Providing Ice to Guests

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02/19/2013

Does anyone have a good solution for ice for guests?

We have an ice-maker as part of our refrigerator, but otherwise no ice machine for guests at our 5-room B&B.  We usually close off our personal area once guests are checked in until maybe breakfast time.  And, most never need ice, even when it is hot outside, they just don’t really care.  However, some guests will ask for ice later, and we may or may not be around at which point some will enter our personal space and help themselves to an ice bucket and ice. Or, they will ring the doorbell and we will have to come up and go get them the ice, usually at an inconvenient time.

Offer it…We tried asking them at check-in, if multiple day stays this does not work well because they seem to want ice every day at that point. We also found they didn’t want it when we asked, but then later about 30% of the time they suddenly did, so at 5pm they said no we don’t need ice, then about 9:30 they ring the doorbell and say “hey, can I get some ice”.  And then, there are the ones that just wander in looking for it – especially if we are not there at whatever time it is they decide they do want ice. -- We also found if we offered it to one guest, there was a good chance that at least one other guest would ask, whereas they probably would have not thought about it – so by offering it we get more requests.

Provide it… We tried getting a good cooler and adding ice to it, then providing each room an ice bucket and pointing out the cooler at check-in.  The ice tended to be a pain to keep stocked where it would stick, and get watery, all that kind of thing unless you want to fill it every single day, usually dumping a lot out – which is a huge pain.
This has led us to think about installing an ice machine in the area by where we keep water, tea, etc.  The portable ones by all accounts are at best messy, ineffective, unreliable and a general pain to keep an eye on.  The much more expensive commercial ones are very expensive, and will require a drain and plumbing which is going to be relatively expensive anywhere we might put the thing.  AND, they can be problematic.

Any ideas appreciated!
 

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

I keep a few bottles of water in my freezer. If guests ask for ice (in the morning usually for their cooler) I just give them 2 or 3 frozen bottles. They love it because there is no messy water as they thaw and they will have cold water to drink later.

muirford's picture
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05/22/2008

gillemonge wrote:

This has led us to think about installing an ice machine in the area by where we keep water, tea, etc.  The portable ones by all accounts are at best messy, ineffective, unreliable and a general pain to keep an eye on.  The much more expensive commercial ones are very expensive, and will require a drain and plumbing which is going to be relatively expensive anywhere we might put the thing.  AND, they can be problematic.

We bought our first countertop ice machine nine years ago and have never thought about NOT having one again.  It's not messy, ineffective, unreliable or a general pain - it cost around $200.  Every three or four years the one we have springs a leak and we get a new one.  We have a water dispenser next to it for us to refill it easily or guests to refill if they need to.  No drain or plumbing required; it recycles the water in the tank.  We have no complaints about ours.

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02/19/2013

what brand and model do you have? Are any others recommended?

muirford's picture
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05/22/2008

Ours is a Mr. Freeze countertop: http://www.amazon.com/Freeze-Stainless-Portable-Automatic-MIM-88/dp/B000LRHLMC.  It seems to me we have had other brands in the past but this one is holding up fine.  The ice reservoir is cold but it is not a freezer unit, so the ice cubes are sometimes melty on top or when fresh ice hasn't been made in awhile.  For individual drinks it's good - it works less well if you want to fill a cooler but we don't really want to encourage that anyway.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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05/26/2009

This is also the one we have. We've had it about 5 years and it's still working great. You must periodically clean all ice makers because of bacteria. It's easy to clean.

An ice maker is a small investment and your guests will use it more than you think because now they don't have to ask you for ice.

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

We have a guest fridge with freezer that has an ice tray in it. We keep that filled. Check it every morning and refill from the big ice maker in our fridge. It's not perfect but it beats guests ringing the bell at midnight!

We empty it out regularly and clean the ice tray. Guests will act like they're at home and just stick their hands in it instead of using the scoop we provide.

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02/17/2011

I got an ice machine at Target.  It works well and makes ice amazingly fast.  Make sure you instruct guests to refill the reservoir with water when they take ice so it does not run out of ice.  (One less thing for you to do).   I simply wrote on the machine in red permanent marker.  So far so good.

I also keep backup cubes in 4 trays in the freezer next to the ice machine.  Even though it gets VERY hot here in summer people rarely ask for more ice than I have on hand.  If they are big ice consumers they usually bring a cooler with their own.  Big ice machines are very expensive and not affordable for a smaller Inn.

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02/19/2013

Does the ice taste clean, not melt quickly - like if you put some in a glass and pour Bourbon over it, does it just melt right away or does it hold up for at least a few minutes?  If so, which one did you get? Brand/Model... Thanks!

 

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02/17/2011

I have not had any complaints about bad taste or melting but I don't use it myself.  Guests seem to like it. 

This is the one I got:  Emerson Ice Machine

I had to replace it once already about 1 year ago  but it is inexpensive enough to make it replaceable. Nothing nowadays lasts very long anymore Sad.   

You can read the reviews online. Some like it, some don't.  Seems to vary a lot.  Mine has been fine.  I would advise adding on the 2 year warranty for $17 offered at Target,

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01/12/2013

I also have this model, and have had no problems with it.  The ice is not as thick and dense as what you would have in a normal freezer, because I don't think this little thing has the capability of being as cold as a freezer.  That being said, it's been wonderful for me and the guests.  No problem keeping up, and it takes no time at all to fill it up.  It has an indictor light if the water gets low.  Once a month, I turn it off and drain the water and clean the reservoir with vinegar and water to keep the "slime" away. I also keep the scoop outside of the unit, in a glass next to it, so people won't stick their hands in there to retrieve it.

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

We just bought one at Costco, but .CA and it was $85. I see that Bestbuy in the US has a few for about $100.

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10/07/2008

Are you asking or telling? I have to ask. If you need THAT much ice for your guests, other than a cupful here or there, that is odd. Stop offering it altogether and you will eliminate the problem as well.

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05/22/2008

do a search here. this topic has been covered several times. you will find our answers

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