Our Members Speak Out
The Blue Belle Inn Bed and
Breakfast, Saint Ansgar, IA
Question for February: Do you remember your “first
time?” We'd love to hear stories about your very first guests.
What was most memorable about the first time you hosted people
at your inn?
Email your responses to
Sandy@BedandBreakfast.com. If we publish your comments, we’ll thank you
with a $25 credit in our Featured Properties Auction program!
We were asked:
"Potential guests often ask me,
'Is it a quiet room?'
I find that most difficult to answer since everyone's
idea of quiet can be different. How do other
innkeepers answer this question, and how do they deal
with sound-proofing issues?"–
Raynell Dunham, Garden District B&B, New Orleans, LA
“Arthur Morgan House is in a quiet village, on a side
street, so it is fairly quiet to start with. However, my personal definition
of “B&B quiet” is that no one is over my head. So if someone asks, ‘Is it a
quiet room?’ I suggest a third-floor room in my three-story house. This is
perfect especially for people here on a working stay (writers and students,
for example).” – Susanne,
House Bed & Breakfast, Yellow Springs, OH
I answer the question by first stating that we all know there is no such
thing as a soundproof room in any hotel or B&B! If a guest is truly looking
for a quiet room, I suggest coming mid week when no one else is likely to be
here. Telling them that the back of the house rooms are quieter from street
noise than the ones in front of the house usually sells them on staying
here. Our B&B was built to be a B&B, so the floors and walls are double
insulated…another point I am able to assure them of quietness.” –
Pines Bed & Breakfast, Flagstaff, AZ
“Our two cottages are on our property, behind our home. We are in a quiet
residential neighborhood but take extra steps to make sure our guests have a
peaceful and serene atmosphere.
“We let our guests know ahead of time our policies, both in their
confirmation and welcome letter. We phrase our wording in a way that they
feel we are looking out for them. Warm and friendly, but firm.
“We do not allow group gatherings or parties. We have screened porches at
each cottage, with private hot tubs, and there are CD player/radios both in
the cottages and on the porches. We tell our guests in their welcome
information to play them softly, keeping the other cottages and our
neighbors in mind.
“If couples come on motorcycles, we have very firm policies on ‘excess rev
ups’ and ask them to please keep the start up as low as possible. We even
furnish our guests with disposable earplugs, just in case our bird
population awakens them before they are ready to start the day. Or, perhaps
one of the guests wishes to watch television or a movie and then their
partner can just put on the earplugs and have the option of noise control!
“Because we are in a residential neighborhood, you certainly cannot control
the sound elements of your neighbors in moderate cases. However, if there is
excessive noise due to boom boxes or any other violation of the city's noise
ordinances, a quick call to the police department should be made.
“The key to keeping your guests happy and well-informed is taking the time
to give them all the information you can before they arrive. And also to
keep your own ears open to anything out of the ordinary.” – Kate and Skip
Wentworth, 2 Wee
Cottages Bed & Breakfast, Fredericksburg, TX
“The answer is generally a joke either- ‘It depends if the furniture has
been drinking,’ or ‘We haven't had any complaints. The furniture is
generally quiet in this room.’ After the person stops laughing we advise
them whether the room is near an ice machine, housekeeping or any other
potentially noisy source.” – Emily,
The Palms Hotel,
Key West, FL
“We feel all our rooms are fairly quiet, although one has some plumbing
sound transmission I'd like to eliminate (see Fine Homebuilding, Jan. 2007
for a great article on the topic). We tell guests that we’ve put blown-in
insulation into the walls and ceiling. We have two rooms that do not touch
other rooms. We have one room in which the AC is so silent people have
accused us of having a broken system. We ask how sensitive they think they
are. We can offer an air clean (HEPA filter) machine, which produces nice
white noise. We have ceiling fans, which also offer a bit of white noise.
And we could certainly buy and supply ear plugs if they are super sensitive.
“On a whole, as in the answer to ‘How comfortable are your beds?’ we answer:
‘Most guests say they sleep very well...and we have done these items to make
that possible.’” – Judy & Robert Hotchkiss,
Prospect Hill Bed &
Breakfast, Mountain City, TN
“I tell guests that I am in a quiet neighborhood, surrounded by trees
and gardens, but that the ghost has been known to rattle a pipe or make the
stairs creak. She doesn't hurt anyone but can make a little noise at times.”
Riverside Gardens, Bradenton, FL
“Most of our guests come from big cities, where noise from traffic and
neighbors is constant, so when I worry about the occasional large truck,
tractor, or souped-up car driving by, I remind myself that I have a built-in
advantage when it comes to the ‘relative quiet.’
“I admit to being embarrassed recently, though, when I was being interviewed
by a Rochester, MN television station on the front porch of the Blue Belle.
Just as I was talking about the fact that people come to our quaint,
peaceful little town to escape the hustle/bustle, noise and traffic of the
big city, a grain truck with a full load of corn roared by, blocking out my
words entirely. Thankfully, the cameraman did not air that portion of the
segment, and we all had a good laugh.
“I do everything within my power to ensure my guests are happy. Extra
insulation between adjoining walls, and between ceiling and floor is great
when you can do it. All of my bedrooms are separated by the buffer of a
closet; there are no headboard-to-headboard walls. I've added weather
stripping to the bottoms of doors that didn't quite fit tightly enough to be
soundproof. Our third floor attic hideaway is the quietest, most tucked away
place in the house, and I definitely let people know that if they are
looking for peace and quiet. My Mom and Dad even came down to do a
sound-test before I opened. I will forever be able to hear my Mom's voice
calling out loudly, "Oh, Everett!" while I walked the halls and went in
rooms and closed the doors to see what I could hear.
“But despite our best efforts, there is no way to make our houses, towns, or
neighbors perfectly quiet. Thankfully, just as we're drawn to flawed people
rather than perfect ones, there is something endearing and lovable about an
old house with creaky stairs, pipes that rattle, and radiators that sing. We
just have to make sure that the finer points outweigh the lesser ones so the
tide doesn't swing in the wrong direction as far as overall impressions.
There are dozens of ways to endear yourself and your inn to your customers;
my advice is to focus on those things, which are in your control, and forget
about apologizing for the things that are not.
“Something else I've noticed is that some of the things I find most
irritating about living in a small town are the very things people visiting
the inn find quaint and endearing – pokey tractors on the highway, local
teenagers cruising main a la Happy Days, noisy grain trucks, the hum of
augers at harvest time, the smells of roasting corn, burning leaves, and
even the occasional waft of hogs when the wind is in the right direction.
Just as there are comfort foods that trigger warm fuzzies in many of us,
these are comforting sounds and sensations to many people.
“We cannot control a baby who decides to cry all night, an exuberant
honeymoon couple, or the old man who snores loud enough to shake the
foundation. All we can do is try our best to avoid undue unpleasantness, and
to hope our guests have a good attitude about life and people, and accept
that these things just happen. As my husband, the eternal optimist, always
says, ‘If given the choice between hearing noises and not hearing, I'd much
rather hear.’” – Sherrie C. Hansen,
The Blue Belle Inn
Bed and Breakfast, Saint Ansgar, IA
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