The traditional bed and breakfast is a private home where the innkeepers provide individualized attention, including home-cooked breakfast. In Europe and some part of Asia these are often called ‘homestays’. Other amenities may include welcome baskets, flowers, turn-down service, and a host of one-on-one services tailored to the specific bed and breakfast and its geographical area.
Bathroom facilities may be shared, or each room may have a private bath or ensuite bathroom.
An inn is generally larger, and may have hired staff (including gourmet chefs) who assist the innkeepers. They usually offer a larger variety of lodging services, which may include on-site spa and massage, swimming pool, fine-dining restaurant, etc. Rooms may be larger – full suites with kitchenettes, living room area, and whirlpool baths.
Many historic mansions have been converted into inns. Some have large gatehouses which function as private guesthouses. Guests have the option of preparing their own meals, or joining other guests for meals in the main house.
Nowadays hotels are getting in on the act as well. Many offer ‘bed and breakfast packages’. The smaller boutique hotels can almost be confused with country inns. Larger hotels are just that – large hotels providing free breakfast.
Breakfasts, whether at a traditional bed and breakfast inn or hotel, can vary widely. Some establishments offer a continental or continental-plus breakfast. Others provide a breakfast buffet combining items like muffins, croissants, and cold cereals with omelettes, bacon, sausages, pancakes and more. Others serve gourmet breakfast or vegetarian meals. And the ultimate treat is breakfast in bed!
You will even find inns with full meal packages.
As you can see, there is no one specific definition for ‘Bed and Breakfast’! You need to check online descriptions, photos, and brochures carefully so that you are aware of exactly what accommodations you will be booking.
If you are planning a honeymoon, anniversary, or romantic getaway, you might want to reserve an inn that has a ‘no children’ policy and soundproofing. If you are preparing for a family vacation, you might want to investigate farmstays, where the children have a chance to interact with the farm animals.
If you have pets, you can even find lodging that will permit you to bring them along. Many times there is an extra fee. Sometimes, although the inn will not allow pets, they will recommend a nearby kennel.
It’s all up to YOU. Be a smart consumer, and enjoy your getaway!