To B&B or Not to B&B
If that’s your question, then this article might help you to decide if staying at a bed & breakfast is right for you.
On our recent vacation through southern British Columbia and then down into Washington, we spent two nights in a lovely bed & breakfast in Osoyoos, BC, situated right on the border between Canada and the United States.
The White Horse Bed & Breakfast is positioned above the Osoyoos town site and offers stunning views of the valley and lake. There are three guest rooms downstairs: The Prairie Room, The Northern Room, and The Wine Room. We stayed in The Wine Room. Our hosts, Ron and Darlene, made us feel welcome and both mornings, Ron prepared a full, two-course breakfast at the dining room table located just off their top deck and with views overlooking Osoyoos. Delicious and beautiful!
Our hosts, although new to the bed & breakfast business, ran the B&B smoothly and professionally. Both seemed relaxed and genuinely happy to have all of us strangers sleeping in their basement and eating their food. Ron and Darlene are great people, and I admire their adventurous attitude and their business-savvy.
At breakfast on the morning of our second night there, a fellow guest asked a good (but rhetorical) question: If you can stay in a place like this, why would you ever stay in a hotel? Immediately and silently, I began compiling my reasons. I’ll share these with you now.
A Stranger’s Home
For me, there was no way to feel completely at ease in someone else’s home. We whispered and tip-toed around so as not to disturb the owners or other guests. When in the common areas, the spacious TV room with wet bar and fridge and the lower deck, I was always on edge, nervous that someone would walk in and join us. I’m an outgoing and friendly person, perhaps a bit above average in this respect. And yet I felt I had to brace myself to meet someone new around every corner. At the bed & breakfast, I could never fully relax.
At a hotel, I pay for the service of staying there and then do whatever the heck I want. I’m quiet and courteous but I am also relaxed. I’m not worried that other guests will be disturbed by my presence in this big hotel. If I see other hotel guests in the hallways, elevator, or common areas, I can greet them or not. Friendliness is optional. I don’t have to be “on” all the time. I can lock that heavy door and fully enjoy the privacy I paid for.
Breakfast was at 8:30 every morning. This was necessary, of course, as it’s a sit-down affair with all guests (usually six) seated around a formally-set table. Everyone is fed at one time.
I felt really hemmed in by this set breakfast time. Not because this time is unreasonable or unusual, but because I’m used to staying in hotels where breakfast is often available for several hours and I can eat whenever I want or not at all, which is also a nice option. At a hotel, no one is waiting for me to come to breakfast and wondering where I am if I don’t show.
At a hotel, I eat as little or as much as I want to. No one dishes me up and I clean up my own mess when I’m done eating. I’m most comfortable with this arrangement.
At a hotel, no one cares about my life. I like that. Pleasantries and credit card information is exchanged at check in. New arrivals are told about the pool, the breakfast, and about check out time. That’s it and that’s enough. No one asks where you live or about your family or about where you’re headed next. No one cares and that’s fabulous.
At a B&B, especially around the breakfast table, there’s a mild expectation that guests will introduce themselves to other guests and share a bit about themselves. Sometimes I don’t want to share. I’m barely interested in myself. Why would I expect anyone else to be interested?
Sometimes I want to eat with my life partner without sharing a table with four total strangers. This shared breakfast experience was a little more than awkward both mornings. The other guests were all great, easy conversationalists with good-humoured dispositions. Yet I dreaded those morning meet and greets. The pressure of meeting strangers for a formal breakfast was anxiety inducing and is probably the biggest reason I didn’t enjoy the B&B experience.
A Very Nice B&B
If you enjoy meeting new people and exchanging stories, a bed and breakfast is probably a great choice for you. I think The White Horse is a good B&B for those who like staying at B&Bs. The rooms are large and luxuriously appointed. Each guestroom has its own bathroom complete with bathrobes. Tea and coffee are available at the wet bar in the common area at all times, and in the evening, Ron brings down snacks for the guests. How nice is that?
I’m always learning new things about myself and my first B&B visit taught me that I’m a more private person than I thought. I enjoy my own space and I enjoy not feeling like I’m staying in my parents’ basement. I want to feel free to come and go and eat when I like. Above all, I want to be free and I guess that’s why a B&B is not for me.
Thanks for being with me today. I hope this piece gave you some insight in the B&B experience. If you haven’t tried one, definitely do! B&Bs may be just what you’re looking for and leave you wondering why you ever stayed in hotels at all. Until next time, take care.