What Amenities Can I Expect at a NOLA Bed and Breakfast?

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button-asktheinnkeeperNo matter where they’re located, bed and breakfast inns go to great lengths to set themselves apart, both from traditional hotel lodging options, and even from each other.  While the details may vary, each and every one wants to provide their guests with an experience to remember, and a reason to come back.  The number and quality of amenities may or may not be reflected in the price of a room.  It stands to reason that inns that provide the widest variety and most luxurious of amenities may be more expensive than others.
 
Here are some of the amenities that you might find at a New Orleans Bed and Breakfast.  While not many inns will offer all of these, each will offer what they have found to be a good mix for their own preferences and their guests’ preferences:
 

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Ambiance
A bed and breakfast is a unique experience in and of itself.  But to have room for a number of guests at once, each tends to be in a large home.  And in New Orleans, this means that many are in some gorgeous and historic Grande Damme houses.  Indoor decor may also vary from general antiques to different themes for each room.  But no matter what they look like and how they are decorated, each is a HOME to the innkeeper(s), and often provide an intimacy and friendliness that hotels often lack.
 
Common Areas
Besides ambiance, common areas are probably THE one thing that sets a bed and breakfast apart from a hotel.  A bed and breakfast is often an actual innkeeper’s residence, meaning you may find a true dining room, living room, sitting area, porch/patio/veranda, and sometimes even a library – most all of which guests are free to use at their leisure.  And because of the intimate nature of an inn, using these will actually be comfortable and enjoyable!
 
Private Bathrooms
Bed and breakfasts are continually trying to compete with area hotel/motel lodging choices. Because of this, many provide private bathrooms in each and every guestroom, or at the very least a large number of their guestrooms.  All will have at least the basic pieces including shower, if not a shower/tub combo.
 
Toiletries
Soap and shampoo can be such a little thing, but they can be the little thing to make a stay complete.  Ranging from eco-friendly to uber-luxe, innkeepers tend to follow their own likes and beliefs when providing these little extras.  After all, don’t YOU like to recommend great products to friends?
 

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In-Room Amenities
Standard “hotel” amenities like coffeemakers, hair dryers, TV with cable, and irons/boards are often provided.  Of course, innkeepers want to make you as comfortable as possible during your stay, and they may show this in the mattress, bedding, towels, and robes (if offered).  Some may have working fireplaces in some rooms, and some will even provide daily touches like mints on pillows and fresh flowers daily.
 
Local Calls
Whether in your room or from a central location, most all inns offer free local calling these days (despite the likelihood that their guests will use cell phones).  It is always important to have a land-line linked to the inn for emergency purposes, and guests are usually free to use this line for in-area calling as needed.
 
Wireless Internet
Again, because they are competing with other lodging choices, most B&Bs offer free wireless internet with your room.
 
Breakfast
Of course a bed and breakfast provides your first meal of the day.  The extent and content can vary somewhat.  Some innkeepers love to cook on a grand scale, providing a full multi-course breakfast for guests.  Others, knowing that NOLA is such a foodie town, provide some variety of lighter Continental fare, knowing that guests will likely indulge in the city’s culinary treasures for the rest of the day.
 
Snacks/Drinks
This also varies from inn to inn.  Some offer snacks/water, others do not.  Some offer these amenities only at certain times of the day, while others have a place where you can go for refreshment 24/7.
 
Off-Street Parking
The ability to park off-street is important to some.  This is especially important for inns located on parade routes during certain times of the year.  While not every inn is able to offer this amenity, many do.  Be sure to ask before booking your room if this is important to you.
 
Quiet Hours
Some inns request that their guests be respectful of others during certain times of the evening/night to assure everyone gets a good night’s rest.
 
Security
The level of security may vary from inn to inn.  Some have a locked gate to the property to which you will receive a key.  Others have main door security of some kind (whether a key lock or digital keypad).  Some have security cameras, while others might have someone on staff at all hours to keep an eye on the property.  Some have an open-door front door policy, but provide keys to your room.  Others do any number of the above.  Each will use the method which is best for them, and each should familiarize their guests with security procedures upon their arrival (of not before).
 
Concierge
Because the innkeepers live here, they usually know the best places to steer their guests for food, entertainment, shopping, or almost any other needed diversion.  Some actively cultivate relationships with certain establishments which lets their guests enjoy little benefits with their visit.  There are innkeepers who enjoy telling you about the city personally, and others who provide varying amounts of information in the form of fliers, magazines, and even electronic means.  Some will make reservations and reserve tickets, and others will provide shuttle service and even show you around a bit as they do.
 
Spa Services
Those inns wishing to provide the ultimate in luxury and relaxation may offer some sort of on-site spa amenities.  This may be as simple as the use of a hot tub or pool, or it may be more complex like the ability to schedule in-room massages.  Some have agreements with local spas, and others have full spa amenities right in the inn.  This is often the largest factor in room prices, so be aware when planning your stay.
 
While very few NOLA bed and breakfast inns provide each and every one of these amenities, all will provide a varying mix.  Become familiar with what “little extras” are offered with your stay, and choose the inn that meets those that are important to you.

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