Where do I start looking for a great B&B?

Okay so we finally convinced you to try a bed and breakfast as part of your upcoming anniversary celebration.  So now you need to know where do I start looking to find the right one?

best B&Bs in Maine

Walk to the Lobster Festival from Berry Manor Inn.

First of all, try asking your friends or colleagues about the best B&Bs in Maine that they have visited or put a post out there on FaceBook to see where friends of friends have recently traveled and enjoyed.  Word of mouth of course is still one of the greatest ways to find that perfect B&B. Then search around the internet for the area you are traveling to and check out websites of inns.  What speaks to you?  Are you a small boutique inn type feel (a little larger property) or a B&B on a vineyard or a farm?  The B&B’s website or sites like Pinterest will give you lots of information, photographs and package options to ponder. Then you can validate what you are sensing as the experience described by the inn with other 3rd party resources.

There are a number of great resources on the internet to help in the search for the perfect B&B.  Review sites such as TripAdvisor.com and yelp.com both offer a collection of reviews by previous guests to the establishment.  Reading them will help you to gain a sense of what the B&B is like.  For better or worse, we are a society where everyone can voice their opinion in lightning speed to an audience of bazillion people.  Were the guests that were unhappy – unhappy because the ambiance was too formal for them or not formal enough?  Did prior guests comment about the owners being around and being helpful or that they never saw the owner?  Is there a general positive theme to the guest rooms, bath and breakfast or a definite negative theme about breakfast not offering choice or not being homemade or the beds too soft?  You need to look for themes not just a single unhappy guest. One can read the “theme” of reviews on sites like Trip Advisor, yelp.com, bedandbreakfast.com, etc. to see if the experience described by the majority of reviewers (not the outliers) is the experience that you are looking for with your escape.

Bedandbreakfast.com, BBfinder.com and bbonline.com are several of the many directories of bed and breakfasts.  Most of them are organized so that you can search by State or specific city you plan on visiting and then you can filter with “fireplace”, “whirlpool”, “spa”, “water view” or other features or settings that may be of interest to you.  They too feature reviews from previous guests to give you an idea of how the B&B experience was for past guests.

Is the inn part of Select Registry or have an AAA Four Diamond rating or a Mobile Rating?  These types of 3rd party rating systems all conduct periodic on-site inspections and have specific criteria that must be met to maintain their rating or inclusion in the member group. Part of the inspection includes the quality, décor and upkeep of the guestrooms, common areas, exterior and grounds.  Another part is the concierge service element, the check in process and the amenities in the room.  Lastly, the breakfast – the quality, quantity and the ambiance of the breakfast service is all part of the inspection because it is all part of the guest experience.  These independent inspections do help to take the “fear factor” out of the B&B experience.  Additionally, if you do have an experience that is less than expected by an inspected property, you have the ability to speak with the 3rd party about the issues and it will be investigated.

Select Registry is made up of about 470 inns and B&Bs throughout the country and Canada that tend to be higher end properties.  All of these properties will have private baths and many will offer higher end features like whirlpool tubs, rain showers, steam showers, oversized tubs for two or body jet showers.  They will also all have complimentary Wi-Fi and most will have flat screen TVs in the room although a few will have a media room instead (description should tell you).

The best part of all is to go in with an open mind and be ready to enjoy the experience. Enjoy some pampering, a lot of romance and really getting the low-down on the area you are visiting to make the most of your great escape.  Life is too complicated not to take some time to reconnect with your partner and enjoy some fun down time together.

Wishing you safe travels and looking forward to showing you our bed and breakfast in Rockland, Maine one day.

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