Is Bed & Breakfast Inn Travel for You? 37 Ways to Know
UPDATED & REPUBLISHED SEPTEMBER, 2021
Hello my lovelies!
Personally, I still don't believe it's a good idea to travel, with Covid being what it still appears to be according to the news. So let's take a little "armchair travelers" trip together on my blog today, from our own cozy homes, shall we?
But first, let me ask you if you've ever considered this ...
Is Bed & Breakfast Inn travel for YOU?
My husband Steve and I have stayed at nearly 70 bed and breakfast inns in 17 U.S. states since 1987 and we love this m.o. of travel, but we feel it's not for everyone. Over the years, I've been asked countless times why we love inns so much and we have also been asked many kinds of other questions related to inns too. So, I thought I'd address some inn pros and cons and ins and outs, (sorry, couldn't resist the pun!)
NOTE: The bed and breakfast inns I am talking about here are small businesses, usually in historic houses, with the homeowners or innkeepers living and working on site and tending graciously to guests. They are not rentals of someone's home bedroom, entire private home, or casita in their backyard that some sites call "bed and breakfasts" today where the homeowner may, or may not, live or be on site while guests are staying there. Just to clarify.
IMPORTANT: The intent of this post is only to have a fun "armchair traveler" read here from your own home so as to be safer during Covid. But should you decide to actually travel to a bed and breakfast inn in person during Covid, please use caution, just as you would staying at a hotel during the pandemic. Call any inn that you might be considering and make sure you understand their specific Covid policies; do not rely on their website for the most current information as inns are small businesses with lots to do to provide you a wonderful stay, so their website may not be current due to staffing challenges and added cleaning responsibilities etc. during Covid.
DISCLOSURE: I am not being paid to write about or to link to any of the inns below. They are just examples to make my point.
Like us, you might enjoy inn travel too if you ....
2. Prefer smaller and quieter lodging instead of large bustling resorts or hotels or mega cruise ships. (And don't mind no swimming pool usually, but some inns do have a pool.) Example. Another example.
3. Are longing for a cozy and/or elegant romantic getaway or to celebrate your anniversary or other special occasion in a beautiful, and usually quieter, place. Inns will often give you a special gratis treat if you let them know it's your anniversary or birthday etc. Example.
4. Are not planning on taking your young children with you. Some inns welcome children, but some do not allow kids at all or have a minimum age restriction. Be sure to ask in advance. Our opinion staying in so many inns is that they are not places, ordinarily, that kids would really enjoy all that much anyway as there is little for them to do. (Unless maybe they are introverted bookworms who like sitting in a fancy antique chair quietly reading for hours on end.)
5. Want to get married or spend your honeymoon in a quiet, romantic, beautiful place. Many, but not all, inns host weddings and allow or require you to rent the whole inn for your wedding. Be sure to ask too when you book if there's a wedding as you might be the only guests who are not part of the wedding fun, and it could be nosier that night too. Inn wedding venues.
6. Prefer a "one price for everything" mode of lodging since often a gourmet breakfast, afternoon wine & cheese, sodas, coffee and tea, on-site parking, and free wifi are included in the price.
TIPS ABOUT COST: When you add it all up, most inns are a great dollar value overall in our travel opinion, because many amenities are ordinarily included in one nightly price. But yes, prices have increased in the last few years. If you're on a tighter budget, but still want to try an inn, don't fret, because you don't have to spend $350 a night; you can still find a cozy homey style inn for much less if you search diligently online, depending on the location. Another example. A wonderful example. Many inns offer one or more smaller rooms, (usually best for singles), at a much lower price than other rooms. And they often offer seasonal prices that are much less too. Sometimes inns give discounts for multiple-night or repeat stays too so be sure to ask. Also, mid-week stays are usually less too. In Arizona, if you're a resident, discounts can be had for that too. Ask in the state you live in or in the states you plan to travel to. Add it all up and I think you'll see that inns are wonderful stay for the money spent! That all being said, I value what inn owners do so much to provide comfort for their guests that I usually take along a greeting card in my suitcase and write them a thank you note with a nice cash tip for their hospitality. Sure, I've already paid for the room, but I may have received a perk or discount, plus I like to be extra appreciative too so this is a nice way to say an extra thank you, I think.
7. Want to get great decorating ideas so you can turn your own bedroom at home into a "bed and breakfast inn." (If you'd like to see all our own at-home bedrooms where we did that as we have moved all over the U.S. during our careers, sign up for my DIY Cozy Resource Room at the bottom of this page and you can access those pix and my tips article on that topic.) I have really enjoyed "collecting" great decorating ideas from our many inn stays that I have easily applied at home on our everyday dollarwise budget, with my hubby's great handyman help. Some inns not only give you great decorating ideas just by observation, (take your journal or camera!), but they have clever room names too. Once when we re-decorated one of our own bedrooms at home we named it "Villa de Petite" in honor of our inn stays and I made and framed a little sign with the name on it and hung it over our bed. Such fun! :) This is another thing I love about inns and their owners: abundant creativity!
8. Enjoy a delicious hot homemade gourmet breakfast served with elegant china, silver, etched glassware, and fresh flowers. Oh, and a view. Romantic! Did I mention beautiful gourmet breakfasts?! (Don't expect this during Covid though. It may, or may not, happen. Ask in advance.)
9. Like a "sitting room" style lobby with books, classical music, and helpful binders of places to visit in your area.
11. Feel comfortable chatting with other guests over breakfast around a big table. Some inns serve this way but others have many smaller tables if you prefer it to be just the two of you at breakfast, and some inns offer room service, or breakfast on the porch or patio. Or in your room. (Covid update: I see many inns are now delivering a boxed-breakfast to the outside door of your room for no contact, so as I already mentioned, don't expect the regular communal dining-style-sit-down-breakfast with china and crystal if you do decide to travel to an inn right now. )
12. Like a small lodging setting in an often-historic neighborhood with beautiful manicured yards and gardens and views and/or with easy walking distance to a small historic downtown. Example.
13. Enjoy learning the interesting history of the home or building as most inn owners love to tell you the tales of the history of their properties. The historic tales are usually VERY interesting! As are many innkeepers. (Sadly, not all the house tales are happy ones as this inn owner's family experienced the former Spanish flu pandemic in 1918. That inn survived though and is, I would imagine, a haven during this pandemic, over 100 years later!)
14. Enjoy friendly and accommodating innkeepers and owners who have often traveled the world themselves so they are often very interesting people who are great at conversation, resourceful, generous, and kind-hearted in giving you good local travel tips and offering personalized service. Innkeepers are usually "people-people" who like serving others. Amen.
15. Love to imagine you're "stepping back in time" to a more gracious era. (Me too!)
16. Love a mint on your posh pillows. On a silver tray. (Raising hand here!)
17. Want to be pampered and feel like "rested royalty" for even just one day! (I'm not sure that real Kings and Queens rest much, with all their royal duties, but you can at an inn!)
18. Like to support small/local businesses, especially family-owned businesses where all the family talents are used. We like patronizing small and local businesses, including inns.
19. Might want to, or have to take your pet along and need lodging that allows pets. Ask before you book; some inns do and some inns definitely DON'T allow any pets AT ALL so you don't want any surprises, and I'm sure your chic Fido would much rather stay in a comfy inn Puppy Palace than sleep in your car! :)
20. Want a quiet, comfy, and safer lodging place to retreat to as a single to work quietly or just rest. Writers and artists love to retreat to quiet inns! Another example. And another. (Raising writer-hand here!)
21. Want a Grandma-and-Daughters-and-Granddaughters reunion getaway. Or maybe you just want a Girlfriends Getaway or a "Mancation." If you want quiet as a guest though, you might ask before you book if there are any groups staying there as that could get noisy.
22. Want to take your Granddaughter somewhere special to celebrate an event in her life and model for her how to be an old-fashioned "lady" who loves Victorian Tea Parties and tales about The Titanic.
23. Like being surprised by lodging variety and decorative flair, rather than stay in cookie-cutter chain lodging that's usually similar decor wherever you travel.
24. Like the option of dinner on-site as fine dining in the inn's dining room. Many inns increasingly offer this now, or will serve you a romantic dinner for two even in your own inn room. Ask before you book as sometimes you need reservations as their dining room is open also to non-inn guests. Amazing example with a view. Another amazing inn dining experience.
25. Like cozy and elegant add-on packages/enhancements when you stay somewhere, like: rose petals on your bed and a bottle of champagne, afternoon tea, packaged picnic for two, wine and cheese tray brought to your room, couples massage, and on it goes! Bliss. Example.
26. Would like staying in a more private cottage or carriage house that's located on the same property as the larger main-house inn as part of a lodging "complex." This is increasingly common, and a good idea for a working retreat. Example. Another lovely cottage.
27. Prefer non-smoking lodging. Most inns are non-smoking or only allow smoking outside in a certain area, but some do not allow smoking even outside anywhere on the property. And should you get caught being a smoky-naughty, you will likely be charged handsomely for an extra cleaning fee. Be sure to ask before booking! And please be courteous to fellow guests and inn owners. (Spoken here by someone who is extremely allergic to tobacco smoke of all kinds, so I, and your lungs, thank you for not smoking.)
28. Want to stay somewhere very special to celebrate Christmas! We did this on Christmas Eve here many many years ago and loved it. The magical sun room was especially beautiful at Christmas, viewing the fresh white Iowa snow while sitting next to the twinkle light Christmas tree inside. Example. Take an inns Christmas tour! Or go to fun inn jail for Christmas! You and all the "repeat offenders! (Have I mentioned inn owners are clever and creative? Well, this inn owner gets my award for that! Clever. Very clever.) :)
29. Love big-soaking-tubs. (Oh, heaven to me!)
30. Prefer to elope! Or you want a "micro-wedding." Great alternative to expensive weddings. If Steve and I were marrying today, we both agree that we would choose a "just us" wedding at an inn, complete with dinner, room, ceremony, cake, and elegant add-ons for a beautiful, quiet, private memory. Or maybe you want a "mini-moon!"
31. Want to renew your wedding vows.
34. Think you'd like to buy an inn one day or be an innkeeper. Steve and I have been asked many times if we'd ever like to own an inn since we have stayed in so many. No, in all honesty. We just like to stay in them because if we owned an inn, we would be busy 24/7 running the inn as a business, so we wouldn't be free to travel. Plus, we'd never want to take on a million dollar business loan (or more) to run an inn either. Our preference is to live simply at home and travel to inns and enjoy them that way.
36. Think it would be fun to stay in an inn lighthouse.
37. Think it would be fun to stay in an elegant inn treehouse.
I hope you enjoyed these varied inn links and it gave you something to ponder!
On our personal bucket list for Arizona inns to consider visiting in person in the future: Sheridan House Inn near the Grand Canyon, Canyon Villa in beautiful Sedona, AZ, Heritage Inn in the mountains of Snowflake, AZ, The Blenman Inn, Tucson, AZ. I'm sure we will find more to add to our possibilities list! :)
"One's homesickness for heaven finds at least an inn there; and it's an inn on the right road."
Happy armchair inn travels,