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, typically offer competitive pricing
  • Bed & breakfast homes provide more of a personal touch – the hosts are knowledgeable about the area and its attractions
  • Breakfast is included – some homes provide kitchen access or outdoor grilling areas as well – others provide in-room continental breakfast
  • Parking is typically provided on site or nearby – at no cost
  • Internet 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.

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)?
  • 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?

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 requires that all members be legally registered by the City of Newport and all members are subject to inspection at regular intervals. Their standards of quality extend to room amenities, comfort, cleanliness, and safety.

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, many more 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.

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.

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.

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 younger children. Although yours are likely the world's best-behaved children, they do tend to scamper about and can be exuberant! 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?

Most do not because they are concerned about the comfort of other guests (allergies, for example). However, some 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), the pet might be limited in size or type, there is typically an additional fee or a refundable damage deposit, the pet must be crated if left unattended in the room.

Are there any bed & breakfast establishments that can accommodate wheelchairs or meet other accessibility 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 for you to enjoy your stay in Newport, whether with us or with another equally lovely guest house.


Hawthorne House of Newport | 71 Ruggles Avenue Newport, Rhode Island 02840 | Ph. (401) 847-6340 |
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