Archive for the ‘Bed and Breakfast Guests’ Category

Jumpstart Your Fall Decorating!

August 19th, 2010 by Mariah

To keep with the Fall spirit that will quickly be upon us, below is a fabulous article from that will help get you inspired for Fall decorating no matter where your Inn is located!

Fall: my favorite season! Admittedly, autumn here in Florida lacks the spectacular foliage and delightfully chilly air enjoyed by those in northern states. This makes me rely all the more on décor to evoke that Fall atmosphere in September. Okay, so Fall does not officially arrive until September 22, but I’m so ready now!

Now, don’t spend big bucks decorating for fall. It’s really not necessary, and I also think it goes against the spirit of the season a little bit. Isn’t autumn a time for celebrating the simple abundance of nature, above all else? With that in mind, let’s take a look at budget-friendly ways to gussy up your house and yard for Fall.

First up: do buy at least one largish pumpkin. For a $10 or $15 investment you’ll get weeks of big-time Fall attitude for your front porch.

Second, if you can spare a few more bucks, buy a bunch of Indian corn. You can hang it indoors or out and, unlike pumpkins, Indian corn lasts for year after year. Just be sure to store it in a zip-lock bag the rest of the year to keep the bugs away.

Third, if you have any cash leftover, do buy a handful of tiny mini pumpkins or gourds. They look so delightful clustered together for a dining table or coffee table centerpiece. Potted mums are nice, too, and only cost a few dollars each.

Okay, but that’s it! The rest of my suggestions are free or require just a dollar or two down.

Nature’s Leftovers. When you’re walking in the woods or your yard over the next few weeks, bring a tote bag. Use it collect leaves, pine cones, acorns, seed pods and anything else that catches your eye.

Use these items to decorate your home. They look great piled in bowls or large canning jars, or scattered on bookshelves. Really special large leaves pop even more if you rub them with moisturizer ’till they shine. You can also experiment with spray painting leaves or other objects with silver or gold paint.

Wrap large leaves around a jar, empty can or vase, and tie with raffia. Use the container as a pen or kitchen utensil holder for the season.

Dried grains and fruits look beautiful, too. For example, fill a glass jar with wheat or cracked corn and nestle a candle inside. Or pour cranberries inside an old wineglass and add a red votive candle.

Autumn Leaf Candle. Take a large pillar candle and blow dry it with a hair dryer until the wax is softened. Next, gently press some autumn leave into the sides. Instant autumnal flair!

Fall Terra Cotta Pots. Bring some terra cotta pots indoors and trim off the faded foliage of summer annuals. Spread moss on the surface of the soil and top with tiny pumpkins, gourds or apples. For extra fun, hollow out these objects and place votive candles inside.

Pumpkin vase. Carefully hollow out a pumpkin and use it as a flower vase. Yes, it is waterproof so you can add water, or just use it to hold a bunch of dried flowers.

Budget-friendly Wreaths. Buy a cheap straw wreath at a craft store and embellish it with pine cones, leaves and other found objects. Use twist ties or a glue gun to attach these odds and ends.

Picture Frame Wreath. For zero dollars down, use an old picture frame, sans glass and backing board, for your wreath. Oval, rectangle or square: it doesn’t matter which. Just decorate it with ribbon, leaves and whatever else catches your eye.

Now for the front yard! Ask for free or cheap corn stalks at your local farmers market or roadside stalls. Corn stalks look very pretty tied in bunches on a front porch.

Old-timey Scarecrow. When did scarecrows go from being made from scratch to being “Made in China”? Reclaim an old family tradition and create a homemade scarecrow this year. Use old clothes stuffed with newspaper and an old pillowcase for the face. Finish it off by tucking raffia or straw around the cuffs and pockets.

More Uses for Leaves. Instead of bagging and trashing your yard’s autumnal leaf deposit, add them to your compost or leaf mulch pile. Leftovers can be used in an easy display for your front yard. Just arrange baskets or a wheelbarrow full of leaves in your front yard near the street.

Shop for bargains. Sometimes the décor you really want must be purchased. Maybe you don’t have the time or inclination to make everything yourself. I understand! So, you must learn to bargain shop. Right after Halloween and again after Thanksgiving, go shopping for Fall items on clearance. Stash your finds for next year. Come next September, you’ll be so glad you did!


June 21st, 2010 by Mariah

The would like to announce our newest member…

Sea Breeze Manor Bed and Breakfast in Gulfport, Fl!

Sea Breeze Manor Bed and Breakfast is situated across the street from the quiet and relaxing Gulfport Beach on Boca Ciega Bay.

Watch the Snowy Egrets or Great Blue Herons catch fish, meditate while the sun rises, take in the fresh air and tranquil surroundings, or do any of so many other things that we Gulfport locals enjoy year ’round on scenic Boca Ciega Bay.

Sea Breeze Manor Bed and Breakfast
“A Bed & Breakfast”
5701 Shore Boulevard
Gulfport, FL. 33707


Rates: $155-$180 USD
Rooms: 6

Phone: 1-888-343-4445
Toll Free: 727-343-4445
Fax: 727-343-4447

Travel Industry Catering To Families This Summer

June 16th, 2010 by Mariah

Travel Industry Catering To Families This Summer

Below is a great article taken from the USA Today regarding the efforts by hotels to cater to families this summer season. Innkeepers can get some great ideas from this article, such as making kid goody bags, kid-friendly dining options, and offering gaming systems. Parents may be reluctant to bring their youngsters to a B&B, so if you have anything that caters to kids make sure you ADVERTISE it.

“Hotels try harder to woo travelers on vacation with kids.”
By Roger Yu, USA TODAY

Hotels are stepping up their efforts to woo vacationers and families.
They’re introducing leisure and kid-friendly amenities to deal with a new industry reality that leisure travelers are more important than ever.

Leisure travelers — which include vacationers, honeymooners and wedding attendants — surpassed business travelers as the primary hotel customer segment in the U.S. in 2004. By 2009, leisure traveler volume had risen to 476 million, or 54% of the total, from 399 million in 2000, says D.K. Shifflet & Associates, a travel research and consulting firm. The nights business travelers filled rooms fell during the nine-year period to 411 million.

“Business travel has been slowly declining, says Douglas Shifflet of D.K. Shifflet. And, he says, “It’s not going back.”

Travelers have also gotten younger. Gen X travelers — in their late 20s to early 40s — are replacing Baby Boomers. Gen Xers are more reluctant to travel for business but are showing greater willingness to go on vacations with their families, Shifflet says. “They’re having kids now,” he says. “They try to balance their lives more.”

Among the new leisure traveler enticements:

Family. More kid-friendly programs are offered. Marriott International has started distributing toddler care items, such as fitted slip covers for cribs, squirting bath toys, baby lotion and shampoo and nightlights, at 2,500 hotels throughout most of its brands. “Things people might forget. We’re making sure hotels have these items,” says Peggy Fang Roe of Marriott, adding that the effort is partly to help change its reputation as a business hotel company.

In July, Marriott-operated hotels will begin distributing free activity books and silicone bracelets featuring Nickelodeon characters. For $10, customers can buy a SpongeBob backpack containing a splash ball, paper doll and sunglasses. Customers at full-service hotels — Marriott and JW Marriott brands — can pay $20 for the backpack and a SpongeBob book and pillow cases. Marriott’s partnership with Nickelodeon also features costumed characters and live shows at some of its resorts.

Omni Hotels gives away free bags of goodies for kids (with Twizzlers, flashlight, cup, mini-drum and bookmark), as well as milk and cookies.

Value. With budgets tight, families are looking for deals. Homewood Suites by Hilton says its revamped free meal program has helped draw more leisure travelers in the last year. On Location – Key West

June 15th, 2010 by Mariah

The Southernmost Hotel, Key West

I had the pleasure of staying at The Southernmost Hotel June 7-9, as part of a Sex and the City 2 inspired Girlfriend Getaway. This was my third trip to Key West, and as usual I was not disappointed. We took the ferry out of Ft. Myers, which was wonderful as always. The ferry dock is on the North end of Duval, so being that the hotel was on the opposite end we took a taxi to avoid a mile long walk in 95 degree heat. The southern end of Duval is much quieter and upscale, if there is such a thing in Key West.

Upon arriving we were promptly greeted by a very nice gentleman named Edgar who helped us with our bags (and would continue to help us throughout our stay). My first impression of the hotel was a good one: clean, friendly staff, and beautiful grounds. We arrived early due to the ferry and our room was not yet available, however they did offer to secure our luggage while we went for lunch.

After lunch we were escorted by Edgar to our room, which honestly exceeded my expectations. The room was very large with two double beds, a flat screen TV, and a gigantic bathroom with walk in shower. In my experience even hotel rooms that claim they fit four adults, usually do so uncomfortably. That was definitely not the case at The Southernmost. The four of us fit comfortably… with room to spare.

There were two pool areas in the immediate vicinity, with a beach and another pool available for use right across the street at the sister property “Southernmost On The Beach”, which is available for all guests at the Southernmost Hotel to use. There was also a darling Bar and Grill right on the beach – and the food was excellent.

Two new places we found on this trip to Key West that I want to highlight are Dante’s and The Afterdeck at Louie’s Backyard. First off Dante’s… you could not get much better value for your money in Key West. Dante’s is an outside Restaurant and Bar that sits on the edge of a giant pool and waterfall. The pool is for guests of the Marina and Restaurant, with a $50 minimum at the tables near the pool. I cannot stress enough how much fun we had here. And yes, you can eat…and drink in the pool. We actually ended up spending two of our three days here as it was a great way to stay cool and still have a great time. Prices were cheaper then average for Key West, the salads range from $6.99 – $10.99, and were among the biggest I have ever seen. A special thanks to our waiters John and Paul, who could not have been any more accommodating. Their stories kept us entertained for hours, and their bar tending skills kept our glasses full. You guys rock!

The Afterdeck at Louie’s Backyard was one of the most romantic, enchanting places I have ever seen. Not just in Key West, but anywhere. Louie’s Backyard is a beautiful historic home that has been turned into an extremely upscale restaurant. Ask any of the locals about it and they all tell you the same thing…it’s over priced and overrated. The Bar out back however, now that’s another story. The Afterdeck is, as the name gives away, a deck on the back of the house. Oceanfront would be a huge understatement as this bar is actually Oceantop. That’s right, it sits right on top of the ocean. Add the beautiful water views with the fact that there are no real lights, just tabletop candles and clear rope lighting… and you have my new favorite place in Key West. It will truly take your breath away.

I always look forward to our next trip to Key West. If you have any gems or hideaways in Key West that you have found in your travels, please email me at so we can make sure to try them out on our next trip down south.

Denee MacDonald On Location

The Southernmost Hotel

Key West, Fl

June 7-9, 2010

Must Read For First Time Bed and Breakfast Guests

June 14th, 2010 by Mariah

Guests that have never stayed at a Bed and Breakfast really don’t have any idea what they are missing out on. Americans especially have a wide array of lodgings to choose from when they take a vacation: high-rise hotels, rustic resorts, motels by the bay. Yet more and more people are flocking to bed-and-breakfast inns, the most old-fashioned homes away from home. Just 20 years ago, there were only 1,000 B&B’s scattered throughout the USA. Today there are more than 28,000 serving more than 50 million guests each year.


Satisfaction ratings for B&B’s are much higher then that of most hotel/motel experiences. Customers were for the most part satisfied with their most recent B&B experience, with 80 percent giving the experience an “excellent” rating and another 17 percent calling it “good.” Over 90 percent would both consider a return visit and recommend the B&B to friends and family.


If you are FINALLY planning on booking your first…of many, were sure… Bed and Breakfast Vacations, below is 10 great tips on how to make the most of this amazing experience. Make sure you email us at and tell us how wonderful your first stay was!




1. Ask Questions: B&Bs are different from cookie cutter hotels, every inn is unique, and this is what makes them special. Some are historic and others are modern, some are quaint and rustic and others are elegant and gourmet. Be sure you are selecting a B&B tailored to your taste & needs.

2. Mention Dietary Needs: Since breakfast is a highlight of most B&B stays, mention any special dietary need when booking an inn. Just keep in mind that “allergies” – things which will kill you — and “diets” – things you can’t eat to loose weight – are very different. Guests should be careful not to confuse the two as it is unfair to the Innkeepers, who work very hard to provide a memorable dinning experience. Don’t forget… Innkeepers are usually happy to share their signature recipes with you to make at home.

3. Private Baths: Although most inns offer private baths, verify with the innkeepers if the bathroom is shared or private. A private bath is usually in your room, however sometimes it is in the hall exclusively for your use (innkeepers often provide robes if the bathroom is outside your room).

4. Personalized Reservations: Take advantage of the personal service B&Bs want to offer you and ask about amenities, the inn and the area when making your reservation. B&Bs do not have 24-hour reservation offices. If you are making your reservation by phone, call during hours that you wouldn’t mind being called yourself and be mindful of time zone differences.

5. Inquire About Handicapped Accessibility: If you or anyone in your party requires an inn that’s fully handicapped accessible, check with the Innkeeper beforehand.

6. Ask About Policies Before You Book: Smoking, Children and Pet Polices are different at each inn, so verify them by phone before you make your reservation. Policies not only vary between inns but even at the same inn there may be some rooms that are appropriate for children while the rest of the inn is not child friendly. For all policies, don’t assume – ASK.

7. Deposits and Cancellations: Ask about deposit and cancellation policies before you book. Your deposit means you are committing to the inn and they are committing to have your room for you. Since cancellations affect a small inn greatly, they will often result in a forfeiture of your deposit if the room cannot be re-rented.

8. Check In /Check Out Times: Ask about check in and check out times and try and arrive within them. Innkeepers can usually be flexible if you need special arrangements. Since innkeepers are expecting you and want to be there to greet you, be courteous and let them know if your arrival time changes.

9. Reserve Early: Although some inns welcome “walk-ins,” all inns prefer an advance reservation and deposit. Since most B&Bs are small, rooms might not be available when you want to visit. If the inn is booked, innkeepers usually will suggest alternate dates or suggest other inns in the area.

10. Make Your Self At Home: Innkeepers are hospitality experts so relax and enjoy your stay! Treat your room with the care you would your own home. You’ll know you’ve picked the right B&B if you feel like a treasured guest and long to return. The greatest compliment you can give an innkeeper is to refer them to a friend.