Before You Stay at a Bed & Breakfast
Staying at a hotel is pretty typical when you travel, though whether you prefer a bargain bed or like to stay in luxury is your own personal choice. But perhaps on your next vacation, you'd like to try something a little different. Bed and breakfasts aren't just for country-loving antique-hunters. You may enjoy a different accommodation experience staying at a B&B instead of a regular hotel. But before you make your next reservation, you should learn a bit more about what saying at a B&B is all about.
A B&B is exactly what it sounds like. You get a place to sleep and breakfast the next morning. This simple description shouldn't give you the impression that B&Bs are minimalist or sparse accommodation. Far from it. Typical B&Bs are small establishments (often within large converted houses) and the rooms can be lavishly decorated. Most innkeepers will take personal attention to you during your stay, something that you won't see in the larger chain hotels.
Breakfast at a B&B is usually a group affair, meaning breakfast is served at a certain time and everyone who is staying there will come to have breakfast together. Check beforehand to find out what kind of foods are served. It's fairly common for a sizable and home-cooked breakfast to be served (with eggs, pancakes, fresh baked goods and more) but there are some places that have a much smaller menu. Ask ahead so you are not disappointed.
If you are not a social person, you may not enjoy the group atmosphere. Don't let that deter you. It's generally good manners to let less-talkative people alone and not force them into conversation. You may learn about nearby attractions though, by chatting up other people staying there. You could discover all sorts of new sites, so don't pass up the chance to get to know your table buddy.
Because you are only served breakfast, people tend to get the feeling that B&Bs are for single-night stays. Not so. You should be able to book your week-long vacation at a B&B with no problems.
Another common misconception about B&Bs is the country atmosphere and lack of amenities. One particular point of concern is the idea of the shared bathroom. While this arrangement certainly exists in some B&Bs, it's not the norm and you should not assume that all B&Bs have this set up. Many inns do offer private washrooms directly off your room. And not all bed and breakfast inns are dolled up in Victorian or country-kitsch style.
Though the small size and limited meals may imply that staying at a B&B is a choice for the bargain hunter, don't be fooled. Yes, you can find many small inns that will cost you less than larger hotels, but it's not guaranteed. The personal attention, large and well-decorated rooms and home-made food can add value and cost to your B&B stay.
So you should now be a bit more comfortable with the idea of staying at a bed & breakfast, and can maybe try something new next time you are planning a vacation.