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B&B Etiquette


Since so many here on the forum stay at B&Bs in Ireland I thought I would add a topic about how to be a good guest.

mobile.gif  Re-confirm Reservations: Shortly before your departure confirm your reservations again. This will give both you and your host peace of mind.

disbelief.gif  No-Show Guests: B&Bs are small Mom & Pop establishments with 6 rooms or less for guests. Many do not have additional staff like big hotels do. Since they have so few rooms they cannot absorb the costs of no-show guests. Guests who make reservations and do not show up really hurt the pocketbook. Hosts may have turned away many people from a room that will then go unoccupied and not paid for. They may have waited up to all hours of the night for guests who don't have the common courtesy to make a quick phone call. They may have skipped important family events to wait for no-shows. Don't be a deadbeat. 

juggle.gif  Your Hosts Are People Too: B&B owners have a life of their own. If you are kind to them, generally you will be treated the same. They are in the hospitality business and are used to meeting the needs of their guests, but try not to be too demanding. Everyone has an off day and at times a host may not be as cheery as you expect. And they all have different personalities. Hosts are also dealing with other guests, their children, elderly parents, their own ailments and perhaps other jobs - in other words everything that you are and then some. Think of having continual house guests 24/7 for 9 months a year. biggrin A smile goes a long way!

handshake.gif   Check-in Time is usually between 4 - 6 pm, unless agreed on otherwise. If you have a early flight arrival you cannot count on getting into your room early (maybe in off-season). If the B&B was full the night before your arrival the present guests must have breakfast, check out and then the rooms must be cleaned before you can occupy it. All that takes time. If you absolutely must have a room on arrival for your early check-in, reserve the night before. It will mean paying for two nights but if it is that important it is a small price to pay. When doing that, you can check-in early, freshen up and have breakfast before napping or relaxing. 

email.gif  Reservations Expire at 6 pm! If you will be later, call your hosts and let them know when your estimated arrival time is. They are flexible if they know your plans. But they are not mind-readers. If you arrive at 10 pm in August and have not called, don't be surprised to find no room at the inn.

lightbulb.gif  Parking: Ask your hosts if they want you to park in a certain area. Don't hog the spaces - leave room for other guests to park their cars too.

coffeecup.gif  Coffee or Tea on Arrival: Don't feel slighted if you are not offered tea and snacks on arrival. Now that many B&Bs have tea and coffee facilities in their bedrooms it is becoming less common to be offered it on arrival.

above.gif  below.gif  Directions: Get detailed directions to your B&Bs, since many are difficult to find. Print them from the website or ask your hosts. Before going out for the evening take a couple of cards from your B&B. They usually have a map on the back. This will help you find your way home after dinner or a pub crawl.

hungry.gif  Breakfast: Meal times vary from place to place, but generally breakfast runs from 8 or 8:30 to 9:30 or 10. Some B&Bs will do early breakfast but others cannot for various scheduling reasons. If you have an early departure most B&Bs will leave you cereal, bread, jam, etc. to have in the dining room or your room. Some B&Bs will ask you to fill out your breakfast request the night before and ask you what time you would like breakfast. Try to be in the dining room at the time you specify. Other B&Bs are more casual and you can eat when you want and order your breakfast in the morning. If you have special dietary needs let your hosts know in advance (at least the night before). Many B&Bs have a buffet table where you can serve yourself cereal, fruit, juice, etc. It would be impolite to raid the buffet and take food away for a picnic lunch or to have in the car. There are other guests who must eat too. Most B&B have individual tables. If there are just two of you sit at a table set for two, not four or six. If in doubt, ask.

eyepopping.gif  Attire: When in the public areas of the B&B it is best not to wear your negligee or only your underwear, go barefooted, etc. If your room is not ensuite and you have to cross the hall to a bathroom, cover up.

sleepy.gif  Late Night Arrivals: If you check-in very late or come in after the pubs have closed, remember that other guests may already be asleep. Loud talking, laughter, door slamming and walking up the wooden stairs like elephants is not kind. The TV volume in your room should be kept low too. Just use common courtesy. 

house.gif  A B&B is Someone's Home: If you break something, spill something, etc. let your hosts know right away. They have the supplies to deal with it and would rather clean up right away so that you are safe or so stains don't set in. It is not a Holiday Inn. Individual bottles of shampoo, bottled water, individual soaps are there for you to use.  But don't take the towels, toilet paper, box of tissues, flowers or the full bottle of liquid hand soap. If something is not in your room that you need, let your hosts know. Don't use the towels to clean your shoes or the car windows. Instead ask your hosts and they will supply rags or paper towels. Washing out a few undergarments and letting them dry in the bathroom is fine. However, don't wash your whole wardrobe and hang your clothes all over the room dripping on the furniture and carpeting. That is what a launderette is for. Ask your hosts and they will tell you where you can get your clothes washed. Virtually all B&Bs in Ireland are non-smoking. Don't smoke in the bathroom or out the window. Use the designated area outside.

twocents.gif  Paying: Many B&Bs will take your credit card number to make a reservation. However, they may want payment in cash. It would be wise to inquire in advance. At most B&Bs you pay in the morning after breakfast when you are checking out. Some B&Bs have been stung by guests skipping out without paying. If they ask for payment on arrival don't be insulted. Unfortunately, this is becoming much more common as a result of unscrupulous people's actions.

Does anyone else have any tips to add?

Michele 

(c) 2007 Michele Erdvig


-- Edited by Michele Erdvig at 22:30, 2007-07-28

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Roy


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Michele,

Well put!

We returned last Saturday from our two week trip to Dingle, Killarney, Skibbereen, Cashel, Co. Westmeath, and Howth. All of the B&B's were excellent. I'll write up a trip report soon.

At the Robeen House in Killarney, Bernice, our host, told us that she wished all of her guests were like us.

All it takes is courtesy and respect. It truly is embarrassing how some tourists act. My goal was to blend in, not draw attention to myself. Having an Irish wife helped in that endeavor.

Roy

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Roy


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Michele,

I wish you would post this topic on Fodor's forum. Everybody going to Ireland and staying in a B&B need to read it. Or could someone else post it for you?

Joan

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joan chatham


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RE: B&B Etiquette


Hi Michele,

You make it difficult to add anything!  As usual, you have written the Ultimate in Etiquette.

I would just add:
1) Re confirm arrival date a week or so before you leave home.  It helps them, and makes the traveller more secure in knowing your reservation is double checked.
2) Parking is usually no problem, but at the smaller BandBs, ask the host where to park the car.  Some of them have parking in the ftont and some in the back where they park their cars.
3) I would second Michele's suggestion re not taking food from the buffet.  At Drumcreehy House in Ballyvaughn, a couple ( believe it or not, she was from Bandon, Cork, too!  Meaning they weren't Americans, Thank Goodness) made a couple sandwiches from the extravagant sidebar, and even asked the waitress to wrap it for them!  Needless to say the hostess sent back word that it would not be taken out of the room, and didn't send it back.  How embarrassing.

Common courtesy are the magic words!

Helen

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Helen Leary Olson



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RE: B&B Etiquette


Helen,

thumbsup.gif Thanks! I have added your tips about re-confirming reservations and parking. Good points.

Joan,

 idea  I don't think other forums allow copyrighted material to be posted. It is perfectly acceptable to add a link to this discussion.

Michele

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Michele,

I'll keep referring posters on Fodors to this web-site and hope they click on this post.

Joan

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joan chatham
Roy


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Michele,

Well put!

We returned last Saturday from our two week trip to Dingle, Killarney, Skibbereen, Cashel, Co. Westmeath, and Howth. All of the B&B's were excellent. I'll write up a trip report soon.

At the Robeen House in Killarney, Bernice, our host, told us that she wished all of her guests were like us.

All it takes is courtesy and respect. It truly is embarrassing how some tourists act. My goal was to blend in, not draw attention to myself. Having an Irish wife helped in that endeavor.

Roy

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Roy


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Joan,

Thank you. You are a gem! worship.gif

Michele

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RE: B&B Etiquette


Great post Michele!  Good information in an easy to read format.   wink

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B&B Etiquette


Sidz,

Thanks! I hope it helps everyone with their trips. Those who have never stayed at B&Bs will know what to expect.

Michele

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RE: B&B Etiquette


Michele, wonderful advice! I especially like the part about not dashing across the hall to the bathroom in your underwear. idea

I had all memorable stays in Irish Guest Houses and b&bs. Usually I felt welcome right away, as soon as I stepped in the door.

There was one guesthouse in Ireland where I didn't feel so welcome right away.  I had expected the hostess to be more friendly, based on her e-mails.  I was getting all nervous about what this meant. Little things seemed to be going wrong. I was beginning to panic and wondering if I had made the wrong choice to stay there.

I decided to be extra nice to her and see how things were by breakfast. It worked! By breakfast the next morning we were all friends. Instead of stewing about the little things that had gone wrong, I mentioned them politely to the hostess, and she corrected them. It turned out to be a great experience.

In Ireland I learned it is often best to phone the next b&b before you have checked out of the previous one and give the hostess an approximate arrival time. If you wait til you're on the road to call in Ireland, you might find yourself out in the middle of the Irish countryside, NOT near any public phones otherwise. While I might not know my exact arrival time, at least I can let the next hostess know if I expect to arrive in the afternoon, before dinner, after dinner, or even in the dark... They really appreciate the call.

I still find myself day-dreaming about Ireland...it just comes over me, fond memories of a hearty Irish breakfast, or chatting with the Irish with their musical accents, or the awesome Cliffs of Moher, or exciting Irish trad music in a pub...

That's why I popped in here to  see what's happening!





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B&B Etiquette


Melissa,

It is always good when you pop in! I like your tip about letting the B&B owner know about problems. Good idea especially since they don't know if something is wrong. I find that most would rather know and correct the problem than not know and have unhappy guests.

Michele

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RE: B&B Etiquette


Ya know Michele, this really helps. I was wondering why I was getting such odd looks in the guest's lounge after I raided the fridge, plopped down on the sofa in my negligee and threw my bare feet up. Maybe everybody was just upset like me that they couldn't find any American football on the tele that night. clueless.gif


Bill



-- Edited by wojazz3 at 15:13, 2007-10-16

-- Edited by wojazz3 at 15:14, 2007-10-16

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RE: B&B Etiquette


Bill, I think they were probably all feeling cranky because of the lack of ice in their drinks, and also, it is understandable that they would be feeling deprived because of the relative lack of automatic flush toilets in their country. wink  At home in our modern country, we get "showered" for free all the time from those automatic flush toilets.  bleh  Also, don't forget that since they drive on the "wrong" side of the road, it takes them longer to get there. Since I was the only one driving on the "right" side of the road, I cannot understand why they were honking at ME. evileyebiggrinbiggrinbiggrin

Gotta love the Irish for putting up with all of us tourists with such a good sense of humor!   

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RE: B&B Etiquette


Bill, 

Welcome back to the forum after a long, hot summer. Did you have lots of weddings and gigs this year? 

What I really want to know is what color is your negligee and can we have a photo? omg.gif 

Would you believe that we heard from a B&B owner about a woman that made herself at home in the guest lounge in her negligee, demanded all the ice in the house and made herself drinks which she lined up on the coffee table and had happy hour all by herself? jawdrop.gif Worst part of the whole thing is that she once worked with my husband and had my book!!! We really heard about that one.

On occassion I have seen some Aussies come down to breakfast shirtless and barefooted. I won't tell you what I have seen in the hallways.

Michele



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RE: B&B Etiquette


It was a long crazy summer. My department of 2.5 was reduced to a department of 1 (me) and I finally have someone hired and in place again so I'm not as crazy. Gigs have been heavy too.

As you know, I'm all about pastels, I believe it was a silky floral print. Sadly, the photo was so hideous, it corrupted all of the files on the disk so those were lost along with my irish dancing, Swiss yodeling and hurling .... you guess what I mean by that.

Bill 

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RE: B&B Etiquette


Bill,
 
Thanks for the comic relief. My husband and I had a real chuckle over your comments, which we really needed right now. Thank you! biggrin 

Michele

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I'm comparing this with a hotel because if we are in a hotel for ex. 2 days, the beds get made up etc. and we leave some cash(Tip) for the service.
I've only stayed at a B&B 1 day at a time.
When we are out for the day in a 2 day stay B&B, does the room get fixed up like a hotel room and should a tip be made for the service.
Plus, when paying for the B&B is a tip or shall we say gratuity also included.
-gary


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Gary,

Yes, B&Bs make up your room every day just like a hotel. If you really like it and the hosts you can leave a gratuity if you like. If they go out of their way to make phone calls, reservations, etc. you might also consider it. It is not that common but is becoming more so. A gratutity is not included in the price.

Michele

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RE: B&B Etiquette


We took some things from the U.S. to leave our B&B hosts who served as great hosts. Things like American wine (which we brought a few bottles packed well in our luggage), chocolates, or special teas are appreciated as little gifts. Seemed like they were well received and appeared to be more special than a few extra Euros left on the dresser.

-- Edited by Sidz at 10:50, 2007-11-21

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RE: B&B Etiquette


Excellent advice - but going back to step 1 - booking.

I have come across a very good site for booking B&Bs in Munster - it seems pretty extensive for this area while lacking for the rest of country - It is an Irish Community Website - www.mytown.ie

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tosbyrne,

Most of us prefer to deal directly with the B&B rather than a third party. But to each their own.

Michele

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I usually bring postcards from my home town or area in Florida and leave them with thank you notes at each B&B I stay at.

Also, some B&Bs are larger, and employ local teenagers and such to help.  I think it would be alright to tip them if they are not family, but I'm not sure how to politely inquire.

Most B&B hosts I've met are happy to let you know about things to do in the area, places to eat, some even have a nice booklet or set of brochures for you to browse.  Don't monopolize her/his time, though, if it looks like they have stuff to do!

Find out if there is a curfew or a time after which the front door is locked - you may need a separate key.  Not all B&B hosts will tell you, I've found.

If something is wrong, ask - I had a bed that was particularly hard, and they supplied a nice fluffy duvet I could sleep on, it was much better!


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Green Dragon, Thanks for the idea of post cards of where we are from as idea for a thank you note to the B&B, hotel, etc. Great idea! youngka

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Youngka,

It is nice to see your smiling face on the forum!

Michele

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Thank you for the B7B tips as this will be my fisrt time traveling to Ireland and staying at B&Bs

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Anne Kluchnick


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Anne,

I'm glad that the tips are of help for your trip.

Michele

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These are excellent tips. Staying at a B&B is a very different experience than staying at a hotel. It's a more personal experience, and I think your tips outline very well how to behave accordingly. I also think it's nice to ask the host a little about what they recommend doing in the area. And I like Green Dragon's idea of leaving postcards with thank you notes- it's a nice touch and shows your appreciation.

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We're planning our first trip to Ireland and have reserved 3 nights in Killarney, but we've never stayed at a B&B before. So we're quite clueless as to what usually happens after breakfast. Is it customary for guests to vacate the home for the entire day? What if the weather prevents the outdoor activity we were planning...is it OK to lounge in the main room, or request that the room not be cleaned so we can sequester ourselves indoors for the day? And if the weather is lovely but we're not in an adventurous mood, can we relax in the garden (if there is one)? We chose to stay at a B&B because we thought it would be nice to connect with the local people on a more personal level, but we don't want to push the boundaries of good etiquette. So any clarification on what we can do as guests to conform to the standard operating procedure wold be very helpful. Thank you so much for providing this forum for clueless souls like us! ~Amy

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You can stay at the B&B and relax if you choose not to venture out...they will show you where the "public" areas are. They are all so different...and lovely! You won't be disappointed. Be open and let them know your questions/concerns...you can even email them with your questions, or look at their website for information. You can also look at Tripadvisor.com to see what others have to say about the B&B you'll be staying at.

Cheers,
Maggie

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