Planning a getaway? Before you start checking the rates at the most popular hotel in town, we have a different idea for you: a bed and breakfast. That's right, stay in a room at the home of someone who knows your destination best.
Most people aren't quite sure what to think of a bed and breakfast. Either they have misconceived notions of the kind of service they'll get and the type of people who run the places, or they just have no idea how these quaint establishments function. The truth of the matter is, bed and breakfasts are different, but in a completely great way. Here are 11 reasons why B&Bs are a unique experience you never realized you were missing out on.
1. You will often pay less than a hotel.
Homeway.com came up with a revealing infographic that compared average prices of hotels and B&Bs in major cities. In New York City, the average hotel charges $217 for a night, while a B&B comes in at around $169. That's almost $50 less a night!
2. Forget your continental breakfast -- at B&Bs, you can get a homemade breakfast.
That delicious-looking pastry is the "famous" pecan sticky bun at Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, Mich. The buns are part of their Champagne Brunch, which also includes apple bread pudding, vegetable frittatas and "Sugar And Spice Popovers." We're pretty sure you don't get anything even close to that at your hotel's sad continental breakfast.
3. Most amenities are free and much better at B&Bs.
How many times have you wished your hotel would at least offer free wi-fi? Seriously, even Starbucks has that. Well, chances are, if you stay in a B&B, not only will you have free wi-fi, but complimentary parking and concierge services, too. Plus, while a hotel concierge might lazily direct you to a kiosk littered with impersonalized (and likely outdated) tourist pamphlets, many B&B owners are seasoned locals with a wealth of knowledge about the locale. Since these people were most likely born and bred in the town, you know they will happily tip you off to the best restaurants and things to do.
4. They are great place to pull off a "staycation" in your own town.
Perhaps you have lived in New Smyrna, Fla. your whole life, but you have never once gone fishing. And maybe you really need to take a quick vacation but don't want to spend the money on plane tickets and hotel accommodations. Well, you could quickly book a room at The Black Dolphin Inn and sign up for the "Mosquito Lagoon Blackwater Fishing Package." It includes a day of fishing with a local guide in the backwater flats and waters of the Indian River. Oh, and a six-pack of locally crafted beer comes as a bonus.
5. A B&B can make you feel like you have transported to a completely different country.
Not all American B&Bs embrace a "quaint Americana" theme. Take The Inn of Five Graces in Santa Fe, N.M.: The 24-suite inn is filled with Afghan and Tibetan crafts and artifacts. Their attention to detail really makes for a uniquely warm, lush getaway without leaving the States.
6. The finer details of B&B rooms go beyond pretty decor and focus on comfort.
At the Blue Lantern Inn in Dana Point, Calif., each of their 29 rooms includes a fireplace to keep you warm and make you feel more at home. Each room also provides a fridge with soda and an in-room Keurig coffee machine. And unlike most hotels, these drinks are complimentary, so no outrageous mini-bar charges.
7. If you want to smoke weed in the nude, there's a B&B for that.
Dale Dyke and Charity Osborn recently opened up an unconventional bed and breakfast called Get High Getaways, in Denver, Colo. The couple told the New York Times that their clothing-optional B&B is targeted towards "marijuana tourists." Their B&B's living room features a camera so guests can Skype their friends when they're high, as well as a 24/7 car service and a hot tub. Osborn says she will even offer patrons her pot-filled "yummies" in the nude, if they so desire.
8. You can sleep on the same bed that a number of U.S. presidents did.
The Rosemont Manor in Berryville, Va. is a 60-acre property that was previously the estate of late Virginia governor and U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Many notable U.S. presidents have stayed at the inn, including Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.
9. You can have your own professionally trained chef cook a personalized meal just for you.
The chef above is David Smythe, the man who would cook your breakfast for you if you stayed at Barclay Heights Bed and Breakfast at Smythe House in Saugerties, N.Y. He is not only a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, but also a professor at the reputable culinary school. He could whip you up something nice, like this beautiful farm egg frittata:
10. If your sleeping experience is uncomfortable, you can fine-tune it at this B&B.
At Stone Hill Inn in Stowe, Vt., if you are not feeling your bed's pillows, you can find the perfect one when you choose one from the inn's "pillow library."
11. Finally, at a B&B, you will get the care and attention you truly deserve.
The service at a B&B goes way beyond just providing you with comfortable lodging for your vacation. The main difference between a bed and breakfast and a hotel is that the owners of a B&B see their patrons as guests, while hotels may see their patrons as customers. Many B&B owners will go out of their way to make sure their home adheres to many levels of comfort. For example, they may have made sure to open their establishment away from loud freeways or roads, and they may allow guests to bring their pets if they want to. In fact, some B&B owners are willing to rent out their whole inn to a group for a weekend so they can have a fun get-together.
And Brett Smith, owner of The Black Dolphin Inn in New Smyrna, Fla. and a third-generation hotelier who was literally born into the bed and breakfast lifestyle, says he holds the mentality that bed and breakfasts should offer a showy and original experience in order to provide the lodger with a "defining" experience. "We focus on initiatives that guests can latch onto so that they create long-lasting memories for the guests," Smith told The Huffington Post.