: “They’re overpriced” So are some average hotels in peak season or when events make the rooms scarce. Welcome to supply & demand. It just depends. Don’t forget about those gourmet breakfasts, afternoon snacks/wine and often having built in concierge service. For similar meals and service you could easily pay upwards of $350 at a good hotel just a few blocks from the B&B. In this case, the B&B may actually save you money!
You want to book a romantic dinner at the best restaurant in town? Done.
You want a recommendation for the best ethnic spot for ……? Got it.
You want a romantic package for your anniversary? Champagne/Roses/Chocolate Covered Strawberries/desserts to greet your Beloved upon arrival?It can be provided as a package add-on…basic hotel chains do not provide this service. You need a grab and go breakfast because you have to hit the road at 5 am? They’ll usually assemble one for you so you can grab it and go. You really do get what you pay for.
Some B&B’s may be over-priced and less updated…but that goes for hotels too. Looking at reviews and browsing a website before booking your stay anywhere is advised. Have some people including Mrs. Dash hit a lackluster B&B? Yes.
Have many more stayed at exceptional B&B’s that were priced comparable to the areas hotels and offered more value? Absolutely. That’s why many become repeat guests, staying at the same B&B every time they are in that area. Do your homework, don’t discount all B&B’s based on one experience! If we all did that, we would miss out on some great times…and meals.
Photos taken courtesy of Pettigru Place B&B in downtown Greenville, SC. You can check out their website at http://www.PettigruPlace.com This is the Inn I worked at years ago, great place to experience a wonderful stay! If you’re ever in the area, book it sometime and tell the staff Christina says HELLO 🙂