Hotel vs. B&B - what do you prefer?

Jul 31st, 2006, 02:32 PM
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Hotel vs. B&B - what do you prefer?

My family usually stays in hotels when we travel. We are going to Italy this September and this time around, I decided to give some Bed & Breakfasts (B&B) a try, picking B&Bs that were raved about on Tripadvisor and elsewhere. I liked the idea of saving some money, although truth be told, I did see B&Bs that cost as much as or more than decent hotels - but Italy can be expensive in September.

Do I have anything to worry about with B&Bs? We usually stay at 3-1/2 to 4 star hotels (sometimes better on special occasions). We're not rich, but we don't travel budget style either. For example, we have stayed at the Grand Wailea in Maui, Bellagio/Venetian/MGM in Las Vegas, Hiltons & Hyatts in various places and we have also stayed at Holiday Inns (in the US) for short stays as long as the hotels were clean and provided basic ammenities. Please share your preferences and/or experiences.

Here's a list of the places I have booked so far for our Italy trip - please let me know what you think (comments, suggestions, etc.) and if you think there's anything I should be concerned about in terms of hotel or B&B location/accommodations/service/amenities/costs:

- Rome: Hotel Cosmopolita
- Sorrento: Il Rosetto B&B
- Venice: Corte 1321 B&B (formerly Ca Bernardi)
- Varenna: Albergo Milano (in their Casa Gialla building)
- Milan: Hotel Dei Cavalieri

annimal is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 04:49 PM
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I have not been to any of the places that you have listed. However, we have been to some B&B's in Italy, and they are wonderful.

We usually stay in similar places in the US (Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui, The Wynn/THE hotel at Mandalay in Vegas). We prefer when travelling in Europe not to do the big chain hotels but stay in smaller hotels and B&B's with charm, atmosphere and often some of the best owner/employees you could find.

If they are raved about on tripadvisor you are probably doing pretty well. Another option to get more feedback is repost with a new title, i.e.: "What do you think of these Italian hotels and B&B's?" and you may get more people telling you about their specific expereiences at these locations.

jgg is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 05:01 PM
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I think it's just personal preference.

I like the anonymity of a hotel and don't like the feeling of staying in someone's "home". Just me.
bettyk is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 05:42 PM
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We stay at both when we travel. Sometimes I think I don't want to stay at a B&B and eat breakfast with a lot of strangers, but many of those times end up being the most memorable and enjoyable.
wrenwood is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 05:42 PM
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I tend to agree with bettyk. A small hotel-say 10 or 15 rooms- may be the best of both worlds.
JEFF_ is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 05:46 PM
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Hi annimal, I have stayed at a few B&B's in Italy but I prefer small 3 star hotels.

I won't go into why I am not fond of B&B's as I did that on the Australian Board and got royally chewed out by a poster, lol.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 05:46 PM
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I like local 2-3/star type hotels best. Never tried a B&B because I don't like the idea of staying in someone's home. I like the privacy of a hotel and would not want to feel I had to be friendly to other guests or the hosts.
suze is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 05:51 PM
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Yep, I agree with what suze said.
francophile03 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 05:56 PM
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It depends on your personal preference and your desire for amenities.

We would never do a B&B (although we have done a couple of Chateaux in France - but that's not really a B&B) for 2 reasons:

Anonymity - we are not looking for hotliers to be new best friends - we want them to be efficient, professional and otherwise mind their own business

We really NEED the services of a hotel (bell staff, breakfast in bed, 24 hour room service, mini-bar, TV with dozens of channels, an area in the room to relax in sofa/comfy chairs - and a good concierge to help with all those little questions that crop up.)

I know other people don;t want/need those things and like the personal touch of staying in a place with only a few rooms.

But - it's definitely not for us.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 06:21 PM
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I have done both, for different reasons.

Honeymoon: Definitely hotel. Not doing the wild thang on grandma's antique coverlet, thanks.

Staying in the countryside or small villages: I love B&Bs here because you can chat with the host/hostess, usually get great breakfast, and it feels homey and less touristy. I like the intimacy of getting to know the locals.
GreenDragon is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 07:34 PM
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There are B&Bs, and then there are B&Bs. They vary in quality, features, price almost as much as hotels do.

We prefer small hotels and B&Bs, but we don't stay in B&Bs that basically just put you into a spare bedroom in someone's house. Others love that style of B&B.

Of course in 50 years of travel, I've stayed in just about every sort of accomodation you can think of (and probably a few that most people could not even imagine), but B&Bs and small, independent hotels suit my needs best.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 07:49 PM
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much prefer hotels, grew up in the business and hotels are in my blood.

I mentioned on my most recent trip report ( Croatia) that I "collect" hotels like so many collect stamps or coins.

for all the reasons the posters above who prefer hotels, I'm in the same camp.

tripgirl is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 10:15 PM
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To answer the lady who said that she didn't like staying in B&B's beacuse its someone's house. Most new B&B's especially the ones pertaed by foreigners are not like staying in someone's guest room, but dedicated small inns, much the same as in USA now where small personalized B&B's are a big draw. The advantage is that they are usually cheaper then a hotel (although I see a trend towards some high-end "luxury" ones) and offer a degree of hospitality and comfort you can't get at a hotel, plus normally the hosts are a mine of information about where to go and what to see, and breakfasts are usually tailored towards foreign tastes.

However most good B&B's are in the country and a car is a neccessity so if you are travelling by train then a good albergo in town is the way to go. But I think you will miss a lot if you don't get to see the countryside.
Sampaguita is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 11:06 PM
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Yes, I totally agree that not all B & B's are equal, by any means. I'm thinking of Ca' Gottardi, a lovely B & B in Cannaregio, in Venice, where you have none of that sense of being in someone's house, the staff is helpful and friendly to you, but certainly not overly so-and the owner's aren't in reception. That's the kind of B & B I prefer-intimate, down-scaled, yet private-not the ones with 2 or 3 rooms only-particularly not in Venice.

And aanimal-in terms of the Corte 1321, it gets very good reviews on, but a little less enthusiastic reviews on It only has 4 rooms, so it will be a very different experience than a B&B that is more like a small inn. For my two cents, it seems to also be quite pricey, for the amenities offered, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it, just make sure you get good directions from the owners before you get there.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 12:58 AM
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France has a good compromise -

Logis de France is a "chain" of small independent private hotels. There are 3300 of them in France. They have the best coverage for rural areas and small towns.

Logis de France organises the bookings and quality grading.

More information here :

mpprh is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 01:36 AM
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I like anywhere that has a clean, comfortable, well-located room. But my concern with B&Bs has always been their limited reception hours. This can occur with hotels also, of course. But I've read too many stories (and once saw it myself) of people banging on the door of the B&B seeking entrance, because the person who was supposed to meet them didn't show up in a timely fashion.
WillTravel is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 06:13 AM
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Annimal, what made you think that B&B's are de facto cheaper than hotels? There are basic B&B's, like there are low budget hotels and there are super luxury B&B's, like there are 5* hotels.
I prefer a luxury B&B and the personal service that comes with it above any Hyatt or Hilton. In fact I hate it to be a number in a factory-like hotel.
MyriamC is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 06:16 AM
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WillTravel, the problem of limited reception hours is very unlike to occur in the 'better' B&B's (not the ones that have you sleep in the spare bedroom). They work like small hotels and there's always staff to greet you and to offer you a glass of wine or a refreshment.
MyriamC is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 07:02 AM
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Myriam, but there are also hotels (luxury and non) where you are not treated like a number and not all hotels offer a "factory" atmosphere. You don't have to stay in a B&B to get personal service. We always get treated like more than a number at our favorite hotel in Baden-Baden and in Sylt.
Even at the most intimate B&Bs one is still a *paying* guest.
Our preference is for a small to medium sized 4 star hotel (5 star if budget allows), preferably with a good restaurant on site.
BTilke is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 07:10 AM
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Nope, its the privacy issue. I was not comfortable in a B&B. Also, I'm not comfortable in HUGE hotels. I like little hotels ... better yet, self-catering places.
SuzieC is offline  

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