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Advice & FAQ about ILLINOIS BED AND BREAKFAST LODGING
A Brief History of Bed and Breakfast Lodging
Edited information from Wikpedia and Elizabeth Arneson - Your Guide to
The B&B arrangement is a very old
one. The concept has existed in one
form or another since
the beginning of man. Monasteries served as bed and breakfasts for
travelers, and in some cases still do. Before the 20th century, it was quite normal for
country travellers to spend the night at a private house rather than an
inn, and this custom persists in many parts of the world. However,
prior to the 19th century, this was strictly an informal arrangement
constrained by acquaintance and social rank; a doctor might stay with a
doctor or pharmacist, while a nobleman would stay with the local gentry.
Bed and breakfasts have been very popular with the traveling public in
Europe for years. The
abbreviation of `B&B' on roadside signs
first became popular in the British Isles - typically with a detachable
'Vacancies' sign swinging below.
Tourists will see B&B signs in many
windows there. The term "bed and breakfast" is not used in many other
countries. Terms such as paradors, pensions, gasthaus, minskukus,
shukukos and pousados are used to describe what Americans and
English-speaking Europeans think of as a bed and breakfast.
The United States also has a history of bed and breakfasts dating back
to the time of early settlers. As the pioneers traveled the trails and
roads across this county, they sought a safe refuge in homes, inns and
taverns. In fact, some of those historic accommodations now serve as
During the Great Depression, many people opened their homes to
travelers to bring in some additional money for the family. The term
"boarding house" was used at this time. After the Depression, this type
of lodging declined and many people had the idea they were just for
low-income travelers or drifters. In the early fifties, people may
remember the term "tourist home" being used. This too was essentially a
form of bed and breakfast. Once motels were built on the new highways,
they were soon forgotten.
In large part because of the number of Americans traveling to Europe in
recent years and rediscovering B&Bs, there has been an exponential
increase in interest in the U.S. Today, the B&B is not viewed as a
low-cost lodging facility but as an attractive alternative to the
typical standard chain hotel or motel room. Today, some bed and
breakfasts offer amenities not unlike those found at the most upscale
hotels in the world.
Despite the cultural similarities, there are far fewer B&B's in
the whole continent of Australia than there are in just the South
Island of New Zealand despite the resident population being more than
twenty times greater.
Since 1879 the average per capita disposable income of Australians has
been greater than that of New Zealanders and this has mitigated the
powerful incentive to let out rooms in their homes to travellers.
Another factor may be that Australia has, apart from City States such
as Singapore, the greatest concentration of city dwellers anywhere on
the globe and these cities are amply supplied with budget hotels and
The North East Atlantic Archipelago has some of the most expensive
hotel beds in the European Union and in those isles,
B&B's are a budget option where owners often take pride in the high
service levels, local knowledge and personal touch that they are able
There tend to be concentrations of B&B's in the seaside towns
where, historically, the working classes holidayed such as Newcastle in
Ireland and Blackpool in England but they are also widespread in
isolated rural areas such as the Highlands of Scotland and Connemara
where there is not a year-round concentration of travellers sufficient
to sustain an hotel.
In the British Isles, breakfast is usually cooked on demand for the
guest and usually features bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms,
baked beans, etc but, increasingly, because of either a desire of
owners to economise or guests to minimise their calorie intake, a
continental breakfast is becoming more common.
In Ireland, most B&Bs serve a traditional Full breakfast as a point
In recent years some bed and breakfast businesses in the UK have
struggled against budget hotel chains such as Premier Travel Inn and
Travelodge. Traditionally, business travellers used B&B's but many
of these clients now tend to stay in budget hotel chains. However, in
holiday areas the B&B or small hotel still prevails. Unlike the
'chain' accommodation providers these provide a more comprehensive
service and breakfast is included in the price.
In Cuba, which opened up to tourism in the 1990s after the financial
support of the Soviet Union ended, a form of B&B called casa
particular ("private home") became the main form of accommodation
outside the tourist resorts.
The Israeli B&B is known as a zimmer. All over the country, but
especially in the north of the country and the Galilee, zimmers have
become a popular alternative to hotels for romantic weekends or family
A Centre of New Zealand Bed and BreakfastAs in the USA, Bed and
Breakfasts in New Zealand tend to be more expensive than Motels and
often feature historic homes and lovingly furnished bedrooms at a
commensurate price. The historic city of Nelson has an unusually high
concentration of both of these accommodation alternatives because it
was historically the place where kiwis holidayed.
Many B&Bs in North America (and New Zealand) try to create a
historical ambiance, with old properties turned into guesthouses
decorated with antique furniture. Sometimes B&B owners will
introduce upscale amenities to improve business and move "up-market."
Due to the need to stay competitive with the rest of the lodging
industry, larger bed and breakfast inns have expanded to offer wedding
services, business conference facilities, spa services, and meeting
spaces as well as many other services a large hotel might offer.
Regulations and laws vary considerably in each national jurisdiction
both in content and extent and in enforcement.
The most common regulations B&Bs must follow pertain to safety.
They are usually required by local and national ordinances to have fire
resistance, a sufficient fire escape plan in place, and smoke detectors
in each guest room. Kitchens and equipment used to serve meals are also
often required to be monitored for hygienic operation, but there are
significant national and local differences.
Most B&Bs are generally compliant with their jurisdiction's laws.
However, guests are mostly unfamiliar with these guidelines and may
miss any violations out of ignorance or a desire not to be involved in
reporting violations while on holiday.
While various local governments have regulations and inspect for health
issues and fire safety code, membership in a state/provincial/national
bed and breakfast association can indicate a higher standard of
hospitality. Associations sometimes review their members' properties
and tend to have additional standards of care.
These associations also facilitate marketing of the individual B&Bs
and provide a stamp of approval that the business in question is
reputable. This "stamp of approval", however, may be just an indication
that membership dues have have been paid.
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