Tried and True

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All who have been on this forum or to innkeeping conferences have heard talk of, or experienced new ideas.

Is there something in your life as an innkeeper, the way you operate or present your inn, that is tried and true? Is there some old time tradition you retain?  A breakfast food that just can't be beat?

Does your hospitality and elegance play out like a fine tuned machine, or was that a well oiled machine? Whatever the saying may be, what have you had from day one that you feel is worthy of retaining, and continuing and passing on to your guests?

  • China instead of coffee mugs?
  • Tea leaves instead of bags, or a tea pot instead of a cup with a tea bag?
  • 100% cotton linens instead of wrinkle-free poly-mixes?
  • Afternoon tea or an evening sherry?
  • Posies in the rooms?
  • Real feather pillows?

Not wanting anyone to feel superior, but at times the ideas keep coming, and it is nice to see what works, what we hold onto, because we feel it is valuable to either us, our guests or our inn.

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gillumhouse's picture
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Posted in the wrong place.

Generic's picture
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Just saw this today. This are a bit like the ones that I use for USB.  

http://lifehacker.com/5882791/the-rca-usb-wall-plate-charger-adds-usb-ports-to-your-wall-outlets-no-wiring-required

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You can also get these which offer surge protection and additional outlets. 

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gillumhouse's picture
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Thanks. I just ordered these. I like the sideways - it will not block the other outlet. I also have a multi-USB thing. It uses one USB port and gives me 4 ports.

gillumhouse's picture
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Thank you! I see a visit to Lowe's in my near future.

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THANK YOU!

$20, I had to price.

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amazon has them as well 

http://www.amazon.com/RCA-WP2UWR-USB-Wall-Plate/dp/B005IPMIBQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328633383&sr=8-1

Generic's picture
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Ah! These are the ones that I have.... http://www.amazon.com/14912-2-Outlet--Wall-Surge-Protector/dp/B003X1L69W/ref=sr_1_20?m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1328637723&sr=1-20

And I found this one... which has 6 plugs and 2 USB http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Outlet-Surge-Protector-USB/dp/B004CLYJ0U/ref=sr_1_2?m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1328637723&sr=1-2

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Thanks. These will come in handy.

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Does the output voltage from the USB chargers matter?

  • My iPhone came with a wall plug that accepts the USB cord that charges the iPhone. The part that plugs into the wall says "Output 5 Volts/1 Amp".
  • My Kindle came with the same sort of wall plug that accepts a USB cord and it says "Output 4.9 Volts/0.85 Amp".

I know the numbers are close so surely it doesn't matter, but I worry about plugging the iPhone into the Kindle plug that's "underpowered" or plugging the Kindle into the iPhone plug that's "overpowered".

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Generic's picture
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The USB ports on a computer are standardized, 5V at a maximum of 6 Amps. They won't overdraw. The problem is underpowering, not overpowering. As long as you don't go over the standard 5V.

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

The problem is underpowering, not overpowering. As long as you don't go over the standard 5V.

Good to know, thanks. I don't want guests saying it was my outlet that fried their gadget!

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 We have built new (actually are in phase 2) so we were able to plan our room sizes. We have separate tables for breakfast - I like not forcing people to wake up and talk if they are not morning people, or giving romantic getaways a chance to be by themselves - since the tables are not waaay far away from each other people usually end up chatting - just like at a cafe in Europe.

We use Rosenthal Maria china, coffee mugs since we encourage people to walk around with their coffee before and after breakfast.

We put in heated floors in the bathroom because I think that is luxury.

We were able to put king beds in every room but one

Our rooms come with a wine fridge and bottle of sparkling wine and soft drinks, and local chocolate and port turndown in the evening. We have a vineyard out back and have a barrel of port waiting to be bottled soon and so will be offering our own port at turndown.

Our rooms come with flowers

Our weekend includes a four winery wine tour. I took this leap as if the wine tour was booked we were losing bookings because 95% of our guests want the tour. It enables us to offer transportation to dinner the night of the tour which they like.

RIki

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 Riki....I want to stay at your place!!!   Wish I had known about you last spring when we took our maiden voyage to the Charlotte area.  Geesh...looks like we will have to give it another go some time!   We stayed at another, "highly-rated" B+B, which was nice but probably does not compare to your place.  It sounds like you have a wonderful sense of hospitality and luxury.

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Silverspoon wrote:

 Riki....I want to stay at your place!!!   Wish I had known about you last spring when we took our maiden voyage to the Charlotte area.  Geesh...looks like we will have to give it another go some time!   We stayed at another, "highly-rated" B+B, which was nice but probably does not compare to your place.  It sounds like you have a wonderful sense of hospitality and luxury.

Thank you very much!  Come on over!

We have a lot of competition here but our main thing is "wine country".  We try and offer everything that the guest would need standard since the rates are high here and we find that we get a lot of proposal, birthday and anniversary bookings as a result.

RIki

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Always served full breakfast - will remain, breakfast is what brings my guests back.

Breakfast as always been served a one table, everyone eating together (though staggering in coming /going).  While this seems to work most of the time, there are times when we can tell a guest is uncomfortable.  So this year we are trying something different.  We have separate tables now and will try to get a feel for how people react.  Will be interesting to hear what our repeat guests say. 

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copperhead wrote:

Always served full breakfast - will remain, breakfast is what brings my guests back.

Breakfast as always been served a one table, everyone eating together (though staggering in coming /going).  While this seems to work most of the time, there are times when we can tell a guest is uncomfortable.  So this year we are trying something different.  We have separate tables now and will try to get a feel for how people react.  Will be interesting to hear what our repeat guests say. 

I like the idea of separate tables. 

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Olga wrote:

copperhead wrote:

Always served full breakfast - will remain, breakfast is what brings my guests back.

Breakfast as always been served a one table, everyone eating together (though staggering in coming /going).  While this seems to work most of the time, there are times when we can tell a guest is uncomfortable.  So this year we are trying something different.  We have separate tables now and will try to get a feel for how people react.  Will be interesting to hear what our repeat guests say. 

I like the idea of separate tables. 

We implemented seperate tables a couple of years ago, and I think most people here prefer it. People feel uncomfortable on a table with strangers and feel they either have to make conversation, or can't have a private conversation with the person they are with.

Of course the day after £600 worth of tables arrived and were sitting in the garage waiting for a chance to re-arrange the dinning room this Texan lady came down from breakfast and said "We'll sit on the big table so we can talk to people". However I think people like that are rare (in the UK, anyway).

 

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Highlands John wrote:

Olga wrote:

copperhead wrote:

Always served full breakfast - will remain, breakfast is what brings my guests back.

Breakfast as always been served a one table, everyone eating together (though staggering in coming /going).  While this seems to work most of the time, there are times when we can tell a guest is uncomfortable.  So this year we are trying something different.  We have separate tables now and will try to get a feel for how people react.  Will be interesting to hear what our repeat guests say. 

I like the idea of separate tables. 

We implemented seperate tables a couple of years ago, and I think most people here prefer it. People feel uncomfortable on a table with strangers and feel they either have to make conversation, or can't have a private conversation with the person they are with.

Of course the day after £600 worth of tables arrived and were sitting in the garage waiting for a chance to re-arrange the dinning room this Texan lady came down from breakfast and said "We'll sit on the big table so we can talk to people". However I think people like that are rare (in the UK, anyway).

I would have separate tables if I had the space, but I don't. So for some that (like the BWTS folks) who put down communal table at B&B's, it is just logistics, not because we are old fashioned, or ...

I would choose your separate tables if I stayed with you, for sure. In fact, what would I love the most, outside seating. I would love to sit out on the deck or porch or in the gardens. Now as an innkeeper this is a lot more work, and may not be doable. I have considered it, but only a weekend option when I have a spouse here to help with breakfast.

Guests this week made a comment that irked me.  I am very very concerned that the food I serve is served hot, after all I am up early to ensure it is cooked and served "just right" for guests enjoyment.  There is no room for lukewarm eggs in this inn!   So I have burner on stove for eggs going, griddle for pecan pancakes going, bacon sizzling...I do my thang, voila plate it all bring it out piping hot and I go back in (I clean as I go, but there are still pans and clean up!) and I hear him say "What are you doing in there, hiding?"  This was after I spent 30 minutes chatting to them the night before, and 15 minutes prior to breakfast.

Well that set my right off, for the first time I actually told the guests there are no fairies who cook and clean at the inn, I do it.

Seriousely. What the!

I went back to my cleaning up. I NEED to clean. Have you ever put off one single load of laundry when you are full and it messes up the entire day?  As innkeepers we have a rhythm and we need to stick to it. So even tho he must think innkeeping is for sissies, the work still needs to get done.

So back to the indiv tables, in a way you can time it out better with serving one or two couples at a time, but at the same token, the conversation and interaction is also broken up, so more chances to sideswipe you and get you off course for the morning.

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I have one large table and serve family style. I only have 3 rooms and since I am NOT in a big tourist area (have not managed to make us a destination yet), rarely have a full-house. I had this nice big table when I moved here and I have a dining room large enough to hold it. If I have 2 couples, I set the table with empty chairs between them and the food in the middle. The yare not sitting on top of each other. If one couple, the setting is in the middle chairs with food on bith sides for easy reach. AND since each couple can choose a breakfast time, they are not always going top be sitting with anyone else anyway. Often one is leaving as the other comes in (or are already gone).

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 I always put two couples near each other> I remember asking this question a while back and I still haven't converted over to this method.

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By putting the food in the middle both can reach it and there is only one chair between them. I explain to the guests (if they are eating at the same time) that it is not intended to keep them apart, it is for ease of serving so they can all reach the food.

My table is not so big that there is a huge space between them.

Madeleine's picture
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There are days I think having the wide open kitchen is a good thing. Everyone sees what's going on, knows we're busy 'in there' and can see the dishes need doing. Still, we do have to pull away from guests at 10 or so, telling them we do need to 'get cleaning'.

You know why this is, we all know. The guests think there is nothing else we have to do all day but clean up the kitchen and make a few beds. They don't consider that all the things they have to do in a day we have to do times 10! That we ARE at work when we're here. We're not 'home' sitting around.

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Highlands John wrote:

Olga wrote:

copperhead wrote:

Always served full breakfast - will remain, breakfast is what brings my guests back.

Breakfast as always been served a one table, everyone eating together (though staggering in coming /going).  While this seems to work most of the time, there are times when we can tell a guest is uncomfortable.  So this year we are trying something different.  We have separate tables now and will try to get a feel for how people react.  Will be interesting to hear what our repeat guests say. 

I like the idea of separate tables. 

We implemented seperate tables a couple of years ago, and I think most people here prefer it. People feel uncomfortable on a table with strangers and feel they either have to make conversation, or can't have a private conversation with the person they are with.

Of course the day after £600 worth of tables arrived and were sitting in the garage waiting for a chance to re-arrange the dinning room this Texan lady came down from breakfast and said "We'll sit on the big table so we can talk to people". However I think people like that are rare (in the UK, anyway).

 

We have separate tables and I prefer it that way. If they are social in the morning, they can easily talk to each other. If not, they don't have to

RIki

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 We didn't have room for separate tables, but if given the option, I would choose a table with my husband only. In our early years of B & B'ing it was kind of expected with the situation to be at a group table to chat etc, but we had some definitely weird times at a few places where I had wished to be eating alone. Times have changed and if I were to do it again, I would have option of separate tables.  We offered breakfast in the room and had quite a few takers on it.

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We also do not have room for separate tables, but most of our guests seem to enjoy the conversation and hospitality at breakfast served at a table for 6 (our maximimum # of guests). DH loves people and can get just about any group of guests talking and laughing.  So, with a few notable exceptions, our guests arrive as strangers and leave as friends. They share ideas about things to do  and have suggestions that we may have neglected to mention.

We do offer to serve breakfast in the rooms but we charge $25 for that service.  Usually the folks in the suites in the house choose the standard breakfast venue.  Folks who are paying the "big bucks" for the cottage will sometimes opt for the additional cost of having their breakfast served to them in private.

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Since day one we have used glass knife rests, Fostoria stemware and Fostoria glass napkin rings

Place setting includes a salad fork and 2 teaspoons (choice for their friut and if using spoon, still have one for coffee)

Always used cloth tableclothes and napkins

Had robes in the closets (only upgraded them)

Bath sheets (what industry calls bath towels are hair towels)

always carnations in rooms

Once I had made the baskets, fresh bananas & apples in the rooms

We have always had "books to be stolen"

Two rooms have feather/down pillows and comforters and one room has always been feather-free

Sheets are Egyptian cotton in season and flannel in cold months

Sheets are line-dried when weather permits (now use dryer for towels for fluff reasons)

Started with Continental Plus - switched quickly to full breakfast (guests were disappointed and full is easier)

Tea is loose/bags/make your own bags/tea-for-ones or pots - guests choice

Have used china and mugs (down to one mug until new order comes in) using china now

The table setting has been kept because it is an elegant setting not expected in Podunk. We had a couple who came with one set of friends the first time and another couple the second time. DH heard the man in the hall saying to his friends as they entered the dining room, "I told ya, didn't I tell ya?" about the table setting.

I have been doing this so long now that I do not remember how early some things started. I am in a rut I guess.  I am always on the look-out for things that will add touches of elegance without changing our "laid-back homey" atmosphere.

Have added:

a sheets menu adding microfiber and fleece so guests now choose - and each kind has been chosen at one time or another

 individual domed butter dishes when I discovered them

chargers

replaced stainless cutlery with silverplate

baked oatmeal as an entree

roasting coffee beans

TVs and replaced radios with CD/radio/alarms

a private ensuite bathroom

Joey Camb's picture
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one thing I have discovered at the supermarket today is usb chargers you plug into the wall for  your devices as was sick to death of half a dozen things hanging out of my computer. You can also get them that are a plug in the front as well but they are more expensive. Am considering having the first kind in to lend out to guests.

I am also a big believer in huge towels what they call bath towels wouldn't cover my ass.

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Generic's picture
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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

one thing I have discovered at the supermarket today is usb chargers you plug into the wall for  your devices as was sick to death of half a dozen things hanging out of my computer. You can also get them that are a plug in the front as well but they are more expensive. Am considering having the first kind in to lend out to guests.

I am also a big believer in huge towels what they call bath towels wouldn't cover my ass.

We have units that provide two USB and two standard plugs. They have a screw at the top that you can put into the screw of the wall plaque, so they can't take them with them. We have one in each room.

Oddly enough, sometimes we find a guest has a transformer, and adapter and then their phone charger, all hanging down like an overburdened see-saw. I take it all out and plug their cable directly into the USB charger. But what I really want to get are these....

Joey Camb's picture
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there was another thread about a year ago with these on and where to buy them but they would be USA voltage so no use to me but is canada the same? you would have to search for it.

Madeleine's picture
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How do they get those outlets to look like unhappy people?

Generic's picture
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:: burp:: (dupe post... don't know why, though.)

Madeleine's picture
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The only thing we have held onto (but it took awhile to let go of the PO's ways) is to decorate, design and feed our guests in the way we'd want at another B&B. We get closer to it every year. As we redo each part of the house, it becomes more a place we'd like to stay.

So, this is not necessarily a style, but an attitude.

Hope that makes sense.

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 Well put Madeleine!  That about sums it up for us too.

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