Inn Etiquette

Staying at a bed and breakfast inn offers an experience well beyond your typical travel accommodations. Members of the Southern Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association provide many opportunities to visit spectacular destinations to satisfy the interests of travelers. The decision about lodging is important. The variety of lodging available is broad for both traditional and non-traditional venues. If you have not yet had the pleasure of spending the night in a B&B, allow us to offer information on how the guests and innkeepers might expect to interact with one another for the best possible experience.


If you haven’t stayed at a Southern Michigan bed & breakfast, it may be time to try one. You may be surprised at what you find. While each is a B&B, all of them are unique with their own character and ambiance. From the simple to the luxurious, this variety will encourage you to stay in different B&Bs all across Southern Michigan.

The Bed

Here again you may be surprised at the variety that is available in even the smallest B&B. Most innkeepers have rooms with king, queen, or twin beds, and the mattresses are of the very highest quality. You will sleep like a baby in most cases.

The Bath

Traditional European B&Bs have bath facilities that are shared just as in your own home. However, there are fewer and fewer of these in America, and most B&Bs today offer private baths en suite (attached to the room). Many B&Bs are historic buildings, and great effort has been made to preserve the historic charm of these properties. Some inns have added jet tubs, whirlpools, and deluxe showers for extra pampering.

The Breakfast

Too good to be true is the norm. Each innkeeper does their own thing, and most have developed recipes that are unique and tasty. Your breakfast experience may vary from simple fare to romantic candlelit breakfasts served on china and crystal. It is standard practice to include breakfast at no additional cost. It is usually offered one of four ways:

  • Continental: rolls, muffins, or coffee cake, coffee or tea & juice.
  • Continental Plus: extras are added to the standard Continental breakfast like cereal or fruit.
  • Full: often includes many of the above items and one or more hot items.
  • Gourmet: an excellent selection of uncommon breakfast entrees using fresh ingredients including seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Some B&Bs serve you at the table, some offer breakfast buffet-style, and others may offer breakfast in bed. The food is one of the things that makes each B&B unique, so be sure to check with your innkeeper to know what to expect. Many innkeepers are prepared for special requests and dietary limitations, but it is always a good idea to mention any food allergies or special diet requirements when making your reservation. Some inns have a common dining table, and some inns offer private tables. The best Southern Michigan B&B experience involves having breakfast with interesting characters from within the Midwest, across the country, and around the world. One of our member inns boasts having had guests from all 50 states and 75 foreign countries.


While it is true that all B&Bs have common areas available, you don’t have to use them any more than you have to use the lobby of a motel. If you want to meet and interact with the other guests, you can. Privacy is important, and if you are after some quiet time alone, every B&B specializes in providing that. You will find a guest entrance and can come and go as you please.


You can have it any way you want it–television, telephone, Internet, etc. The traditional B&B experience is designed to help you leave the modern world behind, but most now offer a mix of services. If you need local information, the innkeeper will know where to go, what to do, and will probably have maps readily available.


Some B&Bs are kid friendly, while others cater to adult travelers who arrive for romance. Some have room combinations that are perfect for families. Be sure to check with the innkeeper. You will be directed to the best B&B for your needs.


Some B&Bs are pet friendly, while others are not. Some innkeepers have house pets who may not interact well with other animals. Some innkeepers and other guests have allergies or phobias about pets. Be sure to check with the innkeeper, you will be directed to the best B&B for your needs.


Courtesy is the key. Mutual respect is the mode of operation between the innkeeper and guests as well as between the guests themselves. Guests are usually informed either verbally or in writing of policies which the innkeepers ask that guests honor—most involve drinking, smoking, and combustibles. The house rules are established for safety, cleanliness, and care. The rule of thumb: When in doubt, please ask. A B&B is not an appropriate place for a noisy party. If you have arranged to check-in at a specific time, please do so, or call ahead to arrange an early or late arrival. Most inns are run by just one or two people who cannot staff the front desk 24/7.


It is a good idea to call in advance to be sure a room is available. Advance deposits via check or credit card are often required, and cancellation policies vary, so be sure to ask when you call. In addition, advise your innkeeper if pets, children, or someone with physical limitations will be accompanying you. Special arrangements may be necessary.


Southern Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association inns are competitively priced for luxury, quality, and value. When you factor in the beautiful rooms, the personal service, the extra amenities, the privacy, and the incredible food, you will realize that a B&B is a good value.


When all is said and done, service is the key difference in your lodging experience. Nothing is warmer than the welcome you will receive at a Southern Michigan B&B. You can get to know new people or just enjoy your own private romantic time together. When you return, you will be greeted as a returning friend, rather than as a returning reservation. You will find the same high standards every time, whatever the season. As a rule, you won’t find elevators, and many of these historic buildings are not fully handicapped accessible.

When You Go

Your expectations will be surpassed when it comes to service, quality, and comfort. While you will be staying in someone’s home, you won’t be living with the innkeepers–privacy and charm are yours. Please keep in mind that many B&Bs are furnished with antiques and excellent art. If you travel with children, remind them of their manners and be mindful of the other guests. Many inns have reasonable cancellation policies, and some require multiple-night stays during peak times. Be sure to call ahead to discuss acceptable limits, procedures, and payment options. Staying at a B&B is a wonderful experience and great fun. Read the rules, ask a few questions, and you’ll soon feel at home. During your stay, you will meet new friends, enjoy exceptional hospitality, and learn a lot about the local area. You may enjoy it so much that you will soon become a regular B&B traveler.

We look forward to hosting you on your next trip to Southern Michigan!