Why It’s Worth Paying More For A Bed & Breakfast


I recently stayed in a bed and breakfast for the first time. I was a little worried about the experience ahead of time because of all the negative stereotypes about bed and breakfasts I had heard in the past such as having horribly tacky decor and forced socialization with bizarre strangers (Gilmore Girls, anyone?). A little to my surprise, I ended up finding it to be a wonderful experience. Maybe it was just beginner’s luck, but I found that bed and breakfasts, despite sometimes being more expensive, can be a much better value than hotels. Here are some of the positives I found that I felt make them a better value.

Insider information

When you stay at a bed and breakfast, you get access to one or more locals who can give you great tips on what to do and where to eat that you won’t necessarily find in guidebooks. In our case, the B&B owner had pull with some of the local restaurants and was able to get us last-minute reservations at top-notch restaurants that otherwise would have been impossible to get into. This type of personalized service can be particularly indispensable in a foreign country where you don’t know your way around things like the currency or metro systems, provided that the owner speaks your language.

Inability to rely on name recognition

While the Radisson or Marriott can rely on their names to maintain an overall good reputation and get your business in the future even if you have a bad experience at one location, bed and breakfasts don’t have this luxury. They generally only have one location and one set of employees, meaning that they have a major incentive that hotel chains simply don’t have to offer you great service and an overall great experience. If you have a bad experience at a B&B and tell 10,000 people about it on a site like Trip Advisor (no affiliation, though I am a fan of the site), the owners can be in serious trouble since they can’t blame one bad employee or fall back on the revenue from their other 250 locations.


Spring breakers, motorcycle gangs, and other folks who are likely to keep you awake late at night don’t stay at B&B’s. If you’re looking to avoid screaming children, though, make sure to look for places that aren’t family friendly. The place we stayed at only had a couple of rooms with one bed each, which made it highly unlikely that any families would be staying there.


Nothing is guaranteed, but when you’re staying at a smaller place, you’re more likely to know exactly who works there and who has access to your room, which greatly reduces the possibility of you playing the lead in Dateline’s next hotel horror scandal.


Again, with the greater level of personal responsibility that comes with running a B&B, the owners have a greater incentive to keep the place very clean. The B&B I stayed at was probably the cleanest place I have ever slept.

Homemade breakfasts

Forget stale apricot danishes and bran flakes. At many B&B’s, a delicious homemade breakfast is included in the cost of your room. The meal we had would have cost us at least $15 a person in a restaurant. You might argue that you don’t need to spend $15 on breakfast and you’d rather stay somewhere cheaper, and that’s fine, but for me a flavorful, filling breakfast is a rare treat and an ideal way to get my energy up for a busy day of exploring. It can also save you money on your lunch bill when you aren’t as hungry later on because you stuffed yourself silly with homemade french toast and fresh-squeezed orange juice that was actually freshly squeezed.

Meeting other travelers

Bed and breakfasts tend to have a sense of community that makes it easy to talk to other guests, if that’s your thing, whereas in hotels it’s an unwritten rule that you should keep to yourself. If you’re the “keep to yourself” type, your usual tactics will still serve you just fine in a B&B, but if you’re interested in finding some other people to do activities with or just learning from their experiences (i.e. whether you should try the restaurant they ate in last night and what to order), bed and breakfasts are ideal and can enhance your traveling experience.


Where else can you get nice, soft bedding while you’re traveling without staying in an overpriced four or five-star hotel? If you hate the stiff generic comforters and funny foam blankets found in most affordable hotels, you’ll love the bedding at a B&B, which is likely to feel a lot more plush and homey. I enjoyed an old-fashioned quilt, down comforter, and high thread count sheets during my recent stay.

The place I stayed recently cost $150 a night, which is more than I usually spend on a hotel room. B&B’s can run the gamut, from under $100 to over $300, so they aren’t categorically a better deal than hotels (I’d still pick a $100 hotel room over a $300 B&B). B&B’s do have a lot of potential advantages that many people are unaware of, though, which in many cases can make them a better overall value, dollar for dollar.

(Photo courtesy of Larry Lamsa)

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12 Responses to Why It’s Worth Paying More For A Bed & Breakfast

  1. Jen says:

    Wonderful advice! We actually *saved money* by staying at a B&B when we were in Rome, Italy in March (check my blog’s travel tag for posts). I concur with all your points, and would also add that the other travelers at our B&B were Americans, which was nice to come home to in a city full of people who rarely speak English. As for the local advice, we also found that the recommendations we received gave us a truer Roman experience, vs. a “touristy” one.

  2. Lib4 says:

    We just stayed at a B and B for the first time up in upstate NY and I whole heartedly agree with you. The room was huge, the beds were super comfortable, breakfast was delicious, the setting was in the mountians (Saugerties) there was a creek adjacent to the property where we sat with our feet in the water, the staff was superb and it only cost $140/nite….We travel ALOT and we usually spend about $70 (bare bones minimum) to $250 (hotel room in Manhattan) for rooms and the B and B was by far the best room we have ever stayed in. The breakfast was worth $10-$12 per person so the room really only cost a little over $110. Here is the room we stayed in at this highly recommended B and B if you are ever in upstate NY.

    August Room at Albergo Allegria

  3. Innkeeper says:

    I am so pleased that you did not let hollywierd sway your attempt at staying at a Bed & Breakfast! We are all so varied, some new some old, some even with young innkeepers who do not keep garden midgets in their yards!

    I have to say – typically B&B’s are 5 rooms or less, larger than that they are considered an “INN.” So on that note with reference to “STAFF” WE ARE IT! We bought the home, we renovated the home, we landscape the home, grind your beans every morning, we are the ones ironing your pillowcases each night.

    Havign just stayed at a hotel this past weekend, where the stale pastry was the highlight of the meal – I cannot agree with you more – – at B&B’s we never forget the second B! Breakfast will be bountiful and satisfying. Coffee will be good – we won’t let you out to search for a fiveBucks for coffee…

    Come and see us in Blue Ridge Country – http://www.ClaiborneHouse.net

    Where you can throw a rock in any direction and hit a musician…this is where our country began.

  4. As an innkeeper, I thank the author for an accurate accounting of the real B & B experience. I will tell you that innkeepers take things to heart – they may have books filled with wonderful comments from happy guests, but that one guest that they were unable to satisfy – for whatever reason, no matter how hard they tried to please – will bother for a long time. We do not say goodbye and forget our guests – why many have become family friends over the years.
    I am proud to say that we have had many “first-timers” who leave as converts. My 3 guestroom B & B is in a very small city (2250) and near a rail-trail. We make every attempt to cater to our guests dietary needs and food dislikes as well as their schedules – breakfast is between 4 AM and 10 AM. As 1 of almost 100 members of the MountainState Association of Bed & Breakfasts in West Virginia, I hope you will visit our State and experience the hospitality of our B & Bs, Country Inns, and Guest Houses. You will find all of us at http://www.wvbnbs.com.

  5. A non Mouse says:

    This was a great post, I will take it to heart for my upcoming anniversary.

  6. Thank you for ‘taking a chance’ on a B&B!

    You’ve done a great job of highlighting the things many first time B&B-goers worry about and then allaying their fears.

    Yes, the breakfasts are great, the rooms are clean, the innkeepers know their town and you DO meet other guests from around the world.

    For the most part, where I live, a B&B is your best bet for value. You get a comfy room, an inspired breakfast and hosts who truly care that you have a good stay.

    (Today I ran out to the local chocolate factory to buy a sweet gift for a couple of newlyweds who called from the road. They pulled in 5 minutes after I got home and never knew we had ‘run out’ to get them a fun reminder of their honeymoon. It’s all part of the deal at a B&B!)

  7. baselle says:

    I enjoyed my stay at a B&B in Forks, WA. Another point is that pretty much any little interesting town has a B&B, while hotels often have to think about traffic and location. If you travel off the beaten path, a B&B can be a lifesaver!

  8. A Tentative Personal Finance Blog says:

    Does anyone know any websites I can find information on B&Bs in the midwest? I want to plan a one year anniversary thing for my wife by September.

  9. Innkeeper says:

    He wrote: “Does anyone know any websites I can find information on B&Bs in the midwest?”

    YES! Two ideas – first google the town or region and add bed breakfast into it, or use a multiple directory, ie http://www.bbonline.com or http://www.bedandbreakfast.com these have maps of regions, states and how far a B&B is located from the next B&B etc.

    If they have a nice website then you know they pay attention to detail. If they have a cruddy website, then skip to the next one. You should be able to get a feel for the B&B right off the bat from the website. So if you use a multiple directory to locate them – click thry that to their website and book from there. Many have advertised specials.

    The author of this article mentioned Trip Advisor – that is a good place to see what some other guests wrote, but do not take it 100%, as ANYONE can write anything.

    All the best in your journey!

  10. bnbtraveler says:

    This is a good article that points out the highlights of most B&Bs. And there’s more! Many B&Bs also offer free WiFi, complimentary snacks & refreshments, great attention to detail in amenities (such as high quality bath soaps/shampoo), travel items if you’ve forgotten something, and concierge services, just like hotels. And you might not necessarily pay more for all that, it could be considerably less than the local hotel. All with the comfort of individually decorated rooms and lovely common areas and grounds. The only time we stay in a hotel anymore is if we just need a place to stay on the Interstate.

  11. Chloe says:

    Don’t forget that when you call a bed and breakfast, chances are you are talking to the owner. If you are booking mid week, are planning to stay several days or are calling at the last minute, we will often give you a good deal. I own Big Mill Bed and Breakfast in eastern North Carolina, and I once had a guest who stayed ten months! He really got a good deal. Come see us at http://www.BigMill.com

  12. Susan says:

    It is nice to hear so many people finding B&B’s and Inns as a great alternative to the larger more inpersonal chains. I have owned my Inn for 8 years, which we lived in as a family before that. We have renovated, painted and put in all new bathrooms throughout our historic home. We know that our amenities far exceed that of our fellow local Inns and B&B’s, but I think that it is also one of the reasons that we have such a high return rate with our guests. We do not nickle and dime our guests. If ever in Rochester, NY – look us up at http://www.edwardharrishouse.com

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