I just got a notification from Examiner.com that today celebrates five years as the Boston B&B Examiner. Wow! It doesn't seem that long. It's been so much fun visiting inns and B&Bs throughout the country and telling travelers about the joys of B&B travel. In that time I've had the opportunity to work with BedandBreakfast.com, the leading online B&B directory worldwide. I've also worked with the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) to help plan and coordinate the Better Way to Stay Campaign, a grassroots B&B industry awareness campaign. It's been a fun ride. In that time much has changed within the B&B industry.
Today, 99% of inns and B&Bs have private baths, many offering deep whirlpool tubs, steam-and-multi-jet showers and fireplaces in the bath. I dare say that the bathroom has become the new bedroom at many inns and B&Bs, with plenty of room and amenities to play and relax!
Also, today more than 90% of inns and B&Bs offer free wi-fi connections. Stay at an inn or B&B and forget the charges you find at hotels and resorts. You won't find them at today's inns and B&Bs. You will, however, find everything from computer libraries to i-Pads, i-Pod docking stations and electric car charging stations at more and more inns and B&Bs. Innkeepers are working hard to keep today's traveler connected. In fact, the other day when I called Steve Lambert at the Bernerhof Inn in Glen, NH the voice mail recording listed his cell phone number and suggested that the caller text him if he was needed immediately. That was a first, but I think we'll be seeing more and more of that from innkeepers.
Virtually all inns and B&Bs offer a complimentary breakfast of some kind included with the stay. Your B&B breakfast will vary from a take-out brown bag breakfast for those on the run to one delivered to your room to family-style or private tables served in the dining room to a private affair in bed. Innkeepers take great pride in their breakfasts and you can be assured it will include local and luscious fare sourced from nearby farms if possible. Innkeepers also take great care to provide options for those with food sensitivities. We're seeing more and more gluten-free breakfast options. In fact, the Riverside Inn B&B in North Conway, NH has gone completely wheat-free, and guests love it! The Cranmore Mountain Inn, also in North Conway, offers a full gluten-free menu in addition to its regular breakfast menu. Guests often choose from the gluten free menu if if they do not have a sensitivity to wheat.
Adding to the extras travelers have come to know and love, inns and B&Bs offer plenty of extra treats. The Berry Manor Inn in Rockland, ME, made famous for their pies by the Pie Moms who "threw down" with Bobby Flay and got dirty with Mike Rowe, serves up complimentary homemade pie every day of the year. You'll find plenty of ice cream to top it off in the freezer too! Inns like Captain's House Inn in Chatham, MA, Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, NH and Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness, NH also offer up fabulous afternoon teas complete with sweet treats and finger food - all complimentary with the stay. At Cliffside Inn in Newport, RI, plan on either afternoon tea or a lovely wine and cheese reception in the evening, all complimentary And at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina, it's simply help-yourself to a wide range of snacks, beverages and even complimentary beer and wine. At the Captain's Manor Inn and Palmer House Inn, both in Falmouth Village, MA, you'll find homemade cookies and beverages available for guests from afternoon to evening. These amenities, when added to the complimentary breakfasts, add up to a value of upwards of $100 per day or more when added to additional gratuities and resort fees at the equivalent hotels nearby. Just think. What if B&Bs offered the "hotel package"? Click here to see how that would feel!
What else has changed in the last five years? The Air BnB phenomenon has exploded, much to the chagrin of this Examiner. Unregulated and unmanaged, I fear that these "homestays" give B&Bs a bad rap. I'll choose a licensed, safety conscious inn or B&B any day. And having researched this, the price of the B&B stay is not necessarily different from the unregulated in home stay in most markets.
Once a B&B advocate always one. Look for five more years of B&B stories from this Examiner!