Affordable Travel Guide to Bed and Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast and Social Pleasure

Bed and Breakfast

There is one thing we can use as a definition of a B&B establishment: they provide a bed and they feed breakfast to guests. Beyond that, they take many forms of accommodations. Having said that, there are numerous variations on the theme of B&B, as many differences as there are similarities. For our purposes, and to separate them from inns, we are defining a B&B as having four rooms or fewer, and by stating categorically that the owners live in-house, even of they have staff to help run and maintain their B&B.

What Defines a B&B?

Bed-and-breakfast accommodations liken themselves to inns, but they are smaller, often a personal residence with guest rooms. And that’s the point. A B&B differs from an inn by its guests-as-friends-and-family policy. The more apt verbiage might bed R&B, room and breakfast, since the beds are generally in private rooms; B&B sounds more like a hostel than a hotel-style accommodation. B&Bs serve as the main form of accommodations in countless rural settings around the globe where there are simply no alternatives, but they are also mini-inns, sometimes with all the amenities of an upscale inn, together with the price tag.

In general, although there are exceptions, B&Bs offer rooms, with either shared or private or en-suite bathrooms, usually a common sitting area, and a breakfast from basic continental to lavish. Few have telephones in the rooms, but most have televisions and some have internet hook-ups.

The key element that tells you you’re in a B&B and not any other type of accommodation is the social angle to the stay-over. You share some elements (perhaps a bathroom; always a small dining room) with other guests. A B&B is small enough that you’ll inevitably meet other guests coming and going, as you are. There tends to be less privacy, and so social interaction evolves.

Who Favors B&B Accommodations?

The social butterflies among us love B&Bs for their friendly, interactive style of accommodations. You’ll meet people from other places, get to know the owners (and perhaps their children and pets), and feel almost like you “live” there. It’s a superb way to get deeply entrenched in local culture. Some couples think of B&Bs as romantic (they are often located in beautiful settings and are decorated to the nines) and yet others see them as invasive; it depends 100% on how social you are as to how much you enjoy B&B accommodations.

Here are the best aspects of a quality B&B:

  • individually decorated rooms
  • a homey sensibility
  • friendliness and social contact
  • terrific breakfasts
  • engaging hosts that know all the local secrets about where to go and what to do
  • reasonable room rates, although B&Bs have, in recent years, been charging rates similar to inns and even hotels
  • obtaining accommodations in places that are too small to warrant a hotel, or even an inn or motel

As long as you are prepared to be social, like the prospect of meeting new people, and want the directly personal service afforded by such intimate accommodations, a B&B might be for you. For North Americans visiting Europe, or other exotic locales, especially for the first time, this may be the least intimidating form of accommodations you’ll find and the most helpful, especially if language is a barrier. Staying at a B&B maybe be more than a rewarding experience; it may increase your friends list, and bring long-term friendships to share.

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