Best and Worst B&B experience

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Just thought I'd share...... and for those of you who have also had memorable experiences, please share Smiling

I don't travel more than a couple of times a year and both of the times I'm going to share were in Texas (that's as much as I'll say) and both were on business trips.

The worst B&B experience I've ever had (and hopefully won't have again)....
I was traveling to TX to audit an inventory and needed a place to stay.  Since the plant was only about 30 minutes from a popular vacation destination, I decided I'd prefer to stay near the attractions of the locale rather than near the plant.  My employer had a "corporate rate" established at a hotel near the airport of $89.00/night.  This was around 2004/2005.  I started searching for a B&B - my preferred lodging choice, particularly when traveling alone - and most in the area were booked.  Of those that had availability, their room rates were substantially higher than $89.00 and I didn't want to seem insulting and didn't think it was fair to ask them to reduce their rate that much and just didn't have the ability to cover the difference at that point in my life.  After clicking on every B&B at bbonline and google searches, I found one with rates in the low $100's and availability.  The pictures looked nice and it said it was recently opened, so a lack of reviews didn't dissuade me.  I called and explained my circumstances and the owner/innkeeper accepted my offer of $89/night for 2 nights.  Hmmmmmmmmmm.... I shoulda known better!  When I found the address, the amount of disrepair in the yard and the exterior structure alone alarmed me, but I had no other arrangement made, was in an unfamiliar town, etc, etc.  So, I took a deep breath and entered .... it was drab, dingy, dark, but the dining table was cleared and appeared clean!  The lady who greeted me was definitely a people person.  She talked, talked, talked and was surprisingly sweet, genuine, witty and an engaging hostess.  She showed me to my room upstairs which was also dingy and drab, had cobwebs in the corners and was far below my expectations.  However, the bed appeared clean and well made and the bathroom was clean.  The owner prepared a good basic bacon and egg type breakfast and it was good.  I heard her life story and the challenges she was facing putting her life back together after a divorce, raising a teenage son, and trying to get the business going.  I think she had inherited the house or it was part of the divorce settlement.  With a lot of hard work, it could have been a really nice B&B.  I really did feel sorry for her circumstances.  Amazingly, I'm not sorry that I stayed there (though wouldn't stay again), and I wonder what became of her.  Maybe someday, I'll go back to that area - stay elsewhere - and see if that house is still a B&B.

My best B&B experience was also a business trip.  The accomodations of choice of my employer were booked and there was a B&B in town that was owned and operated by a former employee of my company!  I'll call her Jane (name changed to protect her identity)  I think she and I were both anxious to meet and chat and get to know one another.  She rented the room at the same rate as the other local facility, substantially less than her normal rate (but it was for just one night).  Her B&B was her family home which she had inherited and she lived nearby.  It is a gorgeous home: immaculate and beautifully decorated.  I had the downstairs room with an ensuite bath.  The room was so comfortable and inviting, I could have stayed there forever and not tired of it.  Jane is also an excellent cook.  Her breakfast was absolutely to die for!  I hope she'll share recipes.  She is the "gold standard" that I will will aspire to achieve when I have a B&B.  Unfortunately, Jane has decided to retire and closed her B&B.  However, I do hope to get a chance to visit with her on my next trip to TX.  

This also makes me wonder what your experiences may have been with B&B's prior to opening your own... and how did they influence the way you manage your business?  

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Lots of great B&B experiences over many years of travel (many with inn-mates here on the forum ), so this is a tough one.  So I don't have to choose between the innmates for the best stay, I'll pick another stay.   

Ranking as probably one of our best stays ever was at a place in Northern California where the room had everything that we could possibly need, we had a great view of a vineyard, garden and pond with a private deck, and the breakfast that was delivered to us was fantastic!  The outstanding part of the stay was the innkeepers who invited us to join them for a tasting of wine from their vineyard.  When we told them that we had to gracefully decline because we were meeting up with some friends that lived in the area, they said "Bring them too!  We'd like to meet them."  When our friends arrived, we were treated to a couple of different wines, several trays of appetizers, and their company at sunset on their deck.  A perfect evening.  This was not a $300+/night stay either. 

Probably the worse stay was at a place that jacked up their rates to over $250/night over the 4th of July weekend (this was about 5 years ago) when we were traveling for a wedding.  (This is not a city that has some kind of huge Independence Day event either, they just raise their rates on all holidays.)  The coffee maker was filthy and stuck to the warmer, toilet paper was thin & scratchy, there were scant bathroom soaps, a previous guest's clothes were left in the armoire, and there were cobwebs in the room.  There was no dining room for breakfast, which was a buffet in the hallway, and no place to really eat it in your room.  The breakfast buffet was cleared away one morning before the end of the breakfast time frame and we had to eat elsewhere.  All of that aside, the innkeepers were the least desirable part - the innkeeper was braless and unkempt when we were greeted at check-in and very rude when we mentioned the state of the room when we were asked how things were. 

For me, the innkeepers will always make or break my stay....

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Most rooms are different at an inn in every aspect, where one room has the hot afternoon sun beating down on it from the roof line, or lack of insulation due to the age of the house where another room may be an add-on and newer and have insulation, and better HVAC ducting. So in most inns, the rooms can all be different.

Were there no innkeepers on site? This would answer many questions.

In regard to another post here, assuming "hired help" my children assist on weekends, and now one is here midweek - and soon this week another due to summer break. Do people assume they are hired help and not part of our innkeeping family?  No we don't introduce each person, heck like two nights ago the guests arrvied after normal check in time, without a call or anything, and one no showed to breakfast and the other...well who knows what they thought.

They will say at breakfast "Mom's Pecan Pancakes" I told them to say this "MOM's" specifically for those who feel they are being cheated by not visiting with the innkeepers. THEY TOO are innkeepers, Assistant Innkeepers. As I say "You rent the room,  you do not rent me" the more guests who feel they are automatically paying for the innkeepers time to entertain them, the less I will do it. I love our guests, but not all of them. 

My new theory - arrive late = no show for breakfast or = late for breakfast. Every time.

Bless their hearts...

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I believe that my best B&B experience was in Ireland, when I traveled with my daughter over a two week period.  The host's went beyond my expectations by providing other teenage children for my daughter to socialize with, and we ended up staying for a few extra days !  They even catered a more trational American menu for meals for her while I remained pleased with the traditional Irish.  We shared holiday cards for several years after that experience. 

The worst experience was recently when my husband and I traveled from the East Coast to WI stopping in Virginia at what appeared to be a beautiful historical B&B only to find the room filthy and very cold.  My husband even shut down the A/C unit for the entire inn as we as Wisconsinites were freezing!  Breakfast was a small slice of quiche on a white plate, without any garnishes-so hubby looked at me and inquired "can we go down the road and get a real breakfast!"

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The Queen wrote:

The worst experience was recently when my husband and I traveled from the East Coast to WI stopping in Virginia at what appeared to be a beautiful historical B&B only to find the room filthy and very cold.  My husband even shut down the A/C unit for the entire inn as we as Wisconsinites were freezing!  Breakfast was a small slice of quiche on a white plate, without any garnishes-so hubby looked at me and inquired "can we go down the road and get a real breakfast!"

I guess if your husband shut down the A/C by mistake that is one thing. But to shut off the air for everyone? What if the other rooms were sweltering? Was there no innkeeper on site to contact when you realized your room was too cold?

I know, because we've stayed at them, that there are inns with no on site evening help. But there is usually a phone number to call if the heating/cooling system isn't working.

You've been an innkeeper (or on this forum) long enough to know that the innkeeper needs to know when things aren't working properly as the innkeeper cannot be in every room all the time to understand how the guest is perceiving things.

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The Queen wrote:

The worst experience was recently when my husband and I traveled from the East Coast to WI stopping in Virginia

Such a shame.

Inquiring minds want to know, where in Virginia, as we have mountains to piedmont to coast here...was it in Williamsburg? and you mention RECENTLY, you can email me off forum if you want to from my user id. I had guests complain about a place that was all pomp and circumstance and no substance for breakfast (last fall) in Abingdon VA (no inn name is mentioned in this comment). 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

The Queen wrote:

The worst experience was recently when my husband and I traveled from the East Coast to WI stopping in Virginia

Such a shame.

Inquiring minds want to know, where in Virginia, as we have mountains to piedmont to coast here...was it in Williamsburg? and you mention RECENTLY, you can email me off forum if you want to from my user id. I had guests complain about a place that was all pomp and circumstance and no substance for breakfast (last fall) in Abingdon VA (no inn name is mentioned in this comment). 

Have to admit, I'd be curious too.  Haven't stayed at a B&B in Williamsburg for about 20 years, but now that DS is almost grown, I suspect DH & I will stay in B&B's more frequently as it will just be the two of us.  I'm looking forward to that actually Smiling

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 Worst place was dirty/dusty, smelled like wet dogs, room looked like it was a catch-all room for the innkeeper's personal things which were laying about everywhere, including under the bed. We were there 2 nights and wish we could have left but there really wasn't another place available in the area. Did we say anything? No.  (in Texas)

Best place was inviting, clean, warm hospitality, fabulous location. Would go there again. (in Northern California)

Lots of good places we've been.

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Worst

The B&B in Rome.... the wall above the bed had stains because there was no headboard. The room resembled the cell at a monastary. The furniture would have made Ikea proud, in the 60s. There was a padlock on the heating. The bathroom fixture was broken and you had to use a lamp. The stains on the ceiling clearly indicating that they had no ventilation. And the toilet seat was SQUARE. I hate square toilet seats, my bum isn't square. Something like this. Breakfast was some clemantines, a juice box, a yogurt, espresso and an italian prepackaged croissant. (They come in these light blue packages, commercially available even here!) I didn't know if this was my dorm room from 20 years ago or it was the Roman gulag.

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05/22/2008

My "best" experience has been many - the innmates I have visited each rate in the best experience category. My first B & B started me on my way to being an innkeeper.

My worst was in Vermont. When I traveled, I looked for shared bath because they were less expensive - that price difference paid for lunch. We were traveling with friends and not only had a reservation, but were PREPAID! It had been a school house and housed school groups coming to ski in winter so you kow it was not a fancy place but it was nice, homey, and comfortable. Had large fireplace in the living room. The innkeeper came over to chat arival evening and to explain that she had a kennel and was busy with the dogs in the morning so we would find the kitchen stocked and could make our breakfast and leave the mess for her to clean up. OK, thought nothing of it.

Until I went into the kitchen to fix breakfast for the 4 of us. There was coffee & tea and I believe there was juice. There was 1 - that is ONE egg! This was 1987 and $68 per night was not exactly a cheap room then. We left and went to the nearest restaurant for breakfast. I have looked since and I do not believe it is in business now - I hope not.

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 When does the book or report come out? Just wondering.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

 When does the book or report come out? Just wondering.

Whenever you want to write it.  Just trying to contribute and enjoy the site.

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 Every B & B we stayed in prior to our purchase, I made notes about everything and anything about the inn, the innkeeper, things I loved and things I would change. This did help shape the way I did things when we opened. It was not overnight. We planned for 10 years and saved so that we could purchase outright. The best decision we ever made. Now that we retired, we are still in our closed B & B because of the economy. We love it here and as long as we can take care of it we will stay. We planned ahead and have a place that is just as nice as a home albeit way too big for us..but upkeep and utilities are very reasonable so it is not a problem.

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