Difference Between New Orleans Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts

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Ask the InnkeeperAccording to a nationwide survey taken recently by the Professional Association of International Innkeepers, only 4% of the traveling public ever thinks about booking a bed and breakfast accommodation. That’s 96% who do not even consider the option. So studying the differences between New Orleans Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts is really not a comparison, but an educational opportunity for those who would like to experience something positively unique and new.There are many misconceptions about staying in a bed and breakfast. Most are derived from old notions of someone renting out a room in their home. Often, these rentals were below standard, and came with lots of restrictions and caveats like curfews, sleeping next door to the owners, sitting at a table with strangers, and sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress. And bathroom facilities were often down the hall and shared.

Fast forward to 2014. Today’s bed and breakfast inns are light-years away from the outdated image. While they keep the tradition of offering lodging in the Innkeeper’s residence, inn accommodations now meet (and often times exceed) hotel standards.
  • avenue-houseProperty:  The uniqueness of the property sets the bed and breakfast apart. A high percentage of these one-of-a-kind lodging establishments are architecturally historic. Innkeepers investing in property search for buildings that have a story to tell. And this makes the experience real and memorable. The Hampton Inn, for example, while a nice place to stay, is not the bed and breakfast inn that it is trying to emulate.
  • Atmosphere:  A boutique hotel is a contemporary structure (with no personality or history), just like all of its counterparts in the industry. That’s why they refer to them as “chain”. But these establishments found their marketing niche by mimicking bed and breakfast concepts: free breakfast, free parking, free WiFi, comfortable beds, upscale linen and the name tag of “Inn”. All great, but its still missing the additional key elements of a bed and breakfast experience.
  • The Little Extras: Bed and breakfasts offer one-on-one service, personalized hospitality, trip planning, and advice that is far more extensive than what a hotel concierge can offer. Need a special diet option? Bed and breakfast inns stock gluten-free and lactose-intolerant substitutes that most hotels have yet to recognize as a trend in customer satisfaction. Want a great restaurant experience? Innkeepers know the best in the area and usually know the owner of the restaurant.
  • Personalized Service: When an Innkeeper makes your reservation, you get VIP treatment and attention. They will give you the straight scoop on local tours, venues and events. Alternatively, hotel staffs generally refer to the places that give them monetary recognition. Hotel staffs go home after their shift and don’t have to give a second thought to advice, but you will be sleeping in the Innkeeper’s home and will join them for breakfast the following day to discuss your experiences.  To an Innkeeper, any advice given must be spot-on to assure complete guest satisfaction and potential future business.

And what about those misconceptions?

avenue-roomPrivate bathrooms that are modern and up-to-date are generally a first priority to today’s bed and breakfasts. They must be en suite (or in the room). Innkeepers say “antiquity stops at the bathroom door,” and that sums up the majority of contemporary bed and breakfast approaches to bathroom offerings.

Gone also are the curfews. Bed and breakfast inns allow guests to come and go as they please at any hour. But many, unlike hotels, have courtesy hours in the evenings and returning guests are asked to be respectful of those who may have already retired. This allows for a great night’s sleep on a comfortable bed with wonderful linen.

WiFi and Linens.  At a bed and breakfast, you can expect free WiFi service in your room. Hotels in the last few years have taken a queue from the inns. Hotels now promote their “heavenly beds and linens”, and some have even posted “quiet floors”, something bed and breakfast operators have featured for years.

avenue-breakfastBreakfast is, of course, one of the best components of the inn experience. There is nothing better than a home-cooked or specialized Continental breakfast served in the dining room, on the porch or patio, or even your room at some properties. You have a choice of sitting with other guests from an abundance of possible locations, or selecting a romantic and cozy cafe table in the garden. The “free” hotel breakfast is most often a pre-made affair using ready-to-heat frozen products that can be less than appetizing. After all, they cannot employ a chef it its free. An Innkeeper, on the other hand, is a skilled culinary expert who will spend hours preparing a gourmet breakfast using family recipes (that you will want to take home), or they have taken into account previous preferences for an extended Continental affair.  The latter is often the case in urban locations to offer longer service times and a lighter option when a big city draw is an abundance of dining opportunities. As with the home-cooked breakfast, this continental offering usually includes broad and upscale choices of cereals, yogurt, pastries, fruit, muffins, juice and hot beverages. Depending on your morning routine, you will want to determine the kind of breakfast featured at the inn of your choice at the time of booking a room.

As for sleeping next door to the owner, well, its highly unlikely that Innkeepers will will want to sleep next to their guests these days. Innkeepers value a small window of privacy away from “business”, and usually locate their accommodations away from guest areas. One might wonder if that is a concern. Here at the Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast, when guests ask about our sleeping quarters, we reply that we are somewhat like Batman and Robin: we retreat to our secret “Bat Cave” (in the property) at night but we are always on duty if the need should come. A simple phone call from the guest room connects the guest to us 24/7. We are always on duty and available, literally.  And we are proud to offer that kind of personal service. Try getting a hold of your hotel General Manager in the middle of the night!

We hope this helps you select the perfect lodging choice during your visit!

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