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Archive for the ‘Innkeeper Advice and Musings’ Category

First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Breakfast Etiquette.

July 6th, 2011 by abedofroses

Table setting

Table setting at A Bed of Roses

This is the latest in our series, First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?

Breakfast etiquette is also different at a B&B. Unlike a hotel restaurant, the small staff at a B&B dictates specific times for service and limitations on how many different dishes are available. Many B&Bs have one or two set seatings and all the guests are served the same meal. Sometimes there are multiple courses and preparation takes a great deal of time. Preparation may even begin the night before. Please let your host know in advance if you will not be there for breakfast! There are few things worse than preparing a gourmet meal that you have to throw in the garbage! If breakfast is served at a set time, please be there on time. It is inconsiderate to make the other guests wait for your arrival while the food gets cold. Most innkeepers will serve at the appointed time whether you are there or not. They have no way of knowing when or if you will arrive, so they may or may not try to keep your breakfast warm for you.

It is also very important to notify your innkeeper as soon as you are able if you require a special diet. Most B&Bs are glad to accommodate dietary restrictions, but this takes planning. The best time to let them know of dietary requirements is when you make your reservation. We also ask guests when they check in if they just don’t care for some foods. We want to give you a meal that you will rave about, but we can’t read minds. If you don’t care for waffles or onions, we want to know about it!

Breakfast at a B&B also calls for being considerate of the other guests. One of the treats of staying at a bed and breakfast is meeting and eating breakfast with all sorts of other people. It’s not like an anonymous hotel or restaurant. It’s best to use common sense when engaging in breakfast conversation with other guests. Like a family gathering, no one wants strife while enjoying a meal together. Almost always, breakfast is an enjoyable social event and many times it’s hard for us to get our guests to leave the table and let us clean up!

Look for our next installment on the dos and don’ts of staying at a B&B: Whispering and tiptoeing around the “museum”!



First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Should I leave a tip at a B&B?

June 27th, 2011 by abedofroses

Inn Housekeeper

Should I tip the maid?

This is the latest in our series, First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?

Tipping is a touchy subject for some people. The unwritten rules about who to tip and how much seem incomprehensible at times. Sometimes it seems like every time you turn around someone wants a tip! Who gets a tip at a B&B is pretty clear though. Innkeepers and their family NO, housekeepers unrelated to the innkeeper YES, if deserved! Here is why:

Innkeepers are the owners of the business and the proceeds of the business are their reward. Tipping your innkeepers is not expected and in many inns it is prohibited. Your best reward for a good experience in a B&B is a good online review and recommendations to your friends.

Tipping the housekeeper is another matter altogether! Find out if your innkeeper hires help to clean. If so, the same tipping guidelines apply to staying at an inn as they do in a hotel. Housekeepers work behind the scenes, before you arrive and after you leave as well as tidying up your room during your stay. They do backbreaking work and are at the low end of the pay scale. Like waiters and waitresses, tips are an important part of their income and can make a big difference in their lives.

How to leave a tip and how much should you leave:

Many inns that hire housekeepers allow them to put out envelopes in the rooms for tips. If you want to tip a housekeeper, never just leave cash or change out on a dresser for him or her without labeling it clearly as a tip for their service. A maid has to be very careful about taking money out of a room, even and empty one. If an envelope hasn’t been provided, ask your innkeeper for one or use a folded sheet of plain paper clearly labeled.

How much do you tip? That’s the hard part. In practice it varies widely and is at your discretion. Most hotel guidelines indicate that maid’s tips should be about $3-5 per night for a luxury hotel and $1-2 per night for an average hotel. Most B&Bs these days fit into the “luxury” category. If you were not happy with the cleanliness of your room, by all means, you are not expected to tip for bad service! On the other hand, if she went above and beyond, getting extra amenities or towels for you or going out of her way to make you comfortable feel free to leave a little more. Some guidelines say tip daily, since the same housekeeper may not clean your room every day. At our inn, the housekeeper puts the envelope out on the last day of your visit.

Look for our next installment on the dos and don’ts of staying at a B&B: Breakfast etiquette.




First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Reservations and Cancellations

June 20th, 2011 by abedofroses

This is the latest in our series, First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?

Proper Manners

Proper Etiquette at a B&B

People considering a B&B for the first time usually have lots of questions about what to expect. They also have lots of questions about what is expected of them! A Bed and Breakfast is not a hotel, but does that mean that you should act differently than you do at a hotel? There are a few differences that you should take note of.

Acting with courtesy and respect should, of course, be your guide wherever you’re staying. That goes for your innkeeper as well. They should treat all of their guests as they would like to be treated when traveling, respecting their privacy and doing their best to fulfill guest requests. At the very least an innkeeper should ensure a safe, clean and comfortable place to stay. They should also ensure that their policies and expectations are clear and stated on their website and/or in their rooms. Inn policies usually involve things like check-in and check-out times, smoking (almost always prohibited), cancellations, or whether children or pets are allowed. When you make a reservation at a B&B you make a commitment to abide by those policies!

Most of the differences between behavior in a hotel and a Bed and Breakfast have to do with size and the fact that you are probably staying in someone’s home.

When making a reservation by phone, remember that not all inns are large enough to have front desk staff. The person taking your reservation most likely is the same one waking up before dawn to prepare your breakfast! It is considerate to not to call late in the evening or during the time that your host is serving breakfast to his or her current guests.

This is also why check-in and check-out times may vary from a regular hotel. It is especially important at a B&B to try to let your innkeeper know what time you are arriving. They plan their day according to their guests’ arrival and departure times. Late arrivals can be difficult for an innkeeper since they start their work-day so early in the morning. Of course, sometimes late arrivals can’t be helped, so be sure to call the innkeeper if you are unavoidably delayed or your circumstances change. They will appreciate it tremendously! Be sure to check out by the designated time as well. This not only allows the housekeeper time to prepare your room for the next guest, it allows your innkeeper the time to do whatever errands need to be done outside the inn before check-ins arrive! Many inns will allow you to leave your car there while you continue to enjoy the area on your last day. They may even allow you to leave your bags in a storage area for pickup at a designated time later in the day.

Read the inn’s cancellation policies carefully. When you make your reservation you are agreeing to them. Unlike a large hotel, B&Bs cannot easily absorb the cost of last minute cancellations or no shows. They may have turned down many reservation requests in order to ensure that a particular room is there for you. They can’t shuffle people from room to room as they show up, like a hotel where all the rooms are identical. Beyond the financial burden of a “no show”, the innkeeper may have skipped important events or waited up late at night for a guest that doesn’t show up or have the courtesy to call. Innkeepers have their own lives including errands and responsibilities, including those to their families and other guests.

Look for our next installment on the dos and don’ts of staying at a B&B: Do I need to leave a tip?






Inn Cats – Nadia and Sasha celebrate a Memorial Day Birthday!

May 30th, 2011 by abedofroses

Sasha & Nadia in the window

Sasha & Nadia

Nine years ago today Bill and I raced against time to get from Boston to Salem, MA to adopt 2 kittens before they were taken home with someone else. We had dutifully mourned the passing of our beloved 19 year old Niko, a long haired Tortoiseshell, for a full year before thinking of adopting a kitten again. By the time we were ready, we were surprised to realize that cats had their litters in the spring and the shelters were empty. We called every week to see if they had any kittens to adopt and finally a litter of three arrived in the Northeast Animal Shelter. A breeder of Himalayans had given these to the shelter because a long-haired tabby intruder had ruined their chance to sell the kittens.

Sasha our inn cat

Sasha as a kitten

The three kittens showed their personalities from the start! We wanted female cats and struggled with the decision to take the two girls, but not their brother. Luckily he was claimed while we were still there processing the adoption. We took Sasha and Nadia home and thinking that they were too tiny to handle the stairs in our big Victorian house, we kept them in the bedroom suite for the first day. When we finally opened the door they literally flew down the stairs at breakneck speed to explore. We never underestimated them again! Sasha, the affectionate laid back one, went blind in the last couple years. We’re not even sure when because she never missed a beat, adapting so seamlessly to her new situation that it’s only when she gets excited that she will bump into something and reveal her disability. We worried that moving after 8 years to another, totally different, big Victorian house would be a difficult adjustment for a now totally blind cat. NOT! The owner’s quarters are way too small for Sasha. She can’t wait to get to the “big house” every day. And Nadia, always a social cat, loves to loudly greet people at the door demanding that they acknowledge her as queen of the house. She may try to jump right in your suitcases if she likes you! Two more perfect inn cats we could not have asked for. Happy Birthday Nadia & Sasha! Go to our Facebook page to see more pictures of our birthday girls.


First Time at a Bed and Breakfast? What are the amenities like at a B&B?

May 13th, 2011 by abedofroses

Jacuzzi in the Turret Suite

Jacuzzis and plush robes

This is the latest in our series, First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?

People considering a B&B for the first time usually have lots of questions about what to expect.

One of the most common questions is “will I have my own bathroom?” Over 97 percent of the time innkeepers provide a private bath in some if not all rooms, according to PAII, the Professional Association of Innkeepers International. 94% of all Bed and Breakfast rooms have private baths. In fact, many inns have luxury items such as Jacuzzis, like we do at A Bed of Roses. The inn’s website should indicate whether a bath is shared or not and don’t be shy about asking. Each room at a B&B is likely to have different amenities, including the size, shape and type of bathroom. Premium branded toiletries are almost always provided in your bath as are robes. Some inns even offer their luxurious robes for sale.

“Can I get a king-size bed?” Each inn and each room is likely to offer different choices. Those furnished entirely with antiques, like ours, are unlikely to have king-size beds. They just didn’t exist in Victorian times. Most antique beds in B&Bs have been modified to be able to accommodate queen size mattresses. Many inns furnished with reproduction antiques or new furniture will offer king-size beds. Most inns will offer luxurious bedding and linens. The room photos will give you a hint of what is to come. The bedding should look inviting and plush.

Fireplace at A Bed of Roses

Curl up by the Fireplace with a good book!

Your room will most likely have a TV, and some sort of internet connection. Nearly 90% of B&Bs offer free wireless internet according to BedandBreakfast.com surveys. At A Bed of Roses, we provide free WiFi throughout the house. Or you may just want to curl up by the fire. Many inns, like ours, have fireplaces in the rooms or in some of the common areas. Books, magazines, newspapers and board games are commonly available, as are brochures, menus from area restaurants and maps.

B&Bs come in all different sizes and architectural style. Typically they have 4 to 11 guest rooms, with 6 being the average. Inns and B&Bs are frequently historic properties with unique architecture, adding to the charm and variety of the amenities. According to PAII 36% have some sort of historical designation granted by historic preservation organizations. Your inn may have a story to tell!


First Time at a Bed and Breakfast? What Can I Expect at Breakfast-time?

April 21st, 2011 by abedofroses

Spring Breakfast Tarte

Asparagus Tarte- Tell us if you don't like asparagus!

As promised in our April 10th blog, First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?, here is the Breakfast Edition!

A B&B is not a hotel and it is also NOT a restaurant. We think that’s a very good thing. At a bed and breakfast the morning meal is the main event! We pride ourselves on providing a gourmet start to your day. Every B&B is different in how they approach breakfast so don’t be afraid to ask your innkeeper what they provide. Most provide a full meal rather than a continental breakfast. Some serve buffet style where you come down during a certain time range and help yourself. Some serve family style at a set time with one table and plates are passed around. Others, like A Bed of Roses, provide a plated, multi-course breakfast served to you at the table at a set time. Depending upon the size of the inn and their staffing, there may be multiple “seatings” or a single set time for breakfast. We prefer a single seating at 9AM so that all the guests eat together and we can give them our full attention. Some inns have several small tables that feel more restaurant style and provide you with privacy at breakfast. Most will seat all the guests together at one large table like we do here. For us, at A Bed of Roses, that’s where the magic happens! People of all different ages come from all over the country with all different backgrounds and they sit down at the breakfast table together and it just comes alive with conversation and laughter. Watching the breakfast table is definitely our favorite part of being innkeepers!

“But what if I have plans and can’t eat at the set time?” Check with your innkeeper about what they are able to provide. Some may be willing to provide you with an earlier continental breakfast or may be able to give you coffee and a muffin “to go”. You will most certainly see on the website when breakfast is served so you can plan accordingly. As a point of etiquette, please do tell your innkeeper as far in advance as possible if you will not be joining them for breakfast. They plan their meals well in advance, shopping for what they need for a certain number of people and may even start preparing your meal the day before.

What about the food? What can you expect, if it’s not a restaurant? You can almost always count on a wonderful breakfast. That’s what we’re known for! Some B&Bs do give you a choice of breakfast entrée, but most are not equipped to cook individual meals for each guest. We try to vary our menus to appeal to most people, but communication is the key! On most websites, when you make your reservation they will ask you if you have any food allergies or special needs. This is very important information for the innkeeper to have when planning the week’s menus! Most inns are glad to prepare food that complies with special diets. Don’t be afraid to put down things you just don’t care for either. You don’t have to have a medical condition for your innkeeper to prepare a breakfast you will be able to enjoy! We are here to give you a memorable culinary experience and will be more than glad to plan our menus around your likes and dislikes. Again, planning is the key and it can be tricky planning a menu around multiple food allergies or preferences, so please let us know as early as possible if you have a special food preference or need. The night before is probably not going to be early enough for your innkeeper to accommodate your special diet.

What will the amenities be like at a Bed and Breakfast? Stay tuned for the Amenities Edition!

First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?

April 10th, 2011 by abedofroses

Inn furnishings

A quiet corner at A Bed of Roses

First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?

We consider ourselves very lucky that so many of our guests are experiencing a B&B for the first time. We get to be ambassadors for the whole bed and breakfast industry! We also get to hear first hand how surprised and delighted first timers are with the experience.

This is the first of a series giving tips, advice, and overall information to help you make the most of your first time staying at a bed and breakfast or small inn. You’ll find that once you’ve stayed in a bed and breakfast you’ll never want to stay anywhere else!

“… A Bed of Roses was our first B&B experience and we loved everything about our stay. The breakfasts were fabulous and we appreciate your hospitality and attention to detail.”


Mooresville, NC

What can you expect at a B&B?

A bed and breakfast is NOT a hotel, and that’s a GOOD thing! When you come to a small inn all the rooms are unique with different amenities and different rates. If you call an innkeeper and ask “What are your rates” you are often in for a long explanation and a list of numbers that seem to be all over the place! The inn’s website will almost always have photos of the different rooms and list their rates, so even if you prefer to talk to an innkeeper in person, going to the website first can give you a good starting point. You will know which rooms appeal to you, which ones are more expensive than you want or have that special tub or sitting room you need or would just love to have. Then the innkeeper can answer any questions and give you a “feel” for the place.

The common areas and rooms are often furnished with antiques, fine linens and bedding and are decorated beautifully. Unlike a hotel, where furniture and even art is the same in every room in every city, every room will have different décor and many of the things around you are not easily replaceable. You are a guest in someone’s home.

Yes, most innkeepers live somewhere on the premises and the inn is their home. Having the owner/innkeeper on the premises is one of the things that makes staying at a bed and breakfast special. How many times has the owner of a big hotel greeted you at the door by name? The innkeeper will pay attention to the little details that will make your stay special. Even though the owners live in the inn and take personal pride in the home, it is an industry standard for innkeepers to have separate living quarters from their guests and there is never any reason to feel you are intruding upon their private space. Most innkeepers choose to mingle with their guests in the common areas, but when they want privacy they have their private quarters, just as you do as guests. We value our guests’ privacy. All rooms in our B&B have private baths and private doors with locks.

What about breakfast? A B&B is also NOT a restaurant and we think that’s a good thing too! Stay tuned for our “Breakfast Edition” on what to expect at your B&B when morning comes around.