The 8 Cons of Staying in a Bed and Breakfast

There are so many different kinds of lodging accommodations around the globe and each has its own unique features to enjoy. 

However, it is difficult to decide where to spend the night when certain places offer more amenities than others but also lack key qualities. It really depends on what kind of vacation you are looking for, and this can vary depending on the needs of a particular trip. 

A bed and breakfast may be fitting in a small town, whereas a hotel is a better choice for busy cities with lots to do. 

Each has its perks and its downfalls, but let’s talk about bed and breakfasts. Bed and breakfasts are known primarily for their unique vibes and the tasty breakfasts included in the price. Accommodating, local hosts can also tell you about the area and recommend all the best places in town to explore so that you can make the most of your trip.

It sounds like a dream come true, but there are downsides to staying at a bed and breakfast and unfortunately, most people don’t realize them until it is too late.

Check out this list in order to see eight disadvantages of staying at a bed and breakfast so that you know what to expect before booking a stay at one of these unique places.

Table of Contents

1. Less privacy 

This is probably one of the biggest factors that steer people away from spending a night in a bed and breakfast. 

There is just something about spending a night in what feels like somebody’s bedroom that makes people feel like they have zero privacy. 

Part of this may be because bed and breakfasts usually only have a couple of rooms, whereas large hotels are lined with rooms, one after another. 

This feeling of personalization is great in a lot of ways but it begins to feel too personal when you can hear what the person you were just sitting next to at breakfast is saying on the other side of the wall. 

This can be particularly worrisome for couples who are looking to have a romantic getaway or families who feel like the sounds of their children will be a burden to those around them. 

Many bed and breakfasts also offer more affordable room rates for those willing to use a communal bathroom. 

This means once you leave the comfort of your bedroom to use the bathroom or take a shower, you will have to walk through a public hallway before getting ready for the day. 

The same goes for things like walking to the kitchen to grab an early cup of coffee or sitting out on the patio to watch the sunrise. While many times you will be able to find quiet moments, there is always the chance of someone being there with you. 

Since many bed and breakfasts have one large common area, you are bound to run into fellow workers and guests at some point during your stay. 

Many hosts take pride in their establishment and like to mingle with their guests, which can lead to long conversations that take away from your time to do other things. 

And when you are sitting around a dining room table at breakfast with a bunch of strangers, you may feel inclined to interact with them in order to avoid coming off as rude. 

For those looking to enjoy an intimate breakfast with a significant other, this would not be the place to find it. Although some hosts are very accommodating and may offer room service upon request. 

While there are people who enjoy easy access to socialization and new friends, those who prefer to spend their time in private may want to reconsider booking a bed and breakfast. 

2. Off the beaten path

Considering the fact that bed and breakfasts are usually hosted in someone’s house, you won’t normally find them on the busiest street in town. 

This is both a positive and negative feature since you can enjoy the lack of traffic but also lose the convenience of everything being at your fingertips. 

Hotels are built right in the center of all the excitement and allow for quick getaways to an abundance of local attractions, restaurants, and shops. 

Your typical bed and breakfast is about an average of twenty minutes away from main destination points and can usually be found in a quiet neighborhood. 

With that being said, this would make a bed and breakfast a difficult choice for someone who is visiting the area but doesn’t have access to their own means of transportation. 

The cost of taxicabs or ride-sharing tools will quickly add up if you need to pay your way to town and back each day, especially if the bed and breakfast is tucked away in an area with limited options for transportation. 

Even people who come prepared with their own vehicle may opt to stay in a hotel over a bed and breakfast to save time for time-sensitive activities like sunrise hikes.  

If you are running on a tight schedule or are depending on public transportation, then staying at a bed and breakfast probably isn’t your best option. 

Another reason some may be hesitant to stay at a bed and breakfast is that with spending the night at a remote location comes the possibility of spotty service connection. 

To be fair, many bed and breakfasts offer free wifi, but even this may not be enough to get you online for work when you are tucked away in the mountains or out in rolling fields. 

A good way to know for sure if you will be connected during your stay is to reach out to the hosts prior to booking to confirm what cell phone carriers provide service to the area and the type of wireless internet used within the home. 

3. Set schedules

Another important factor to consider before booking a stay at a bed and breakfast is whether or not you want to spend your vacation on a set schedule. 

Set schedules are great for people who want to keep busy but for those looking to relax or have a set schedule of their own, this kind of arrangement just doesn’t work. 

For starters, one of the main perks of staying at a bed and breakfast is the free, home-cooked meal you get each morning. But in order to enjoy it, you have to make sure you are at the table between a set amount of hours. 

This can be nearly impossible for people who are looking to get an early start on a hike or enjoy a morning of sleeping in after a long week. 

If you are lucky, you may find a bed and breakfast to accommodate you with to-go bags brought to your room but for most places, if you don’t show up to the dining room by a certain time, then you aren’t getting any food. 

And breakfast isn’t the only thing that follows a strict schedule. Most bed and breakfasts are run entirely by one or two hosts so everything sort of runs on their time. 

Another example of this is when a bed and breakfast hosts a happy hour for its guests with free drinks and quick bites. This sounds like a real treat but it can feel more like a bummer when you realize that it doesn’t coincide with your vacation plans. 

Plus, since the hosts can’t be everywhere at once, there are usually fairly specific time frames for check-in and check-out.

This isn’t the kind of place you show up to at midnight after a long drive or attempt to arrive at ahead of time for early check-in. In fact, sometimes people are turned away if they don’t arrive by a certain time. 

In some ways, you have to be willing to run on the bed and breakfast’s schedule in order to really enjoy your time and this can be difficult for people who like to plan out their own trips. 

And forget about playing music in your room past a certain time or hanging in the lounge once everyone else goes to sleep. The day starts and ends on their terms. 

4. Lack of amenities 

Bed and breakfasts definitely have a way of creating a personalized experience, but in doing so they lack a lot of the amenities that most people look forward to at hotels. 

Once again, bed and breakfasts are often just large houses at the end of the day and simply can’t house the abundance of amenities other lodging establishments offer. 

For example, anyone looking for an extended stay probably won’t have the luxury of a laundry room on-site like they would in the Radisson. 

And you won’t be able to do laps around an Olympic-size swimming pool in somebody’s backyard. Chances are they don’t have vending machines when you are looking for a late-night snack or a fitness room for when you want to burn off those extra calories. 

In a bed and breakfast, you won’t usually be able to walk right out your front door to a plethora of shops, cafes, and restaurants to fit your every need. 

A stay at a hotel, however, would mean access to other amenities like an arcade, room service, an on-site bar, a gift shop, and so much more. 

In fact, you’ll notice that a lot of bed and breakfasts are housed in historic buildings that have been around for centuries. This definitely makes them more interesting in some ways, but it also means that they lack some of the most common modern amenities that we are so used to. 

You are not going to find sample toiletries ready for use if you realize you forgot your shampoo at home and there isn’t a little coffee maker in your room to help you get ready to socialize with the outside world each morning. 

And don’t even think you will have a mini-fridge to store the leftovers from the place down the street or a microwave to heat them up as a late-night snack. 

You will have access to all of these things in the common space but it is so much more convenient to have them in the privacy of your own room. 

5. Specific food options

Spontaneous food choices can sound like a dream come true for adventurous eaters, but for picky eaters, this can be their worst nightmare. 

Bed and breakfasts don’t allow their guests to choose from a menu, but rather have one specific dish available each day. If they happen to be making a meal that you know you won’t enjoy, there really isn’t anything that you can do about it. 

This can also be a problem if you forget to remind the hosts ahead of time that you have a food allergy and they have no time to prepare different meals for you during your stay. 

There is also the fear that the food itself may not be worth your money, since most of the time, the meal is prepared by the host who may be juggling too many things. 

It is really a risky decision to dedicate your breakfast plans to a bed and breakfast when you don’t know if you’ll like the choice of the day or even the cooking at all. 

The same goes for smaller things like the type of coffee or snacks offered. Since coffee is only available in the common space, it can sometimes be left out too long or not made up to your standards. 

The bottom line is that if you are already set in your ways when it comes to food and how it’s prepared, then staying at a bed and breakfast might not be the right option for you. 

6. Feels like a sleepover

Staying in a bed and breakfast has a way of making you feel like you are sleeping over some stranger’s house. 

This feeling is enough for some to completely rule out a stay in a bed and breakfast before they even look at one.

It can definitely be rather awkward to make small talk with the host or the other strangers that are spending time in the house. No one really wants to have a sleepover with a bunch of people they don’t know, and at times, this is exactly what it feels like. 

And like a person sleeping over at a friend’s house for the first time, you can’t really wake up until the hosts do. 

The hosts often live in the house as well and get up for a certain time to make breakfast, but if you are an early bird you may be stuck waiting for your coffee. 

Plus, you feel the need to be respectful in ways that you normally wouldn’t have to in a hotel like staying quiet when making a late-night run to the bathroom or not staying out late to avoid waking anyone up. 

Even though most bed and breakfasts say you have full run of the house, you still feel weird rummaging through their library or watching television in their living room. 

You can’t help but interact with the people you see in the hallway because the space is too small to not cross paths. 

Everything about a bed and breakfast mimics the feeling of a sleepover, so if you are looking for an intimate experience you should definitely look elsewhere. 

7. Less availability 

Since bed and breakfasts only usually offer a few rooms a night, they don’t come close to the availability you’ll find at big establishments like hotels. 

A modern hotel can have hundreds of rooms so the chances of scoring a room at the last minute are much higher than at a place that only offers a handful. So not only is it difficult to get a room in a specific bed and breakfast, it is hard to find a room in any bed and breakfast at all. 

This is particularly true for parties that require special accommodations like wheelchair accessibility and rooms that sleep large parties. 

In fact, many bed and breakfasts don’t offer rooms that can sleep more than four people which makes it impossible for a large family to spend the night together. Big parties will have to reserve more than one room which can make things that much more difficult considering the limited availability to begin with. 

And back to accessibility, a typical bed and breakfast has all of the bedrooms on the second floor with no access to hotel advantages like an elevator to get you up to the next level. 

Most of the time bed and breakfasts offer one king suite alongside its other average rooms which can be nearly impossible to snag during peak season. 

Overall, a night at a bed and breakfast isn’t something that you normally plan on a whim and requires months of planning ahead in order to get the accommodations you’d like. 

On the other hand, there is always a hotel nearby that can fit your needs. So when you need to book a last-minute stay or want to splurge on the best amenities, then a hotel is a far better choice than a bed and breakfast. 

8. House rules

At the end of the day, you are spending the night in somebody else’s house – and that usually comes with some ground rules. 

Bed and breakfasts are known to have more rules than your typical hotel and most of those rules are set up to ensure the privacy and security of its guests. 

Nonetheless, it can be annoying to have to turn your lights out by a certain time or abide by quiet hours that can start as early as 7 PM.

You have to check in within a specific time frame or you can lose the right to stay, and often times you won’t get your money back. 

As mentioned earlier, breakfast also follows their schedule, so there is no way to get something to eat before or after this timeframe. 

Televisions are often only usually be found in common spaces, and there are typically rules regarding what you can watch and for how long you can watch your program. 

Since the bathroom is often communal, you’ll see a list of bathroom rules to ensure that all guests are keeping the space tidy for one another. 

You may even have rules for your room if you are staying in a historic bed and breakfast with fragile artifacts and architecture. 

Don’t be surprised if you have to take your shoes off upon entry and don’t even think about smoking a cigarette on their porch without asking first. 

While some places allow pets, you have way less of a chance of finding a bed and breakfast that is willing to host your furry friend over a hotel. 

And you’ll also notice that most bed and breakfasts don’t allow any outside guests to enter the premises. This means that you can’t have a friend come over after dinner and you most certainly can’t let anyone else spend the night. 

Some bed and breakfasts even have cameras in the common spaces to monitor this kind of stuff and ensure that all guests are respecting the space. 

This is a perfect example of how house rules have a way of invading privacy and ruining a stay that could otherwise be quite pleasant.