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Downtown Naperville, IL

Tales From the Innkeeper - The top 5 questions people ask prior to booking a stay at a bed and break

The top 5 questions people ask prior to booking a stay at a bed and breakfast

Many people prefer to stay at a bed and breakfast over a hotel for several reasons, but mostly because B&B's deliver a more custom, unique and personal experience than hotels. To ensure you have a wonderful experience during your stay at a B&B, we've compiled a list of guest's top 5 questions. They are:

1. Are there any furry family members on the premises, and if so what type? Are furry family members allowed as guests?
Pet allergies are common. If you have an allergy to certain pets, or all pets if you are so unfortunate, you need to know if the innkeepers have furry family members - dogs, cats or other.

We've heard a story of one couple ending up at a B&B owned and operated by a cat lady with a couple dozen cats in the place, overflowing litter boxes and animal fur all over the inn. Be informed; you will thank us for it later!

As for allowing furry family as guests - most inns only accept service animals. It's best to plan for someone to care for your pet(s) at home.

2. Can the innkeepers accommodate special dietary needs?

Most B&B's do accommodate special dietary needs, but please give the innkeepers advance notice of those special needs. Advanced notice give the innkeeper time to stock the items they need to meet your needs. If you show up and say, "Oh, by the way, I can't do gluten, and I am a vegan," please do not expect them to have what you need. Innkeepers are very focused on excellent customer service and aim to provide the very best experience for their guests; let them do that for you by being a good communicator!

3.  Is the inn smoking or non-smoking?

We had a guest as this question at a different inn, and the innkeeper responded, "If you are smoking in my inn, you'd better be on fire!"

Whether smoking is or isn't allowed inside an inn depends on many factors, including - but not limited to - guests' safety and fire codes. If smoking is not allowed inside the inn, sometimes it is permitted on a porch. Sometimes, it is only permitted at a location away from the inn, but still on the property, such as a gazebo. Be respectful and follow the inn's rules. The innkeepers have policies in place to protect their guests and adhere to standards.

4.  What style of breakfast do the innkeepers offer, and what time do they serve?

Some inns offer full service breakfasts, alternating days with sweet dishes (French toast, pancakes, etc.) and savory dishes (eggs, omelets, bacon, sausage, etc). Menus are set in advance - with your expressed dietary needs in mind - and served at a set time each day. If the set meal time does not work with your schedule, communicate with the innkeepers. They may have additional options available.

Other inns offer continental breakfasts, often self-serve, that are available over several hours each day. Continental breakfast usually included drink choices - coffee, tea, hot cocoa, juice, milk, etc. - as well as cereal, bagels, toast, pastries and/or croissants.

The different breakfast styles are likely to result in different costs for the stay. 

5.  The most frequent question asked is, "Do I have to share a bathroom with anyone?"
My favorite answer to the question came from my other half when he replied, "Only if you want to."
The age of the inn, the renovations made and the rooms available will all play a role in whether you will have your own en suite bath, or if you must share one. Older inns may have been built with only one "water closet", or bathroom. If the inn has been renovated, it is likely to have many more than one, but still may have a couple of rooms who share one bath.

If the renovations were extensive, or the inn was built more recently, or intentionally to be an inn, it is very likely every room will have an en suite bath. 

Most importantly, when staying at a B&B, if you have special requests and would like to have an amazing experience where ever you choose to stay, do your research. Visit the B&B's website - most have one, and the website can answer the majority of your questions. You can also email, or call the inn. Communication is key to thoroughly enjoying your visit!

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