Monday, February 20, 2006

Inns and Bed and Breakfasts – Are They For Everybody?

Here is a the answer to a question that I am often asked. Please welcome my guest author Cliff Calderwood.

Inns and Bed and Breakfasts – Are They For Everybody?

By: Cliff Calderwood

Inns are a delightful alternative to hotels and resorts. They can be just the right ticket for your vacation, providing you understand how they work and function.

Are they for everybody?

No, they're not. But here’s the answers to some basic questions to determine if it’s the type of accommodation that’ll work for you…


Let's start by clearing up any confusion on the differences between inns and bed and breakfasts. And it's not so much in the name as how they advertise themselves.

Firstly, there's no difference in accommodation. The charm of a bed and breakfast can be every bit as good as the personality of an inn. The difference is the prepared meals. A bed and breakfast is just that… expect a bed and a breakfast, but you're on your own for dinner. But at inns, they're set-up to provide dinner as well, although it's usually an option, and not included in the quoted price. The listing will be very clear if dinner is offered. But assume its just bed and breakfast if nothing is mentioned.

In many areas of the world inns and bed and breakfasts are also called guesthouses.


When an inn says kids are welcome, then you'd better believe they really mean they're kid friendly. Now there's nothing wrong with that (I have three myself), but don't expect too much piece and quiet and solitude.

You'll find a number of listings that put age restriction on children. For example they'll say something like: 12 or older, or above 6-years old. They're not being mean. It's just these places are also catering to a single or couple looking for a chance to unwind and free of noise and high activity. If you've got high-action kids then bed and breakfasts may not be ideal for your family.


Staying in inns is very different than staying at a hotel. You shouldn't expect a country inn to be like a Sheraton, with hordes of staff at your beck and call, and soundproof walls. Also, having a party and playing loud music after 11:00pm won't win you any brownie points with your host or the other guests.

Remember... the innkeeper or host is there to provide you, and other guests, with a unique experience in unique surroundings, but to do that they'll need your understanding.


Your host will go out of their way to greet you when you check-in. Usually when you reserve you’ll be told when their normal check-in period is. But most can accommodate you arrivals outside those hours.

But you need to let them know if you’ll be late so they can arrange for you to get into the house (yes, the doors are locked after a certain hour), and to your room. It’s one thing to show up at midnight at your hotel – they’re staffed round the clock - but it’s entirely another matter to roll-in after 11:00pm at an inn, and expect your host to get out of bed and greet you smiling.


You bet you can!

Just like hotels the room rate for inns is negotiable. The main difference is unlike a hotel, the person on the other end of a phone is usually the owner of the bed and breakfast, and they can make the decision on the spot. All you have to do is ask in a nice way.

Just remember the innkeeper may only have a few rooms to begin with anyway, and if your haggling over the last room then don't be offended if it’s no dice on a price reduction. But on the other hand one room of a four-room inn without a paying guest reduces a host's profit by 25%. So it's always worth asking for a reduction!


Off-peak travel will save you a bundle.

Most inns can book their weekend's months in advance. But filling the rooms during the week, particularly off-season, is much more difficult. You'll get the best deals for bed and breakfasts traveling mid-week and out of season. Now contrast this with hotels that have the opposite problem, because they cater to the mid-week business traveler, but can't get people in rooms at the weekends.

I love staying in inns. They have a lot going for them. Inns are usually very affordable, offer tons more variety than a bland hotel roomArticle Search, and are a great way to meet fellow travelers or vacationers. You’ll find web sites devoted to inn and bed and breakfast listings now – so crank up Yahoo or Google and get searching… and saving!


Cliff Calderwood is the owner and contributing writer of This is adapted from a longer article on inns, and you can read the full article and get a free downloadable copy of his complete travel guide at

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Parkview Bed & Breakfast

This week I have a new renter on my blog. You can visit "Life My Way" by clicking on screenshot in right hand column. Bozette has a great blog, so stop by and visit her at "Life My Way". Since my renter is from Wisconsin, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about a Bed & Breakfast in that neck of the woods.

The Parkview Bed & Breakfast is located in Reedsburg, WI in the heart of the historic Park Street district. This Queen Anne Victorian home was built in 1895 and features four guest rooms. The rates range from $75 - $98 per night according to their web site: Parkview Bed & Breakfast. There are activities near by such as biking trails, canoeing, state parks and of course a visit to one of the two cheese factories not far away.

If you know of other great Wisconin Bed & Breakfasts please leave a comment.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

More Bed & Breakfast Tips

Here's a few more tips to make your Bed & Breakfast experience more enjoyable.

No Front Desk
Remember, unlike a hotel or motel, most Bed & Breakfasts do not have a front desk. In fact, there may be times when there isn't even anybody on-site to help you. So it's a good idea to let the inn-keeper know when you plan to arrive so they can be there to greet you and make you welcome.

Handicap Accessibility and Dietary Needs
Keep in mind that many Bed & Breakfasts are not handicap-accessible. Be sure to ask the inn-keeper about this if it is a concern. It's also a good idea to let them know about any special dietary needs you may have.

Not Very Many Rooms
Some Bed & Breakfasts may only have 3 or 4 rooms and often there is a shared bath. Don't forget to inquire about private baths if this is an issue for you. On the other hand, because there are just a few rooms that be to your advantage. Just think if an inn-keeper only has 4 rooms and there are three rooms empty when you call for a reservation, he may be in a negotiating mood; after all, 1 room equals 25% of their profit!

Get To Know Your Inn-Keeper
In my experience, all of the inn-keepers I have come across have been very friendly and helpful. They usually have a love of the area that they are located in and can be a wealth of information to you. Be sure to stay for 2 or 3 nights and you will have a chance to get to know your hosts and meet the other guests.

Please leave a comment and be sure to share your Bed & Breakfast stories with us. You can also send me an e-mail about your favorite Bed & Breakfast.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Valentine's Day is Almost Here

Do you need a fresh, new idea for a gift for Valentine's Day? Need to put some romance back in your relationship?

I posted about this before, but I'm sure some of you still haven't figured out what to do for Valentine's Day; so here it is again.

Instead of the usual dinner or box of chocalates try booking a romantic get-away at a Bed & Breakfast. No matter where you live, chances are you can find a quaint little Bed & Breakfast not far away. Use the directories in the right hand margin of this page to search in your area. Many of these Bed & Breakfasts will feature special Valentine's Day packages.

It works better if you keep this a secret and just wisk your partner away on Valentine's Day for a surprise. Of course you have to remember that this year the holiday falls in the middle of the week, so you may have to skip work for a day, but it shouldn't be too hard to convince you of that!

Most Bed & Breakfast owners are very friendly and willing to go the extra mile for you. When you are making the reservations, ask them about area restaurants or romantic things to do close by. They may even put flowers, champange or chocolate in the room for you too.

Most important of all is this. Remeber, Valentine's Day is all about the romance. Be sure to leave your laptop, pager, and cell phone at home!

Let me know if you try this and leave a comment here telling us all about it.