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4 Tips for the Novice Bed and Breakfast Traveler

Aug 14, 2008
Where is the bed and breakfast located?

Your inn might list its location as Los Angeles, but that's a big location. Is it right-next-to-the-airport Los Angeles or near the coast? Depending on what you want to do and see, it is important to know exactly where your bed and breakfast is located. Perhaps you want to stay fairly close to the city but still leave the crowds and traffic behind. Maybe a country inn or perhaps a small historic town is what you want. If it's important to you, be sure to ask if there are restaurants and shops or other attractions within walking distance. Here's an example of two inns only about an hour from each other that offer wonderful but very different experiences.

At the Saratoga Inn on Washington's Whidbey Island, guests are just an hour drive and short ferry ride from Seattle, but worlds away in terms of setting. The inn affords views of the Saratoga Passage and Cascade Mountains from many of the guest rooms. The Carriage House has a fireplace, sleigh bed, antique clawfoot tub and a private deck with a water view. Mornings bring a delectable full breakfast, and in the afternoons, wine and hors d'oeuvres are served. If a city setting is what you crave, you can hardly find a better central Seattle locale than the Inn at Harbor Steps. Located in a residential high-rise, the bed and breakfast offers spacious, individually decorated rooms, some with fireplaces or perhaps a private patio. The inn has a state-of-the-art gym with a fitness room, basketball court and lap pool. Full breakfasts and afternoon tea are among the many amenities guests will enjoy, and the inn is within walking distance to many shops, restaurants and popular city attractions.

What kinds of rooms are available?

After a painstaking internet search, you've found the perfect inn. Guests on the inn's website extol the virtues of the comfortable king-size bed, whirlpool tub and scenic ocean view. You make your reservation and discover upon arrival a decidedly cozy room with a queen-size bed and a shared bathroom and a view of the side yard fence. While cookie-cutter motels generally have one room size and two choices: one queen or two doubles, bed and breakfasts are very unique. Some rooms might be a sweet, cozy spot tucked in a third-story attic or perhaps a large suite in the carriage house with all the trimmings. Be sure to tell your innkeeper what you need and want when making your reservation. Some bed and breakfasts feature rooms that all have private baths, while some inns have rooms that share a bath. Some cozier rooms have a twin bed, and some have a huge antique four-poster king-size bed. Some have fireplaces that are decorative, while some actually work.

Everything about the Green Gables Inn is enchanting. The historic Pacific Grove, California, bed and breakfast is found in a meticulously restored Victorian. The views of Monterey Bay are spectacular, and several guest rooms boast stunning ocean vistas. Each of the guest rooms is unique. The Gable room includes views of the bay from the main window as well as a loft that one reaches by climbing a ladder. The Chapel room, with its unique wooden beams and window seat, is especially charming and offers a bay view from its window seat. The Carriage House rooms include jetted spa tubs, king beds and fireplaces. All guests are treated to full breakfast and afternoon snacks. The inn is a perfect location to enjoy the Monterey Bay area, providing close access to the beaches, aquarium and Cannery Row.

What is the inn's policy concerning children and pets?

In several states, children by law cannot be turned away by hotels, motels or bed and breakfasts. However, not all inns are ideally suited to young guests, especially very young children who need room to run and play. Be sure to ask the innkeeper if the inn is really appropriate for children. That being said, many innkeepers love having children stay at their inns. Plenty of inns have large property for kids to explore, while others have swimming pools, play areas or even games and movies geared to the younger guests. You are sure to find a great bed and breakfast that will satisfy the whole family. Locations also can be ideal for families, and the innkeepers can let you know about local activities.

For example, at the Blue Lantern Inn in Dana Point, California, children will appreciate not only the close access to the beach, but also the teddy bears found throughout the inn and in each guest room. The innkeepers also serve kid-friendly items such as cereal, toast and fresh fruit during breakfast, as well as freshly baked cookies throughout the day. The inn is just a short drive from Laguna Beach, and about a half-hour from Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and Legoland.

What types of amenities are included in the inn's rates?

Most bed and breakfasts include some kind of breakfast service along with your room rates, whether it be a three-course feast, lavish buffet or simple continental fare. But many innkeepers provide many more amenities. You might enjoy afternoon tea and evening turn-down service. Rooms might be stocked with luxurious bath products and Egyptian cotton towels and beds topped with fluffy pillow and down comforters. Ask your innkeeper or check out the inn's website to make sure your top choice has all the amenities you want.

Just a few miles from the center of Los Angeles, the Channel Road Inn offers travelers a great location to enjoy all the area's fun attractions. The inn is just blocks from the beach in sunny Santa Monica, which has a variety of shops, restaurants and nightlife. The inn is decorated in a romantic style, and several guest rooms include a fireplace or jetted spa tub. The innkeepers pamper their guests with rooms stocked with amenities, such as fluffy robes and European bath products. There are DVD players in each room, and guests can borrow a movie from the inn's library, which also includes a variety of books. There is a full breakfast service, as well as afternoon wine and hors d'oeuvres. Coffee, tea, water and soda, as well as home-baked cookies are available throughout the day. The inn has a concierge service, and the staff is happy to make restaurant recommendations or describe local attractions.
About the Author
Jane Leisteiner has traveled to many B&B inns. To get additional detailed info about Los Angeles bed and breakfast inns or more bed and breakfasts in California, visit the Four Sisters or iLoveInns sites.
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