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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose a bed & breakfast for my stay?
For several reasons:

  • Guest houses and bed-and-breakfasts, particularly in the "high" season, are generally priced much lower than the large hotels – and are also competitive with smaller hotels and inns.
  • Bed & breakfast homes provide more of a personal touch – the hosts are knowledgeable about the area and its attractions and happy to help you to plan your visit.
  • Breakfast is included – some homes provide kitchen access or outdoor grilling areas as well – others provide private in-room continental breakfast.
  • Parking is typically provided on site or nearby – at little or no cost.
  • Internet (Wi-Fi) access is provided free-of-charge.
  • Homes may be architecturally interesting, have yards or patios, or feature other amenities not usually found in a hotel (except at a premium).

What is the difference between a bed & breakfast, a guest house, and an inn?
In general, the terms "bed & breakfast" and "guest house" are interchangeable. Both are private homes with five or fewer rooms. Inns are generally larger and some may have on-site dining facilities. These terms are not the same from one city or town to another and may have different connotations in various regions of the country.

Are bed & breakfast establishments suitable for long-term vacation rental?
Of course!  Many post lower rates for longer-term stays, such as week or two.  Some guest houses have suites or small apartments to offer – these may have kitchenettes, a yard, or a patio or deck.  Some may have a second bedroom or a private entrance.  Unless you are traveling with a large group, it isn’t necessary to find a single home – and it may be significantly less expensive.

How do I know if I am choosing the best bed & breakfast?
The "best" bed & breakfast is different for every guest! Apart from choosing your accommodations based on room amenities, pricing, or location of the home, you could consider the following:

  • Is this bed & breakfast home registered by the city as a bona-fide guest house (thereby also meeting fire code regulations and having legal permission to rent to visitors)?
  • Does this bed & breakfast home meet standards of quality or service as evidenced by membership in one or more "associations"?
  • Does the web site and literature reflect attention to detail and a professional appearance?
  • Do your hosts answer your questions, are they friendly and helpful?
  • Are there good reviews on the Internet or on their websites?

What is a bed & breakfast "association"?
A group of bed & breakfast establishments will form an association to pool their advertising resources and provide assistance to each other. Most impose strict quality standards on their members and some limit the size of their membership for that reason. The Newport County Bed & Breakfast Association (NCBBA) and Newport Inns and Bed & Breakfasts Association (NCIBB) requires that all members be legally registered by the City of Newport and its members are subject to inspection at regular intervals. Their standards of quality extend to room amenities, comfort, cleanliness, and safety. (Hawthorne House of Newport is a member of both associations.)

Why do some bed & breakfast establishments require a minimum two-night stay?
These are generally small establishments without the staff to enable frequent room turnovers. Some will accept one-night stays during the week, but not on weekends or holidays.

Do bed & breakfasts accept credit cards or personal checks?
Happily, most do accept credit cards these days. Personal checks are generally not accepted because of the risk of fraud. If your hosts require payment in cash or traveler's checks, they will be happy to provide a receipt for your records.  Avoid sending cash in the mail (however, paying cash in person to an owner or manager upon arrival can be okay) and do not send a check made out to cash.  Do not use an instant money transfer such as Western Union or Money Gram - these payment methods are preferred by fraudsters.  Using your credit card provides a guarantee by your card provider.

And while we are on the subject of scams . . . be sure you are dealing with the owner or manager.  The fraudsters are adept at copying bona-fide listings and posting them on Craig’s List as their own!  Do a “Google” search and then call the owner or the establishment directly.

Why do most bed & breakfasts require deposits and cancellation fees?
Bed & breakfasts and guest houses do not have the financial ability to "absorb" the cost of no-shows. An empty room can mean the loss of 30% to 100% of that day's business (depending on the number of rooms). Deposit fees and cancellation policies make it possible for your hosts to provide a high level of personal attention, extra touches, and premium accommodations – at an economical price to you.

Must I pay a booking fee?
With the proliferation of rental options on major booking sites, travelers will find that there are likely to be booking fees (sometimes referred to as a traveler’s fee).  That is the current business model – and it appears to be a growing phenomenon.  However, travelers are welcome to do their own research and may find the very same guest accommodation listed on the city’s website or tourist information website.  You are certainly free to contact the owner and book directly.  Also, should you wish to return to this same guest house in the future, you are free to book directly with the owner and avoid booking fees.   

Why must my host know my time of arrival?
These are private homes, not hotels or motels. Hosts cannot provide 24 hour "front desk" service. Except to insure that each guest is aware of the posted check-in and check-out times, your host simply wishes to provide a quality experience for you. This means greeting you upon arrival, assisting with luggage, providing a key and a tour of the facilities, and answering your questions.  Let your host know if you must arrive later in the evening – generally, this can be arranged.

Why am I charged for an extra person in the room?
Each guest represents a "cost" to the guest house – direct costs such as breakfast foods, linen and cleaning services – and indirect costs such as utilities and maintenance. Most bed & breakfast establishments base their room rate on double occupancy. You will find that the fee for an additional guest is generally nominal.

Do bed & breakfast establishments allow children?
Most do not welcome very young children. Although yours are likely the world's best-behaved children, other guests may not appreciate their enthusiasm. Some bed & breakfast establishments happily welcome children. The layout of their establishment may accommodate the needs of children without disturbing other guests. You will find that bed & breakfasts are generally quite specific about their policy regarding children. If you are traveling with small children you should consider a bed & breakfast home with a yard or nearby playground.

Do bed & breakfast establishments allow pets?
Several do allow pets! Those guest houses that allow pets will generally impose some restrictions: the pet must be leashed at all times (this is a city ordinance), or the pet might be limited in size or type, the pet must be crated if left unattended in the room.  There is typically an additional fee or a refundable damage deposit.

Are there any bed & breakfast establishments that can accommodate wheelchairs or meet other accessibility or mobility needs?
Many of the older homes were built long before accessibility was a consideration; re-building is generally not feasible. Newer homes – or larger inns – are more likely to provide access. Ask your innkeeper to provide details to you such as measurements and bath access, and remember to check patio or yard access.

What if I have additional questions?
Feel free to email or call us at any time with your questions. We will respond promptly. If we are unable to accommodate your request, we are happy to recommend other local bed & breakfasts to you! We are proud of our hometown and its attractions. We would like you to enjoy your stay in Newport – whether with us or with another equally lovely guest house.

Welcome!

Hawthorne House Bed & Breakfast of Newport | 71 Ruggles Avenue Newport, Rhode Island 02840
Ph. (401) 847-6340 | info@hawthornehousebb.com
© Copyright 2017 by Hawthorne House Bed & Breakfast of Newport. All rights reserved

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