Modern bed and breakfast (B&B) and Inns wasn't on my list of lodging options when I first started traveling. There were too many options to pick from with all the value hotels and loyalty clubs to choose. It was hard to separate out quality versus price, and there was a huge difference in cost between lodging. One bite of the Bed and Breakfast bug and I were sold on the value of staying at a B&B.
I decided I wanted to shared what I have learned about the value of staying at these beautiful places with the traveling public. My goal was to build a resource with information about what a Bed and Breakfast was since this was lodging I had so little knowledge about myself. I found the history of the original B&Bs to be fascinating, and some of the places I stay at are still reminiscent of those unique old homes.
Knowing the Different Types of Lodging
To help you through the website, here are few definitions!
Bed and Breakfast
Bed and breakfast (B&B) are what we think of when we think of the smaller Victorian homes. They are typically someone's residence, up to 5 bedrooms. Usually, they just serve breakfast, and decor consists of antiques and interesting turn of the century architecture.
Based on categories from the Select Registry website, Bed and Breakfasts on their registry are smaller and more intimate groups of lodging. Their B&Bs typically range in size from 3 to 15 rooms. A full course breakfast is what guest can expect each morning. Generally in a central family style seating area. B&Bs under collections at selectregistry.com contain features in common with one another.
Typically an Inn is a larger establishment, eight rooms or more, they may serve both breakfast and dinner. Some Inns may have an attached Event service.
Based on categories from the Select Registry website, Inns in their registry may have 10 to 40 guestrooms. Their inns are usually founds to offer a daily breakfast and full dinner to guests and public. The Inn staff can vary by location and volume of business. These individuals who staff may include the owner or Inn manager, and some may also employ other professional staff. This collection of Inns can be found under collections at selectregistry.com
Boutique Hotels are small hotels with 10-100 themed rooms typically found in urban areas like New York City and Los Angeles. They are considered an upscale service, however some “no-frill” affordable boutiques have started to catch on.
Based on categories from the Select Registry website, boutique hotels, are independent and experienced in hospitality with approximately 20 to 100 guest rooms. Depending on the hotel, they will offer breakfast and other meals depending on the property. These hotels are typically staffed by the manager and other professional staff as required. This collection of hotels can be found at selectregistry.com
History of the Victorian
Modern Bed & Breakfast (B&B) has an interesting history. After World War II, in the United States, there was a growth of new B&Bs. This growth continued through the 1990s. We typically think of a historic building, or a beautiful Victorian house when a Bed & Breakfast comes to mind. Expensive antiques and decor that fit the period were the sign of the era for a traditional B&B.
Typical service in a B&B was very simple, usually providing a bed, shared bath, and a warm breakfast. Today the modern B&B has evolved to provide to provide sophisticated amenities such as; the internet, cable TV, and on-line reservations. However, the one undeniable fact is the architecture of many of these fabulous homes is anything but simple or understated.
The Victorian House style period is defined from 1840 to 1900. The architects and builders during the Victorian era were enjoying new building materials and access to those materials through better transportation. As a result, we started to see liberal decorations applied to homes. Architectural imagination flourished.
The Queen Anne Style
The Queen Anne house style was by far the most elaborate and romantic Victorian style during the industrial revolution, which stood out during an era that was marked by manufacturing.
The United States caught on to new technologies brought on by the industrial revolution with great excitement and so did the Queen Anne home was seen as very fashionable. A new trend with all the technology in the rapid growth of the railroad system was to create a pre-manufactured architecture for these homes and move them by railway across the country. One such home was the Barber Kit Home.
Intricate home design and extravagant structures, inside and out are the defining feature of a Queen Anne home. Several subcategories can be assigned to the Queen Anne home that help us futher understand how these homes for designed. Many will have some degree of exterior brick or stone. Queen Anne homes are known for their defining turrets or towers, but some do not have this tower feature at all.
Virginia and Lee McAlester, authors of “A Field Guide to American Houses,” identify four types of detailing found on Queen Anne homes. Refer to the website from About Home for additional information.
Four Styles of Queen Anne Homes
Spindled – The typical Queen Anne style house. These will be categorized generally as American Queen Anne as well.
Free Classic – A lot of brickwork, seen in both the American and British Queen Anne homes.
Half-Timbered – This house is a Tudor style. Tudor style was particularly popular in the Australian style Queen Anne home.
Patterned Masonry – Brickwork and masonry containing patterns. These are typical urban setting homes and was particularly notable in the 19th century British Queen Anne homes.
B&B Industry Evolved in Modern Flare, Sophistication, and Technology
The fascinating history of the B&B hospitality industry shows us that we are not willing to let these beautiful buildings fall into ruins. Why do we care about this information, and why is it important to understand how the industry has evolved?
The B&B industry is a valuable lodging option, and these homes provide a niche services, and amenities that can not be easily provided in a typical hotel. Many of these buildings are an important part of our history, and can be preserved, providing many years of service and lodging. In addition to the refurbishing of the historical Victorian style homes, new construction bed and breakfast and Inns has sprung up in addition. Regardless, if the structure of the B&B is a historical Queen Anne house, or a new construction urban boutique hotel, the following are a few of the trending changes that are popping up to appeal to the sophificated modern taste of today's travelers:
- Heavy window treatments are replaced with lighter and brighter ones.
- Open multi-functional common areas have been created.
- Bedspreads and throw pillows are replaced with clean, crisp sheets and duvets to assure that the guest always has a clean bed top to bottom.
- Antiques and clutter are being replaced with just a few well-placed modern decor pieces.
- Outlets, free WiFi, high-speed internet, cell phone recharging stations are added to provide a high level of connectivity for the guest.
- Bathroom ensuites in place of shared bathrooms have become the standard.
Modern Bed and Breakfast and Inns by Location
Guests are often interested in traveling to a geographical area or feature. The Bed and Breakfast industry and travel sites can accommodate this travel demand. There was a time when family trips amounted to driving to a nearby lake, perhaps a national park, setting up a campsite and accommodations were very simple. Today travelers can pull up a search on the internet, enter the destination of their dreams, book vacation lodging anywhere in the country, book transportation, and away they go.
The ability to instantly access thousand of locations from multiple travel sites from home on any device is revolutionizing how travelers and Innkeepers connect.
Build Your Vacation
Today it is possible to design a vacation using the Internet, and quality and comfort do not need to be sacrificed to get the desired location. In the B&B industry, a guest has several travel sites at their disposal that will take them to the B&B or Inn of their choice. Guest searching for lodging in a particular geographic area, such as the mountains or waterfront, need only enter the information into the travel site and search by city and state. The travel site will produce a list of lodging options, and will allow the traveler to pull up the accommodations that can be booked from the travel site, or alternatively the guest may go directly to the lodging website for more details and book directly on the lodging website.