The thought of staying at a Bed & Breakfast is usually the last thing business traveler would consider. In recent years, all I could think about was in-room phones, business centers and WiFi. But recently the thought of getting away from the hustle and bustle has started to sound good. The peaceful, low-key, serenity of a Bed and Breakfast might be just what you need to re-energize for tomorrows round of meetings.
For the purposes of this article we will differentiate the B&B from the more recent phenomenon called AirBnB. And the two are not nearly as closely related as you might think. We will discuss the specific differences in a later post.
What is a Bed and Breakfast
These charming inns date back to colonial times. In the late 18th century, hotels were not plentiful and travelers of that time were looking for anywhere they could find a bed, a possible meal and if they were really lucky a bath. Colonial homeowner soon realized that they could earn income, by allowing travelers to stay in an unoccupied room. To indicate that a room was available homeowners would place sign by the road, stating “Room Available” or “Guests Welcome”.
The Bed and Breakfast has not changed much since Colonial times. Of course the homes are a bit newer, in most cases. But the general premise is the same. A Bed and Breakfast is usually a privately owned home, in which the owner welcomes travelers to stay for a fee.
Bed and Breakfasts will have anywhere from 1 to 4 rooms, perhaps more, and will have a shared dining area. In some cases older B&Bs; will have shared bathroom facilities and perhaps a laundry. The owner or host will likely be you main contact for everything that happens during your stay. It is highly possible that the owner will also be the cook, the cleaning service and the concierge.
Some Advantages to B&Bs
Peace and Quiet. I have found that there is a serene feeling that comes over you the moment you walk into a Bed and Breakfast. Once you get past the obvious lack of a lobby and lounge, you will start to fell more at home than you ever could at a big chain hotel.
These rooming houses tend to be significantly less expensive than their larger counterparts as well, as much as 25% cheaper in some areas. Additionally, the B&B price will include any and all amenities that are provided; there are typically very few up charges.
The food you get at a B&B is…. well its home cooked. The owners are typically so focused on customer service that they go overboard with providing great food. And the rooms are usually as comfortable as the food is delicious. Rooms at most B&Bs; are specifically designed with comfort in mind. The furniture is more like something you would have at home, if not better, and is far more comfortable than the durable assembly line stuff you find in a hotel.
Lastly, with respect to advantages, you will be more “cozy” with the other guests, meaning that you will likely be in the same room much more often than in a hotel. You may not be able to avoid human interaction as easily as you would in a Marriott. Now, that can be a plus for many of us, but it is something that I needed to grow accustom to. For this reason, I will put this in the disadvantages sections as well.
Disadvantages, most of which you can already figure out
Let’s get this out of the way, first thing. You will likely not be able to avoid human interaction for very long at a B&B.
With that said, these establishments are typically someone’s home. So things like check-in times are usually limited. And as mentioned before there is the possibility that you will need to share much more than you would at a hotel, including the bathroom.
B&B operators very often only serve one meal a day and as you might expect that meal is breakfast. Of course every establishment is different and I’ve stayed in B&Bs; that have hot buffets all day long.
B&Bs will not have conferences rooms, although once again, there are exceptions. They will almost always have WiFi, but your options for additional “business related” services may be limited.
In my opinion, you should consider selecting a Bed and Breakfast for your next business trip. If the conditions of the trip are just right, meaning a get up, go to meetings, come back and relax type of business trip, then by all means give it a try.
You will find B&Bs; to be quiet, comfortable, cozy, low-key and if spouse is along, romantic.