Too often we in the B&B industry hear that travelers don’t choose to stay at inns because they don’t want to have to talk to anyone, or they’re afraid they’ll have to sit at a breakfast table with strangers and eat food they don’t want. First time inngoers, fear not! The Distinctive Inns of New England (known as DINE) are here to tell you that inns and B&Bs are not scary or intimidating. In fact, the 12 DINE inns offer up romantic refuges, perfect for that intimate escape. No one will force you into conversations you don’t want, and better yet, you’ll find a personalized approach to hospitality that you simply won’t find in a bigger box hotel, motel or vacation rental. At DINE inns, it’s all about you. Those seeking privacy will find plenty of it. Those seeking conversation with fellow travelers – this is the place for you too.
Let’s look at a couple of the uncertainties that travelers have about staying at inns. We’ll work hard to bust the myths and answer the frequently asked questions about staying at a New England inn.
Will I have to talk to people I don’t know?
Just as you would interact with a front desk person at a hotel, you’ll be greeted by the innkeeper when you arrive at any of the 12 DINE inns. Different from a hotel or motel that will hand you a key and tell you to find your room, the innkeeper will take you to your room (carrying your luggage if you wish) and give you a tour of the inn. From there, you can say as much or as little to the innkeeper as you wish. Many inns offer afternoon or evening refreshments. Feel free to enjoy them in silence or just talking to your travel mate, or interact with others at the inn. At breakfast, if you wish to sit alone, all DINE inns offer private tables for two. Some inns, like Chesterfield Inn, even offer breakfast delivered to your room. Before you leave for the day, your innkeeper will likely check in to see if you need directions or ideas for things to do. Tap their brains for the best photo ops, the best restaurants, local shops, hikes or attractions. They’ll not only know the secret picnic places, they may also have coupons or discounts arranged with local businesses you’d like to visit. Bottom line: You can be as private or gregarious as you wish. Innkeepers are great at reading their guests’ preferences for conversation.
Unless Grandma’s house is filled with modern amenities and contemporary styling, DINE inns are nothing like the stereotypical Grandma’s house. Unfortunately, the media has done the B&B industry a disservice. Shows like Parks and Recreation portray inns as doily-filled, old fashioned and kind of scary. DINE inns are quite the opposite. Expect to stay in luxury filled rooms with private fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, balconies overlooking the bay, lake or flower-filled fields, plush linens and the most comfortable beds you’ve experienced in a long time. There are CD players with romantic music, i-pod docking stations, DVDs and flat screen TVs, and wi-fi throughout the inns. Yes, rooms vary in style and amenities, but you can be assured that you will not be disappointed with the amenities or the style of any DINE inn you choose.
Will I be nickeled and dimed like in a hotel?
The beauty of staying at an inn or B&B is that all the amenities are included in the price of a stay, which is always comparable if not lower than the local luxury hotels and resorts. At DINE inns, a hand-crafted and hearty breakfast is included, along with afternoon refreshments, beverages available throughout the day and night, complimentary wi-fi, free parking and more. While the amenities vary from inn to inn, enjoy a glass of wine and some hors d’oeuvres before dinner at Cliffside Inn, Captain Jefferds Inn or Inn at Harbor Hill Marina. You’ll find afternoon tea at Deerfield Inn, Captain’s House Inn, Rabbit Hill Inn and Manor on Golden Pond, complete with homemade sweets. At Chesterfield Inn and Camden Maine Stay, you’ll be treated to afternoon homemade cookies. And at Grafton Inn, Gateways Inn, Rabbit Hill Inn, Chesterfield, Deerfield Inn, and Manor on Golden Pond, the bar is open before dinner. At Captain’s House Inn, order from the beer and wine list or enjoy port in the library. You’ll pay when you arrive or leave (depending upon the inn), and you won’t pay for anything more except cocktails at the bar and dinner. Guests are, however, encouraged to leave a tip for the cleaning and serving staff at the end of your stay if you wish ($10 per night is a recommended tip for inn stays – it’s up to you).
What if I have a dietary restriction or don’t like the food?
We’ve been blogging about gluten free, vegan recipes for the past two weeks. As we’ve said over and over, special orders don’t upset DINE innkeepers. The only thing we ask is that you let your innkeeper know ahead of time (Ideally at the time you book your stay) of any dietary restrictions. Low-fat? Dairy-free? Vegan or vegetarian? Nut free? All dietary restrictions and preferences are happily accommodated. The only time your innkeepers may struggle to accommodate a dietary restriction is if they’re told five minutes before you sit down, or worse yet five-minute after you sit down at the breakfast table.
If you simply don’t like what’s on the menu for breakfast, speak up. Better yet, if the breakfast menu isn’t posted the night before, ask your innkeeper what courses are going to be served. They can always substitute with eggs cooked any way or cereal if you prefer something simpler. Again, the key to your successful breakfast is speaking up ahead of time.
Can we bring the whole family?
You are welcome to bring the family along, but please know that most inns and B&Bs offer one bed per room, with a maximum of two guests per room. Don’t plan to squeeze three kids into a room along with you, unless you reserve one of the suites or adjoining/adjacent rooms available at some DINE inns. Since most guests are at DINE inns for romantic getaways and/or to enjoy a respite from the kids, it will be your responsibility to keep the kids well behaved. Bottom line: Some DINE inns like Deerfield Inn, Grafton Inn, and Captain Jefferds Inn are more suited to families, offering rooms with two beds or two-room suites. Plan on getting a babysitter at home for younger children, or reserve multiple rooms for older children unless you don’t mind sharing a bed with them when there are two of you traveling together. Click here for a better way to stay with kids.
Whether it’s your first or fifteenth time at a DINE inn, we hope you’ll plan your next romantic getaway at one of the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England by clicking on links below that will take you to each of their websites.
In Rhode Island: Cliffside Inn in Newport
In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic