When traveling if given the choice between a Bed and Breakfast and a hotel, I will choose the B&B every time. Enterprising entrepreneurs own the vast majority of B&Bs. As a small business owner, I automatically bend to mom and pops over corporately owned enterprises. But even if you do not have an allegiance to entrepreneurs as I do, there are some legitimate reasons
EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE
I believe that customer service and attention to detail is heightened when you have skin in the game. Yes, you can get A-level service at the Willard from a well-trained concierge. However, when you have sunk your hopes and dreams, sweat and tears into opening a Bed & Breakfast, the passion and will to go the extra mile is even greater.
My mother a seasoned traveler is partial to her five stars. I recently convinced her to ditch the corporate accommodations for La Villa Riante a charming Bed & Breakfast in Les Visnet, France. La Villa Riante is a quick 20-minute train ride from the heart of Paris. American expatriates Jim and Kristie Worrell own and operate the B&B. The Worrell’s are a perfect example of B&B customer service.
We arrived on a snowy spring afternoon. After wondering through the town lost, we called Kristie and she walked a mile or more in the snow to retrieve us from a municipal government office where we had taken refuge. The next morning, we realized that the metro stop was actually less than a 5 minute walk from the front door of La Villa Riante. I don’t know how many hotel managers would have walked in the snow to retrieve two customers.
Contrary to want some may believe B&B’s are not more expensive than hotels. A quick search of BedandBreakfast.com reveals highly rated B&B’s for as little as $100 a night depending on season and location. In some cases, you actually get more bang for your buck. If hotels offer you any breakfast at all, it is usually cereal, a muffin orange juice and milk. On the other hand, the Breakfast half of the B&B experience tends to be memorable and fulfilling.
Back at La Villa Riante our Breakfast was so filling that it carried us right into lunch. Kristie woke each morning and visited a local fromagerie and boulangerie and provided breads, cheeses and yogurts.
On a visit to Montreal last spring, La Petite Prune owned and operated by Akiko Yamada offered a hearty breakfast and amazing prices. The rooms start at $70 a night.
The third reason you should consider B&B’s is to try something different. Unless you really are staying at the Willard, if you’ve seen one hotel room, you’ve seen them all. For me the excitement of travel is to explore new cultures. What better way to explore different cultures than by sleeping in a B&B that speaks to the culture? My vacations have been improved by calling home - big old brownstones, country farms, Georgian style manor houses, and cityscape condos.
Like all businesses B&B’s are regulated and must follow standards and protocol. Of course as in all things related to travel, you must be cautious and perform your due diligence.