Monday, June 27, 2016

What every bed and breakfast newbie needs to know

Every bed and breakfast lover was at one point a bed and breakfast newbie. The first visit to a bed and breakfast is always the hardest because you don’t know what to expect. You are wondering things like will I have my own bathroom, will I be given privacy, do I have to share a table with others at breakfast? Don’t worry, every bed and breakfast newbie has asked themselves the same questions. 

Ask yourself a few question

First, decided what you feel comfortable with. Do you want a formal Victorian d├ęcor or are you more into modern funky? Trust me, there are plenty of bed and breakfasts that fit these criteria and just about everything in between. Are you dreaming of a posh upscale night or do you want a cozy homey feel? Do you want to feel like you are staying in someone’s home or a more hotel-like experience with staff, not owners?

The Internet is the greatest resource that a bed and breakfast newbie has. Most bed and breakfast have their own website these days. Notice I said most, some still don’t. Does that mean that you have to discount these bed and breakfasts when you are making your choice? Not at all. As we all know, the Internet is a great resource but you also can’t trust 100% of everything you see on the Internet.

When you look at bed and breakfast websites, be sure to read all of their policies, yes there are policies. Pets or no pets, eating in your room or no eating in rooms, breakfast at a set time or on your schedule, and cancellation policy.  The last one is very important, this is not a hotel you are booking. Changing your mind especially last minute will have financial consequences.


A good place to start your research is with the local or state tourism office. You will also want to check with any state bed and breakfast organizations that there are in the location where you plan to stay. Bed and breakfasts that are recommended by the local tourist board are certainly worth considering.

Printed bed and breakfast guides by Karen Brown, Pamela Lanier, AA and also Frommers are worth looking at. They are updated frequently and can give you a starting point for your search.

Now to the Internet. One of the best ways to find out what people are saying about a bed and breakfast is to go to and look by destination. If you are lucky there will be a variety of options for the place where you would like to stay. Don’t let one bad review put you off, everyone has different expectations and yours may be very different from the unhappy visitors.

Answer these questions

Several bed and breakfast websites can be very helpful as a resource to help you find the perfect bed and breakfast. But, you need to know exactly what you think would make a perfect stay.
  • ·  Do you want to have a simple room or a romantic four poster room?
  • ·  Do you expect to have a TV in your room and WiFi?
  • ·  Do you want a full cooked breakfast or is a help-yourself Continental more your speed?
  • ·  Do you want your own private table or will you enjoy the interaction with other guests?
  • ·  Location. Do you want a country stay or walking distance to entertainment?

Once you know what type of bed and breakfast experience you want it is easier to narrow down your choices and find one that will fit your needs and wants.


Here are a few resources that will help you to find the perfect bed and breakfast.

Combine what you see on these sites with the websites for the bed and breakfast and the reviews on Trip Advisor  and you have a recipe for success. 

Things I look for:

A comfortable chair in the room. Especially if you want to work or watch TV while not in bed, it is good to have at least one plush chair.

Bathtub or shower?  I like a deep soaking tub, to me it is part of the B&B experience.

Free parking. This is very important. In the country, it is usually a given but in the city, you need to have safe parking.

What they serve for breakfast. I am a foodie and I want to be impressed. I like one big table, I have met the most interesting people at breakfast.

Whether or not they are family friendly. If I am on a romantic weekend, I prefer to not have children where I am staying. By the same token, if I have a grandchild along, I need them to be family friendly. Many B&B will not allow younger children and it is quite understandable. A crying baby will disrupt everyone.

Understand that cozy is a euphemism for small. If you want a spacious room, it will rarely be referred to as cozy. However, in the dead of winter, a cozy room is a lot easier to keep warm and to keep cool in summer.  Which brings me to one of the most important things you want, individual climate control. You want to be able to keep your room at a temperature of your choosing, not what your hosts think you want.

When it comes to bed and breakfast resources there are many of them. Just remember you won’t be a newbie forever. Before you know it, you will be writing reviews and helping other newbies to pick the best bed and breakfast. You will go from being a newbie to being a resource.


  1. Thanks Shirley, and thank you for reading.

  2. Excellent tips, thanks. We don't always know what to look for, have only done B&B a few times.