Thankfully the days are long gone when staying at a bed and breakfast entailed sleeping in someone's spare room with basic amenities (possibly including a tired shag carpet) and a shared bathroom "down the hall". Hardly romantic! In fact, the change is so pronounced that smaller boutique hotels are now incorporating some of the successful qualities of bed and breakfasts into their renovations. The bywords of good quality B&Bs are perfect for those seeking a romantic retreat: intimacy, cosiness, high quality surroundings and a relaxed quiet friendly atmosphere. According to the Travel Industry of America, over 42 million people in the USA had at least one trip last year for occasions such as a honeymoon or anniversary. This is a market to which bed and breakfasts have responded. Many are in attractive older homes which ooze charm, furnished by antiques set in lovely décor.
You can lazily luxuriate in fine linens on a comfortable bed, soak in a two-person bubbling whirlpool bathtub and snuggle up in armchairs to enjoy the ambience of a fireplace - just the place for a romantic break. At our Victoria bed and breakfast we love to hear the oohs and aahs as our guests first enter their room, beholding the beauty of the surroundings they have chosen for their special time. It is very rewarding. Even more rewarding has been the discovery that some guests have become good personal friends.
Personable hospitality is provided by the innkeepers in whose home you stay. They are not there just for an eight hour shift for a pay cheque twice a month. Their livelihood depends on what they offer and how they offer it, so you will rarely be disappointed. Planning. Whilst there can be pleasure in acting spontaneously it is best to take some time in advance to plan your retreat away.
Use the internet to research B&B websites in your area of choice to find the right amenities and setting at the right price. Browse through local B&B associations' websites as well as those of individual establishments. Some will feature romance packages. Perhaps the trip could be a surprise for your partner.
Plan to stay for more than one night to allow time to unwind and enjoy the locality as well as to relax. If the occasion is special it merits paying a little extra to enjoy the finer things of life. Remember that a B&B may be less expensive than an equivalent hotel if only because a full memorable home-cooked breakfast is included in the overnight rate. Activities v non-activities. Togetherness in a different environment is wonderful therapy.
Mix rest and activity; perhaps reading in gardens or strolling on a beach and visiting a local attraction or browsing through antique shops. (Leave work behind - no such conversation, no laptop, perhaps no cell phone.) Bring special treats with you like favourite CDs and DVDs, wine, chocolates, bubble bath etc. Do check if candles and massage oil may be used. Bed and breakfast hosts are glad to extend genuine helpful hospitality so ask your innkeeper for local recommendations - cosy restaurants, a spa, shopping guidance, activity suggestions and the best places for whatever you are interested in. If this is your first bed and breakfast experience it will probably not be your last.
By: Martin Vernon