Hotel or Bed and Breakfast Inn? Which Should You Choose?

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Many people have the wrong idea about what a Bed and Breakfast Inn really is. First we are going to answer some common questions and debunk the myths about B&Bs and help to find out if staying at a Saint Augustine Bed and Breakfast might be for you.  Then we will give you some really good tips and questions to ask when you are selecting the perfect bed and breakfast inn for you.

Is a Bed and Breakfast Inn for me?

Do you like smaller, more personal, intimate accommodation?
You like the idea of individually decorated rooms.
You like quiet settings instead of busy roads.
You want to choose if there are children or pets where you stay.
Would you like to have the personal attention and expertise of an innkeeper?
You may want to try a Bed And Breakfast!

You want a gym.
You check in and out at strange times
You don’t like to be pampered.
You like the anonymity of a big hotel.
You may just want to stay at a hotel.

Common Questions about Bed & Breakfast Inns Debunked!
Do I have a curfew? Are the doors locked at a certain time?

No, there is no curfew and the doors are locked, but most bed and breakfast inns will give you a key or door code. You can come and go as you please. Ask about a key or code for getting into the Bed & Breakfast when you call to check if this is the Bed and Breakfast Inn for you. Each Bed and Breakfast is different so be sure to check their website and call to ask questions.

Casa de Solana - St Augustine Bed and Breakfast Inn
Casa de Solana – St Augustine Bed and Breakfast Inn

There’s no privacy.

Wrong! You have plenty of privacy. All of the best inns have lots of private areas and your room should be quiet and interruption free.  You will not be forced to interact with other guests. No, the innkeeper will not be making you sit down and look at family photos. It is not like that at all. Being and innkeeper is a business and not a hobby. Your innkeeper will be professional and helpful. In Saint Augustine there are small and large Bed and Breakfast Inns. If you are at one of the smaller inns you may not even see the other guests. Bet you can’t do that at a hotel.

44 Spanish Street - St. Augustine Bed & Breakfast Inn
44 Spanish Street – St Augustine Bed and Breakfast Inn

Do I have to share a bathroom with strangers?

Most Bed & Breakfasts today do have private bathrooms. Be sure to check on the website of the inn that you are looking at and also be sure to use the question checklist at the bottom of this article.  Nowadays, there are usually, en suite bathrooms that are located right in your room or non en suite private bathrooms that are across the hall from your room but still private in that only you will be the one using this bathroom. Very rarely is there a shared bathroom. You will find this mainly in Europe.

Will I have to sit with strangers and have to make small talk at breakfast?

It is true that at some of the Bed and Breakfast inns you may sit with other people. There are also B&B’s that do have smaller tables available so that you don’t have to sit with others. The best thing to do is check to see what type of breakfast is offered at the Bed & Breakfast that you are looking at.  This may be listed on their website or be sure to call to see what is offered. There are different types:

  • Family Style – Everyone sits together at a certain time
  • Continental – A time range is set where fruit, pastries, coffee, juice, muffins and breads are served.
  • Buffet – A time range is set up where you will enjoy a wide range of breakfast food.
  • Made to Order – time range with limited daily menu

Many breakfast menus are planned in advance. It’s a great idea to let your innkeeper know if you have any dietary issues. That way they can accommodate you when you stay with them. Again check our list at the end of this article.

Penny Farthing Inn - St Augustine Bed and Breakfast Inn
Penny Farthing Inn – St Augustine Bed and Breakfast Inn

I don’t want to say in some old musty house with doilies.

Many Bed and Breakfast Inns have some history but the décor is very diverse. Check the website of the inn that you are looking at for pictures of each room and from other areas at the inn. You will be surprised at how much they DON’T look like someone’s grandmother’s house. There are some great historic and contemporary inns available in Saint Augustine.

Check here for availability and more info on the inns.

Bed and Breakfasts are just too expensive.

Not necessarily. Yes, it does depend on the time of year, but if you compare what you get with a hotel you cannot beat the price. Not only to you have a wonderfully unique room, but many have a whirlpool tub in the room, free wifi, and luxury textiles. Many B&Bs stock soft drinks, coffee and tea makings, wine and beer, snacks, fresh fruit, cookies, candies, evening desserts, and sherry in a guest pantry or dining room, and these items are usually FREE! Have you checked mini fridge prices at your favorite hotel? They are not free.

Your Bed & Breakfast Checklist.

Now that you found the bed and breakfast inns that you want to check out in Saint Augustine. Check here for more information. Now be sure to call the innkeeper and ask these questions to be sure you have found the right fit for you.

  1. Do the rooms have en suite bathrooms?
  2. What type/size of bed is in the room?
  3. When is breakfast? 
  4. Can we have a private table? (if this is important to you)
  5. Do you allow children?
  6. Do you allow pets?
  7. Is there off street parking?
  8. Ask about street noise.
  9. What amenities are in each room?
  10. Be sure to tell the innkeeper about allergies or dietary needs. Some inns have pets that live there with the innkeepers.
  11. Are there house rules?
  12. Ask if there are special rates or vacation special packages during the time that you’d like to stay.
  13. Ask what is included in the price of your room.
  14. If you have mobility concerns be sure to ask how you get to your room. Many inns have upstairs and downstairs rooms.
Jerry Houman
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