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Don Draper

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We were so lucky to escape for two nights and stayed in a b&b while gone. Thought it was worth posting my observations since we've been having so many discussions lately on the forum as to what we should be considering "standard" in terms of our offerings. I also thought it was interesting because I think of myself as a pretty low-maintenance traveler and was therefore surprised at some of the seemingly "little" things that struck me as off.I think my most important take-a-way lesson from the weekend was how much a great innkeeper can make up for any other shortcomings. The place we stayed was nice, you could tell at one point it had been great but certain things have been "let go". After some conversations with the innkeeper she divulged that she is leaving soon so I didn't pursue any of my very minor complaints with her.
My "peeves":
Old and uncomfortable mattress. It just needed to be replaced. Luckily there was also a daybed in the room which had a newer mattress so at least my back wasn't sore. Hubs got stuck with the bad bed but he was fine (he can sleep just about anywhere). When we first took over here we couldn't afford to replace all the beds all at once. For the ones that had to stay, we spent $80 at Walmart for a 3-inch memory foam topper which really worked wonders, and held us over until the next year when we could replace them.
No nightstand/reading lamp on my side of the bed...ended up not mattering because I slept on the other bed but it irked me, I'm an avid reader, especially before falling asleep at night.
Peeling wallpaper and mold in the bathroom. This was offset by the really pretty and new tile work in the bathroom and good shower head...but the moldy spots on the walls were off-putting. Also, the caulk around the shower stall was very old and stained...prior to this trip I wouldn't have thought this would bother me but it just made the whole room feel less than clean.
Our bathroom was detached which was fine, but it would have been good to have a mirror in the bedroom...I could have finished getting ready while hubs was in the shower but I had to wait until he was finished. The guest room journal had this comment in it about 3 times so I guess they don't read those!
No half and half for coffee...just milk. I would not consider myself a coffee snob but I a really missed it. Even the powdered stuff would have been good.
The "hits":
Innkeeper was so truly sweet and hospitable. I am happy for her that she is soon leaving to pursue other things, she's just at the 7 year mark and starting to burn out. She was flexible with our schedule, had great area info and directions available in each room, and offered 3 different choices for breakfast which I thought was amazing considering she did it all by herself. Her food was simple and delicious (perfectly cooked bacon!) and she was very gracious with each guest and made them feel special. She just really had the knack (and made me realize how much I do NOT...I gotta work really hard to be hospitable!). She also had an open kitchen which I could just never do...I don't like an audience while cooking but she was a total natural, flipping eggs and chatting everyone up. People LOVE to gather in a kitchen.
Nice "honor bar" area set up for drinks/snacks as well as toiletry items you might have forgotten (deodorant, razor, toothbrush, etc.).
Really good homemade cookies every day.
I'm going through my rooms today trying out beds and checking for functional things (lamps, etc.) that I haven't looked at in a while.
 

egoodell

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Thanks for the info. Makes me know what to look for. We often have to recaulk our spa showers since it seems to stain over a period of time even though they are only two years old. We have water that also turns things blue.
RIki
 

Morticia

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Great observations.
I search for very small (12" and under) nightstands for the sides of the beds. I have one room left that does not have stands on both sides of the beds. It drives me nuts because I have a huge nightstand by my bed and it is packed, I need room!
I added stands for the twin beds.
We recaulk around the shower and the toilet every year. It just has to be done. Even using bleach doesn't work after awhile.
Excellent point about how a gracious host can make up for some of the downside of things!
 

Don Draper

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Thanks for the info. Makes me know what to look for. We often have to recaulk our spa showers since it seems to stain over a period of time even though they are only two years old. We have water that also turns things blue.
RIki.
Riki, I was reading about your nightmare when we got back to our room on Saturday night...I was all but in tears FOR you. What a mess. I'm glad to hear from the other thread that things are cleaning up pretty well. What is wrong with people???
 

JBloggs

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So Innsider, tell us of the "spirit" of the B&B. Without divulging too much, how many rooms, and was there a "single" innkeeper running it? How did you feel when you arrived after much travel, etc ?
 

sandynn

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Great observations.
I search for very small (12" and under) nightstands for the sides of the beds. I have one room left that does not have stands on both sides of the beds. It drives me nuts because I have a huge nightstand by my bed and it is packed, I need room!
I added stands for the twin beds.
We recaulk around the shower and the toilet every year. It just has to be done. Even using bleach doesn't work after awhile.
Excellent point about how a gracious host can make up for some of the downside of things!.
My beds are very high and a night stand just doesn't do it. I went to Costco a few years ago and bought two bath room stands. They look like side tables for a bed and have granite tops. Also they a a drawer and two shelves. They are perfect I can't believe it. They are narrow and tall. I have relized they only sell them after the first of the year for a couple of months. I am going to look for more this year.
 

Don Draper

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So Innsider, tell us of the "spirit" of the B&B. Without divulging too much, how many rooms, and was there a "single" innkeeper running it? How did you feel when you arrived after much travel, etc ?.
We didn't pick it, our friend with whom we traveled did. It was an 8 room b&b, a single innkeeper with a helper so she can get a day off once in a while, and a cleaner every day. Very beautiful late Victorian house tucked into a totally residential neighborhood...they must have sign restrictions because it was not marked at all on the front of the house, but the directions were excellent so we had no problem finding it.
The innkeeper actually lives in the house next door, and she had a contact number available at all times. It was a very cute town, you could walk to restaurants, etc. The house had huge ceilings and lots of neat Victorian artwork. Honestly it just felt a little "tired", comforters and curtains could have stood to be replaced, some window sills and radiators repainted...reminded me of how our place was when we first took over, just needs a facelift to be really spectacular again. The bathrooms were all outfitted nicely (either clawfoot tubs or whirlpools) and some of the rooms had woodburning fireplaces.
Not much competition in the area so I think the lack of updates hasn't hurt them too much. The other thing that really bugged me but I don't know what you could do about it...the floors were SO squeaky! I love historic structures but I wonder if they could brace them or just put a thicker carpet/pad down. I was hypersensitive to it since we had to go across the hall to use our bath, I felt like I was waking the whole house up each time I stood up!
We were supposed to have a late check-in but ended up arriving just in time so we got to meet the innkeeper and she gave us a great welcome. I was the totally obnoxious guest who walked in and saw the delicious cookies and immediately helped myself to them while she was still talking...I HATE when people do that to me so I kind of shocked myself!!!! But they looked delicious so maybe I'll just take it as a compliment from now on.
I don't think you can over-estimate how important it is for us innkeepers to put ourselves on the other side of this process every so often just to remind yourself what you're looking for in terms of experience.
Overall we left with the feeling that the value and service we offer are really in line with what other properties in our price range offer. We are above average in most areas, I think. It was good to remind ourselves of that after getting pretty beat up this year.
 

seashanty

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:)
this is a great review!
thanks for sharing.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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So Innsider, tell us of the "spirit" of the B&B. Without divulging too much, how many rooms, and was there a "single" innkeeper running it? How did you feel when you arrived after much travel, etc ?.
We didn't pick it, our friend with whom we traveled did. It was an 8 room b&b, a single innkeeper with a helper so she can get a day off once in a while, and a cleaner every day. Very beautiful late Victorian house tucked into a totally residential neighborhood...they must have sign restrictions because it was not marked at all on the front of the house, but the directions were excellent so we had no problem finding it.
The innkeeper actually lives in the house next door, and she had a contact number available at all times. It was a very cute town, you could walk to restaurants, etc. The house had huge ceilings and lots of neat Victorian artwork. Honestly it just felt a little "tired", comforters and curtains could have stood to be replaced, some window sills and radiators repainted...reminded me of how our place was when we first took over, just needs a facelift to be really spectacular again. The bathrooms were all outfitted nicely (either clawfoot tubs or whirlpools) and some of the rooms had woodburning fireplaces.
Not much competition in the area so I think the lack of updates hasn't hurt them too much. The other thing that really bugged me but I don't know what you could do about it...the floors were SO squeaky! I love historic structures but I wonder if they could brace them or just put a thicker carpet/pad down. I was hypersensitive to it since we had to go across the hall to use our bath, I felt like I was waking the whole house up each time I stood up!
We were supposed to have a late check-in but ended up arriving just in time so we got to meet the innkeeper and she gave us a great welcome. I was the totally obnoxious guest who walked in and saw the delicious cookies and immediately helped myself to them while she was still talking...I HATE when people do that to me so I kind of shocked myself!!!! But they looked delicious so maybe I'll just take it as a compliment from now on.
I don't think you can over-estimate how important it is for us innkeepers to put ourselves on the other side of this process every so often just to remind yourself what you're looking for in terms of experience.
Overall we left with the feeling that the value and service we offer are really in line with what other properties in our price range offer. We are above average in most areas, I think. It was good to remind ourselves of that after getting pretty beat up this year.
.
InnsiderInfo said:
I don't think you can over-estimate how important it is for us innkeepers to put ourselves on the other side of this process every so often just to remind yourself what you're looking for in terms of experience.
Overall we left with the feeling that the value and service we offer are really in line with what other properties in our price range offer. We are above average in most areas, I think. It was good to remind ourselves of that after getting pretty beat up this year.
Sounds like you had a perfectly balanced getaway.
A break from the inn and picked up some great internal feedback on your own value along the way.
Who could ask for more than that?
 

egoodell

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Thanks for the info. Makes me know what to look for. We often have to recaulk our spa showers since it seems to stain over a period of time even though they are only two years old. We have water that also turns things blue.
RIki.
Riki, I was reading about your nightmare when we got back to our room on Saturday night...I was all but in tears FOR you. What a mess. I'm glad to hear from the other thread that things are cleaning up pretty well. What is wrong with people???
.
InnsiderInfo said:
Riki, I was reading about your nightmare when we got back to our room on Saturday night...I was all but in tears FOR you. What a mess. I'm glad to hear from the other thread that things are cleaning up pretty well. What is wrong with people???
Thanks for the sympathy! I knew she would be trouble from the get-go because her aunt claimed she was not aware of the two night requirement for weekends, and this is the only time her niece could get away, and she spent so much money on the gift yada yada.
Then when they said they had to drive from CN to MD to care for the baby and had to call her three times to make sure she left on time for the wine tour I knew she would be difficult.
She is just one of those people who everyone enables. Was rude during the wine tour to all around her. Her husband was pretty bad too - Chris tried to get them to stop drinking one the deck after the tour but honestly, we have in 7 years not had anyone ever over do it or get sick and they kept telling him they go wine tasting all the time so I just thought maybe she was my first alcoholic or something. I thought she was going to just pass out.
You should have seen the credit cards get whipped out when Chris said, "Well, if you don't feel comfortable giving us a credit card for the additional cleaning, we'll just charge the card on file that purchased the gift certificate...".
Hah. I bet Auntie won't hear about that. Just hope the cleaner gets the stains out - the waste basket is a lost cause.
RIki
 
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