The Bed And Breakfast Experience

By: Martin Vernon

"The Bed and Breakfast Experience" describes the differences offered by bed and breakfasts compared to hotels. Essentially you enjoy the amenities of a hotel with added personal touches. Someone once described a bed and breakfast as the next best thing to staying with friends. You are even greeted by name! There are no "cookie-cutter" aspects to a stay in a bed and breakfast - each home is as individual as its owners.

There's somewhere for everyone to stay: you can choose from a downtown heritage home, waterfront guest house, country manor house, elegant inn, country cottage, contemporary home, farm or a woodland retreat.

It can be a daunting task to find reliably good quality accommodation when browsing through websites. Look for professional-looking sites: these reflect the qualities of the B&B. They should offer a website availability calendar with easy online reservations as well as a toll-free telephone service. Further, reputable bed and breakfasts often subscribe to organisations with inspection and approval standards. If you book with a bed and breakfast which meets these requirements you should be assured that you will not be disappointed. For example, in Canada the national ratings system, Canada Select, assesses amenities and quality of décor. 4, 4.5 or 5 Stars indicate the best quality.

Business travellers have traditionally sought their accommodation in hotels catering to their requirements. But things are changing with many bed and breakfasts now offering all their business needs free of charge: high-speed wireless internet, desks, telephone, computer and printer. The provision of free local telephone calls, free parking, free movies, free newspaper and free beverages make for savings - and that is not to mention an inclusive memorable breakfast. Themed unique furnishings and comfortable décor help to make the stay pleasingly memorable. There is, or should be, no sense of trespassing in someone's home; privacy is paramount. The days are long gone when staying at a bed and breakfast entailed sleeping in someone's spare room with basic amenities (possibly including a tired shag carpet) and a shared bathroom "down the hall"!

The B&B is typically a private residence whose owners choose to have this business lifestyle because they enjoy meeting people. A high level of service with an attention to detailed is almost guaranteed; after all, their livelihood depends on it. Some welcome families, others pets, whilst others are adult oriented. Your hosts gladly provide insights into the areas tourist attractions and activities, restaurant recommendations as well as tips and local secrets. The inclusive breakfast has local produce, fresh jams, delicious baked goods and mouth-watering specialties.

Many bed and breakfasts are in attractive older homes oozing charm furnished by antiques, while others offer modern crisp elegance and contemporary art. Luxuriate in fine linens on a comfortable bed, soak in a two-person bubbling whirlpool bathtub and snuggle up in armchairs to enjoy the ambience of a fireplace - just the place for a romantic or quiet break. Beautiful gardens are often a feature too for quiet relaxation. Smaller boutique hotels are now incorporating some of the successful qualities of bed and breakfasts into their renovations.

If this is to be your first bed and breakfast experience it very likely will not be your last.

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