Public and Private Space at the Inn

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10/07/2008

Do you have an area that is cordoned off from guests or guest use? What is the theory on this, I remember an inn that did this as snoopy guests would peer into their quarters all the time.

Have you had to do this? I think it is rot that we would have to darken our windows and have shades closed to stop stickybeaks from stealing our privacy.

Is this something you have changed over time, either opened up more as you felt comfortable or closed off more as you realized you needed either more space or more privacy?

*NOTE TO ASPIRINGS - this is one area as dreamy-eyed aspirings we always feel we can compromise "sure we can share space with guests" but in reality, our quarters tend to close in after a while (since we are here all the time, and don't get the oppty to drive to work, we 'WAKE UP, WE'RE HERE!' )

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Tom
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10/11/2009

Good question to ask.  It is so crucial to sanity to be able to be connected to your guests and then to get away.  When I was aspiring, my mentors made a big point about privacy.  When we built, we separated our traffic pattern from the guests.  It has worked.  We have our own suite, sitting area, laundry, outdoor deck, and (recently) TV for movies (no cable).  Kitchen is open - unless I drop the blinds at breakfast so I can retreat to cook.  Most guests don't realize we live here until I tell them where to find me in an emergency.  We do have a lock on our suite which we now are sure to lock at night after a sleepwalking guest came in once (not a joke).

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02/22/2009

We've been in three B & B's so far. Our first in WV had only 1 room or suite that we rented out and had another 5 bedr/5bth two story home complete with kitchen living room and a seperate room adjacent to the house as a game room. This was optimal because the guests really did not wonder into the other house other than for breakfast.

The second one in AR had a bedroom and den off the kitchen and front of house which had two doors one leading into the kitchen and one leading into our area that we could lock for no guests to venture in after hours. Usually we had no problems until one time we forgot to lock the door leading into the foyer and someone opened it and the cat sneaked out.

This is the best living space we've had other than in WV, we have the third floor which is quite spacy of one bedroom, bath and living room, no kitchen but we have a small fridge and may get a small microwave so that when we have no guests we can just spen time here. we can lock this space up if we want to,but guests have not yet come up here.

But I truely believe that this is one of the most important things in a B & B if they want to sell the place-the Innkeepers quarters need to be nice and spacious cause you do live were you work and if you can have your own "place" you can actually departamentalize the job...not completely but you can try to when I come to our apartment I feel as I am not "working" anymore (ofcourse in truth we are working 24/7).

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10/07/2008

Interesting comments.

Are guests who book cabins/cottage more tuned into the privacy thing? Do guests who want a big historic home more prone to snooping? Could be. Do guests feel cheated when they arrive and there is a private area that belongs to the owners?  Or are they just nosy parkers because they feel they paid for their stay and are able to go where they please, even if it is just to see what is there?

I feel that many times guests don't even use the areas allocated to them, and yet want to explore further.  They are always curious about how "we" the innkeepers live. I remember the lady last Fall who stuck her face RIGHT UP to our bay window in the kitchen, I know she was rewarded with a fright when she saw our whole family staring back at her.  She did apologize later on, but she would do it again, no doubt, at your inn.

So we have to windex nose marks from inside and out our windows it seems. But what can we do, block off the light? No, we can't sacrifice the light, it is bad enough as it is with our dark wood ceilings, both bathrooms no windows. 

Fortunately for all of us, those people are far and few inbetween. When we have the no boundaries guests we know. But you will not EVER go into my kitchen, ever. PRIVATE SIGN, CLOSED DOOR. STAY OUT!  (We have a family, we have children, notice my shotgun by the door!) 


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[quote=Joey Bloggs]

"Interesting comments.

Are guests who book cabins/cottage more tuned into the privacy thing? Do guests who want a big historic home more prone to snooping? Could be. Do guests feel cheated when they arrive and there is a private area that belongs to the owners?  Or are they just nosy parkers because they feel they paid for their stay and are able to go where they please, even if it is just to see what is there?"

Absolutely, guests who book a cottage are more tuned into privacy.  No question about it.  They are willing to pay more because they realize that total privacy is a luxury that is difficult to find with B+B amenities like housekeeping, linens and full breakfast.  Guests staying in the main house also prize THEIR privacy but some do not respect the innkeeper's!  Most mature guests do not feel cheated because there are restrictions on where they can roam. However, there are those PITAs who can't stand the idea that THEY are paying good money to stay in a lovely suite, but the INNKEEPERS may have something even better!  Until they can get a peak at the innkeepers quarters to satisfy their curiosity they can't really be content with their accommodations.

We let all our doors squeek a bit so we can keep track of our guests.  Kinda sneaky, I know!  But it works like a charm to alert us if one of them is trying to sneak into our private area.

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10/07/2008

Heck yeah, even our dog knows which doors squeaks like what, and is on it! 

That was how I found ye old man in my kitchen that day, I heard the door squeak. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN HERE? DID YOU NOT SEE THE CLOSED DOORS?"  

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09/29/2011

After my mother complained about the squeaky hinges on the bathroom door, I went around and greased all of the doors except the ones with the 'private' signs on them. All of the exterior doors have bells on them. (Sleigh bells that hang on the doorknob.)

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08/07/2008

 A guest just yesterday, after I showed him all the guest rooms and common areas, asked if he could see the whole house????  He asked this as he looked at the sign to our area which says "PRIVATE, PLEASE KNOCK".

Um!   I think NOT!

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Silverspoon's picture
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 When we renovated the historic house and put on a large addition as well, we created totally separate living quarters and out-door space for us and our guests.  The 2 guest suites in the main house share an entrance, large common room and hallway with refrigerator.  We keep the door to the dining room closed when not serving breakfast so it provides a buffer between our guests and us. When breakfast is served they move from the living room/coffee-tea service in the living room to the dining room....but NOT into the kitchen.   If they want us at other times there are two closed doors they can knock on, or they can call us. Guests can sit under a large Maple in a wicker settee and chair or they can wander to the private knoll on the back of the property to sit outside in a screen gazebo with a peek at the ocean. We have a "private" sign on the lawn entering our porch area and perennial garden.  If guests want to browse through the garden we request that they ask us to give them a tour so we are not surprised to see them wandering adjacent to our living area.  Most guests respect this...occasionally we are surprised.  We outline public/private at check in and have a welcome folder with map of the property that clearly details their space as guests and ours as owners. Over the years we have found that having it all in writing really helps.  

 

Our ocean-view cottage is totally private.  Guests walk a few steps into the house for breakfast unless they pay extra to have it delivered to them on a tray.  They have a private patio with table/chairs/umbrella for sitting outside.  They love the privacy and rarely intrude on us.

 

We did not sacrifice our own privacy when we decided to run this place as a B+B, which is why we have been able to welcome guests for over 20 years.  We have the use of the dining room when not serving breakfast but in season we live on our private ocean-view screen porch with patio for outdoor space.  Inside we have a breakfast nook/kitchen, living room, laundry, bedroom/bathroom and study.  We have plenty of space and enough privacy so that we do not feel as though we need to be "on" 24/7...although I am ALWAYS aware that there are guests in the house so unless we are empty we are never 100% private.

 At least one nasty guest wrote a review commenting on the fact that we have a fabulous ocean view from our private screened porch that we would not share with them.  Oh well, too bad. There is public land all around us with those views so all they have to do is walk a few steps to sit on a public bench.  We have plenty of private space that is not accessible to nosey guests unless they manage to venture through the closed door of the dining room and through the closed door into the kitchen. Neither door is labeled as private but they get the point and most actually appreciate the high level of privacy that we accord them.  We advertise as being small, quiet and private so those looking for a social inn with lots of off-hour interaction with the innkeeper do not come here.  We do spend lots of time answering questions at breakfast and at check-in but we are not hanging around socializing during the day.  

 

virginia's picture
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06/04/2011

Our apartment has a sign on the door proclaiming "Private Residence" and the first room through the door is our office, so it is not the end of the world if a guest ventures in. Not many do, they call us on '0' if they need something. There is a terrace however that belongs exclusively to one of the luxury rooms, because it is a wheelchair access room the ramp to the terrace has a thick rope across the access because guests from the common room used to wander out and sit on there thinking it was open to all. Since the rope barrier went up, it seems to have stopped the problem. Its never fun having to shoo guests out of a space.

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02/24/2011

We have our room, the living room and the laundry area. The laundry area is unprotected, it's in a guest bathroom with a sign indicating that it's private, though we have seen guests violate our privacy and open it. We have had guests reach in and take towels from there... we now have a sign over the towels indicating that towels taken will be considered stolen. The towels in there aren't actually laundered and ready, they are new and storage for towels to go into circulation, eventually. (Yuck, drying yourself with a towel covered in formaldahyde! Blech!)

For our room, we have an electronic key lock, because we don't want to have a key for our room. We have a name tag on the door so it resembles another guest room and guests respect it.

As for the living room, we have a door and a privacy sign, but we keep it open when we are around so that guests can ask us for help. We don't keep it as spiffy as the rest of the inn, because it's our personal space. We have had one obviously rude reviewer comment on it. We considered closing the door at that point, but I don't see why we should punish others because she was the ultimate in rude!

In truth, we live with little privacy. If and when we have money we may redo the semi-basement and move there. The first step to this end was done this year... we upgraded the heating, because the previous furnace was so loud! Last week I asked MOH what the noise was downstairs and he said it was the freezer.... we had never heard it, over the sound of the furnace.

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Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

we are lucky as you shut and lock one door and it cuts off a whole floor ie the basement which contains the laundry room, breakfast room, kitchen, our flat and it also cuts off the linen cupbards/utility room which is on the ground floor which effectivally means every place I want to keep guests out is cut off in one go but I appreciate that we are lucky! fraid it comes down to a lock on every door unless you have an open kitchen and then you are snookered!

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Joey Camb's picture
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we are lucky as you shut and lock one door and it cuts off a whole floor ie the basement which contains the laundry room, breakfast room, kitchen, our flat and it also cuts off the linen cupbards/utility room which is on the ground floor which effectivally means every place I want to keep guests out is cut off in one go but I appreciate that we are lucky! fraid it comes down to a lock on every door unless you have an open kitchen and then you are snookered!

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10/07/2008

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

we are lucky as you shut and lock one door and it cuts off a whole floor ie the basement which contains the laundry room, breakfast room, kitchen, our flat and it also cuts off the linen cupbards/utility room which is on the ground floor which effectivally means every place I want to keep guests out is cut off in one go but I appreciate that we are lucky! fraid it comes down to a lock on every door unless you have an open kitchen and then you are snookered!

But what about OUTSIDE SPACE? Obv inside an inn there are areas off limits to guests, but what about a small garden area you just want and need for yourself? Maybe you like to garden.  These are not areas you can lock.

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

The only place we've had to put up signs is the laundry room. I put one on the cellar door as well just in case. Our space not so much. The kitchen has been an ongoing battle but barring a bolted door nothing keeps guests out, not signage, not the velvet rope, nothing.

We spent a lot of time discussing the verbiage for 'my space, your space' and it's really stinkin' bad when a guest is so entitled that they have to write a review stating they were not allowed in 'xyz space' and they don't understand why STAFF needs such a nice space to have their break. That is just nasty people right there.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

The layout of my house was perfect for separating ours from theirs and unlike some here, we have only had one instance of intrusion. A guest followed DH into his workshop when he was supposed to just wait for DH to return.

Oringinally, the Library was designated as combo office/guest area. I am beginning to think the crapification of this room crept in as I realized (subconsciously) I really did not want guests in my office area. Once I realized I needed an office area (unshared with guests) I targeted a space but DH will not give it up - it is in HIS workshop. He is not willing to give up some of the equipment he now uses perhaps once in 5 years (and as he gets older - more feeble -  will never use again) or clear a space for me. My late friend told me she thought this room made us more "lived in" instead of a sterile everything in its place. I even have a T A review that says we are a place you feel you can just kick off your shoes and relax....

The dining room and the front porch are the common areas - in season, the porch is a huge favorite place.

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