I think the biggest misconception about B&B’s – for people who have never stayed at a B&B, or for those who are just unaware – is that a B&B is not a hostel. And, there are those who do not seem to understand the difference.
A B&B, Not a Hostel
A hostel is most often a communal accommodation where guests share rooms, dormitory style, (some do offer private rooms) share bathrooms and have kitchen privileges. Guests are often expected to make/strip their bed, prepare their food, clean the kitchen and empty the garbage, etc., and the rates for the most part are inexpensive. The hostel here in Ashland charges $28/night for a single bed in a dormitory room.
A B&B, on the other hand, offers none of the above. At least this one doesn’t!
Behind the Kitchen Door
I’ve mentioned before that many have suggested I write a book. I think I would title it, Behind the Kitchen Door – What the Innkeeper Won’t Tell You. That’s not to say the innkeeper doesn’t want to tell you, but rather some things are best left unsaid. You know the old saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all?”
Like in any work environment, there is usually a constant dance of balancing the good with the not so good. As an innkeeper, the good includes meeting interesting people, living in a fabulous turn-of the-century home, (which supports you financially) working alongside your partner and answering to no one, other than your partner, and living life on your terms. Oh, and the smell of fresh-baked cookies. Everyday.
But with the good comes the maybe not so good. I’ve told the story, in a previous post, about the woman who if she had taken one more step she would have been in our private apartment. Or, the first – and last – time we left the inn without closing/locking the kitchen door and came back to find a woman doing the dishes, which she had helped herself to.
Pretty early into this gig we grew weary of guests standing at the kitchen door and calling out, “Hellloooo!” Abi, ever so brilliant, installed this door bell right next to the kitchen door, and it ding-dongs in our apartment. All too often though we still hear, “Hellloooo!” 😉
Here’s the thing. A B&B, is in fact a business which offers accommodations, but it is still a private home. But there are those who don’t seem to understand the concept. For example: I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone to answer the door to find someone twisting, pushing, pulling, and tugging at the door knob trying to get into the house.
And when that doesn’t work they press their face up against the glass. I’m not sure what they’re expecting to see, but nevertheless it’s common practice. I always answer the door with a smile, ask for their name, and then proceed to tell them our doors are locked to ensure their safety. Sometimes, they “hear” me. More times, they don’t.
Sometimes we have very accommodating guests in that they’ll open the door to let people in, not having a clue in the world as to who those people are. I remember one time when a guest let a couple (who were not registered guests) into the house because we were gone. Gone, being the operative word. In her mind she was being helpful. In my mind, not so much.
Without Our Knowledge
The other night the phone rang around 7:30 p.m. The caller was one of our guests and she was asking for something she had placed in the freezer and since the kitchen was now closed, was it possible for us to get it for her. Long story short, she had gone into the kitchen – without our knowledge – and placed her item in the freezer. No problem you say?
Well, actually it is because county health permits mandate that no outside food or whatever, can be in the inn’s kitchen. If I wanted to keep a jug of milk – in the fridge for my personal use – I would have to label the fridge shelf personal and nothing else could be on the same shelf. I don’t do this as we have a refrigerator in our apartment, but you see the issue.
A B&B, Not a Hostel
But I digress. Of course the woman who placed the item in the freezer didn’t know she was was not supposed to go into the kitchen, but it goes back to not understanding the difference between a hostel and a B&B. Let me put it this way. When you check into a hotel, such as a Hampton Inn, do you think your room comes with kitchen privileges? I think not. But there are guests who think because their hotel room happens to be in someone’s home, it changes the game plan and they are free to roam, when in fact just the opposite is true.
The Heart of the Home
And let’s face it. The kitchen is the heart of the home. How many times have you hosted a dinner party and found everyone standing crowded in your kitchen instead of enjoying your lovely living room or patio? Why is that anyway? There are mornings when Abi and I have been in the kitchen preparing breakfast for up to 16 guests only to have 1 guest decide to walk into the kitchen so he/she can stand and chat with us.
We understand the reasoning, they want to chat and get to know us, so we just smile and explain they must stay just outside the kitchen door. And truth be told I have a hard time chatting it up when I’m juggling 12 other things. Especially, when 1 guest is lactose intolerant, the other gluten free, and two are vegetarians while one doesn’t eat red meat and the rest will eat anything I put in front of them.
What’s an Innkeeper To Do?
So what’s an innkeeper to do? Well, I should say that 98.3% of our guests are lovely and understand boundaries. It’s the other 1.7% that sometimes make me a bit …. hmm, what’s the word? We can usually tell within the first hour of someone’s stay as to whether or not the kitchen door will be open during the day, or closed. And, I just have to remind myself that they don’t mean any harm, they’re just …