Bed and Breakfast: Should I stay or should I go?
January 31, 2008 7:13 AM   Subscribe

At a typical Bed and Breakfast, can you come and go as you please?

I've a trip coming up and am trying to finalize a B&B. After you check in, are you not supposed to leave until check-out the next morning? Is it considered improper to leave and come back (for dinner, no less) after the check in hours are over? I'm not sure if you get a key or not, I've never stayed in a B&B and wonder if asking them would make them suspicious.
posted by jacobjacobs to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The B+Bs we've been to have given us keys.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:17 AM on January 31, 2008

Come and go as you please in my experience.
posted by oh pollo! at 7:17 AM on January 31, 2008

Come and go as you please, though I usually tell the hosts my plans for the evening so they'll know to leave a light on, or not lock the front door.

They know the drill.
posted by bondcliff at 7:26 AM on January 31, 2008

It's not jail bro. It's a service industry.
posted by oblio_one at 7:30 AM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

It's just like stayingf anywhere else--come and go as you please, as has been stated already. Just make sure that you don't interrupt your host's skinny dipping time when you return. I'm not kidding... that happened to my wife and I at this place. The image of a 60 year old nude santa claus-looking dude is burned into my retinas forever (other than that, the experience was great).
posted by fusinski at 7:42 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just talk with them when you check in - something like "We'll be out for dinner and probably returning by about (11, midnight, 1:00, whatever it is) -- any special arrangements for getting back in?

Places I've stayed at generally have a policy like the door is unlocked until 9:00 and then locked overnight. They'll give you a key. Some places that are bigger have an overnight staffer and you might be able to ring for entry any time. They'll have it figured out; they don't expect you stay in your room the whole time.

One thing some people don't like about B&Bs is that you do have to communicate. Breakfast is another area to iron out - some places have a set breakfast time, others will ask you when you want it, bigger ones sometimes operate just like a restaurant with several tables and tell you to come anytime between 7 and 9, some places just have a contintental-style buffet.

So just ask about things like that when you get there. You can even say "it's our first time at a B&B - anything special I need to know?"
posted by Miko at 7:47 AM on January 31, 2008

You can check in and then go in and out, no problem and as others have said, you usually get a key, at least in the U.S. In Europe, I have sometimes not gotten a key for the outside door, and they say if you are out after a designated hour - say 11 PM - just ring the bell and someone will let you in. Or in cases where I have been given a key, the custom has sometimes been to leave it with the proprietor when you leave, and pick it up on your return - seems odd to me, but I have been in that situation more than once. In some very few circumstances, a B&B may have a curfew. I know one friend stayed in European B&B run by nuns, and they had to be in by 11PM. But she knew that would be the case before going in - that is not the norm, in my experience.

I love B&Bs, they are smaller and more personal. Here are some of my experiences that may help you: Sometimes the proprietor will ask for an approximate arrival time - understandable since they need to be nearby to greet you. You check in like you would in a hotel and are generally given a key. They tell you when and where the breakfast arrangements will be. Often, this is in a small dining room. Usually you have a window of time breakfast is served, but I have had a few times when breakfast is served in shifts and you pick a time; or times when it has been delivered to my room. If you have a choice, I advocate going to the public dining because you sometimes have a chance to interact with travelers from all over the world and you can exchange local tips - it's fun. Sometimes you are seated at one large table, sometimes at small individual tables. If you enter the breakfast room and people are already dining, say good morning to anyone who is there, and unless there is some sign saying otherwise, just sit yourself down. You can usually tell who wants to be left alone and who is open to a bit of conversation. When I travel alone, I often meet people to do things with at breakfast.

Many B&Bs will also have some type of hospitality in the late afternoon - cookies & beverage, or wine and cheese. This is usually complimentary and optional - you don't have to feel obliged to return for it. The B&B owners will usually be happy to recommend local restaurants or provide menus. You can come and go as you please throughout your stay. Many B&Bs have a central living room or hang-out area that you can use, sometimes stocked with books or local travel resources. Some have a central fridge where you can leave snacks or beverages. For B&Bs that don't have in-room TVs, there is sometimes one in the living room. (Most B&Bs in the US I have been to do have in-room TVs, but not necessarily the case in Europe.)

Don't worry about asking questions because all B&Bs ARE a little different, that's the beauty and the fun of them. There's always a little bit of unpredictability, but usually the people who run them are gracious and people-oriented. I recently stayed at a B&B that had a few cats, and the proprietors let me keep one in my at night room during my stay!
posted by madamjujujive at 7:58 AM on January 31, 2008

Also keep in mind that if there are any particularly onerous "quirks" like this at a particular B&B, you'll probably see something about it in their reviews at But no, asking about this kind of thing will not make them suspicious.
posted by somanyamys at 9:12 AM on January 31, 2008

« Older Validity of a postmark?   |   Sunlight, sunlight, sunlight hurts my eyes Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.