Thursday, July 2, 2015

B&Bs versus hotels

This past weekend, I was chatting with my sister-in-law, and she mentioned that she had never stayed at a bed & breakfast before, which is our hands-down favorite choice for accommodations.  Right now, I'm eating lunch (at 10:57 a.m.) by myself, so that seems to me that it's the perfect time to wax poetic on why we prefer ye olde B&B over a hotel stay any day.  But I'm also going to throw this curve ball in here: we're starting to really appreciate the Airbnb option (or VRBO, which we've had similar success with).

Okay.  Hotels - you're always my last resort option.  You're fairly impersonal, you don't give many options (typically) in your room set-up, your breakfasts (if included) are nearly always calorie and sodium laden, and you're not kind of expensive for what you offer.  I see how you're working on picking up the pace and trying to come across as all bed-and-breakfasty, but you're clearly still a chain deal.  Props to many of you, however, on upping the ante with more luxe "complimentary" grooming products (the rosemary/mint shampoo and conditioner from a stay almost two years ago still resonates with me).  Be that as it may, you're just not my style.  I kinda don't ever want to see you again, and it's definitely not me.  It's you.

Now then.  Bed and breakfasts - you're the love of my traveling life.  Sure, there are plenty that are fussy and stuffed with kitsch.  I ignore those of you who are like that.  You're rather like the random aunt who lives half way across the country and never visits but occasionally calls and makes you answer "Oh, hi Aunt...Gertie!" as you try to remember her name.  You like that aunt, sure, but generally speaking, you barely remember to send her a Christmas card.  So you, B&Bs, are sometimes a mixed-bag, but there's some glory in that for me.  When the first whisper of an overnight stay comes up in conversation, you can bet your delicious breakfast options that I'm jumping on the inter-web to see what kinds of options we have to choose from.  A lot of times, you're cheaper than or very similarly priced to any hotel options, and your breakfasts are so, soooo, much better 95% of the time (that's scientifically fact-ish).  In fact, I could keep coming back to your breakfasts because we've never been led astray by the promises that you make to us.  They're often h-u-g-e, eggy, bacony, and pastry-y, but in a handmade way rather than a unwrap-an-Otis-Spunkmeyer-blueberry-muffin way (sideways glare at you, hotels).  And when I'm traveling, my money is always on the calorie/sodium laden handmade goods every time.  Because that's worth it in my diet upon occasion.  (Otis Spunkmeyer...never worth it.)  I love your bathrooms, B&Bs.  They're often quaint and homey.  I dig your love of the king-sized bed and big fluffy comforters.  I adore the feel of staying as a guest in a house of someone that you don't really have to socialize with.  I dig how you often use china and good silver for breakfast.  I thrill to the hardwood floors and garden views that you provide so often.  And I love love love how you're often nestled in residential locations rather than situated in the middle of stark parking lots with freeways or a McDonald's nearby.  You are the perfect night-away-without-children option.  If we're traveling with the girls, however, this is about the only time that we encounter any problems with you as it can be hard to find a suitable option with space for everyone.  Despite that sometimes set-back, bed & breakfasts, you are a quality choice, pretty much every time. 

And a quick shout out to the burgeoning airbnb/VRBO option: you're pretty nifty, sometimes.  Unfortunately, you're often kind of a weird choice.  But sometimes (especially if I'm scouting places to stay in cool locales versus where I actually live), you bring up choices like old carriage houses or urban lofts, row houses or converted warehouses.  And you have one major factor going for you, rental-by-owner option - you're the easiest and often cheapest family-friendly option.  Kudos to you for that flexibility. 

Just writing this makes me want to go travel somewhere again.  Money well spent.

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