Americans are now embracing what Europeans have known all along: The comforts of bed and breakfast inns often outweigh those in a hotel. Most of them offer not only a relaxing place to sleep but an experience that enables you to have a taste of the area.
Many travelers have discovered the charm and warmth of most bed and breakfast type inns, so they have gained in popularity over the past couple of decades. While staying in a B&B is similar to being in a hotel, there are some additional etiquette rules you should know and follow.
Remember that many people who run this type of establishment generally live there, so treat it with respect as you would anyone’s home. The furniture, glasses, towels, and other items belong to them, so never remove these items from the premises; taking them would be stealing. You are a guest in someone's home, so show respect for the hosts.
If you treat the establishment and the hosts with the respect they deserve, they'll welcome you back and may even give you preferential treatment when you call to reserve a room. You don't want to annoy them or have them dread seeing you return.
Bed and Breakfast Etiquette Rules
When you stay at a bed and breakfast, the first thing you need to do is find out if they have any special rules at that particular establishment.
Here are some standard guidelines that you will find at most places:
- Don’t expect to check in before the listed time unless you have made prior arrangements. When it is time to check out, make sure you have removed all your belongings from the room. The innkeeper needs to change the sheets and get the room ready for the next guest. Many B&Bs stay booked, and you should never infringe on someone else’s time.
- Ask about house rules and follow them. The rules were established for a reason. If you have an issue with them, discuss your concerns with the owner. You might learn the reason the rule was made.
- Don’t make noise while others may be sleeping. Keep your voices down in the early morning hours and late at night. During the day, talk in soft tones.
- If you have children with you, make sure they behave and follow all the rules. Don't allow them to run down the halls, jump on furniture, or bother other guests.
- Show up for meals and other planned activities on time and dressed appropriately. Don't go to breakfast still wearing your pajamas.
- Don’t take more than your share of the food or drinks during meals or tea. Make sure there is plenty for other guests. After everyone has been served, you may ask for more if you can see that there is enough left.
- Feel free to ask the innkeeper questions about the area, but don’t monopolize their time. There may be other guests who need attention.
- Be as neat as possible in the bathroom. Whether it is private or shared with other guests, you don't want to gross out anyone who enters after you leave. If you are sharing a bathroom with other guests, don't dawdle.
- Never smoke in the bed and breakfast unless you ask permission first, even in the rooms. You may think you can get away with it without the innkeeper’s knowledge, but they will find out. Telltale signs of smoking such as smells, ashes, or discarded cigarette butts may have the host asking you to leave.
- Be polite to other guests, even if you disagree with something they say. Don't crowd others or invade their personal space.
- At the end of the stay, leave a tip with a short thank you note letting the innkeeper know what you liked about your visit. If you are feeling generous, send a small thank you gift after you return home.
- Leave a review for future B&B customers. Make sure you provide details, such as any extra things the innkeeper does to make your stay a pleasant experience.
Always exhibit good everyday manners. Everyone will have a much nicer time if proper etiquette is followed.