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The British Columbia Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers Guild defines a B&B inn as a property that:
- is situated on residentially or agriculturally zoned land
- is the principal residence of the owner/operator, who provides personalised hospitality
- is licensed as a Bed & Breakfast inn by the appropriate licensing authority in the community/region
- serves breakfast included in the room rate
- is residential or agricultural in character
The lodging terms Bed & Breakfast, B&B, Inn and Guesthouse are interchangeable at the discretion of the innkeeper.
As the term "Bed & Breakfast" indicates, breakfast is one of the highlights of this accommodation experience. Our members always include breakfast in the rate charged and "Breakfast" is usually described in one of two ways:
- a Full Breakfast - includes a choice of beverages, usually a fruit course, breads and baked goods, and a hot entree.
- a Continental Breakfast - includes a choice of beverages, may include a fruit course, and a selection of baked goods.
Each innkeeper may choose to be creative within these descriptions, so you may experience a wide range in the type of items and the style of breakfast served. Settings also vary, and you may be served at a private or at a communal table, in the kitchen or in the dining room, outdoors on the patio or deck, in your room, or buffet style. Special dietary requirements should be brought to the attention of the innkeeper when making your lodging reservation. To be sure the establishment you have selected for your stay offers the type of breakfast you are looking for, always ask when making your reservation at a B&B inn.
Unless otherwise noted, B&B lodging rates are quoted for a double room, double occupancy, based on the most recent information supplied by the innkeepers. All rates are subject to change and seasonal variations.
Depending upon location and size of the property, you may be required to pay the following taxes on top of the quoted rates:
- GST (Goods & Services Tax) : A federally applied tax of 5%
- Some cities have an additional 2% "hotel" tax, based on 4+ rooms
- Vancouver, Victoria, and soon Kelowna, also have a Destination Marketing fee of 1 - 1.5% which may have to be charged by B&Bs in those communities
Please be sure to confirm rates and taxes when you make your reservation.
Most Bed & Breakfasts now accept credit cards, and will ask for a credit card number to guarantee your reservation. Some smaller establishments, or those open seasonally, may not accept credit cards. The most common credit cards accepted are VISA and Mastercard. Some properties will also accept American Express. Diners Club and Discover Card are not common in Canada. Cash and travellers cheques are always welcome, and some establishments may accept your personal cheque with proper identification. Always check on the method of payment when you make your reservation.
Reservations are essential, particularly during the busy season. Reserve to avoid disappointment. When you book, be sure to discuss your accommodations requirements and confirm prices, services and other details. Innkeepers tend to be delightfully helpful. If you need to arrive earlier than the stated check-in time, please discuss this with the innkeeper to make arrangements. If you are going to arrive later than you have previously indicated, as a courtesy, please call the innkeeper to let them know. Remember that a Bed & Breakfast is not a hotel with staff on hand 24 hours a day, and errands and grocery shopping may need to be done at some time during the day.
Most innkeepers will require a credit card guarantee or a deposit to hold your room, or sometimes an advance payment. All inns have a written cancellation policy, which may range from 24 hours to 30 days. B&Bs are smaller establishments with a limited number of unique rooms, so cancellation policies tend to be for longer periods than hotels, and may involve an administration fee.
CHILDREN, PETS and SMOKING
Children, pets, and smoking present special considerations for B&Bs. Almost all B&B inns are non-smoking indoors. Whether children and/or pets can be accommodated is generally noted. Properties that are "adult-oriented" are often not suitable for children. Many inns with limited facilities for children and pets may have specific rooms set aside for families and guests traveling with pets. Be sure to inquire when you book your room.
Different terminology may be used by individual innkeepers, but generally the following applies. Make sure you clarify when making your reservation.
- Ensuite: In Canada, the term "ensuite" refers to a bathroom that is private, inside and attached to the sleeping unit.
- Private: A bathroom that is for the sole use of a sleeping unit but may be outside of the room.
- Shared: Bathrooms that are used in common by not more than two sleeping units. Each room is supplied with its own towels.
Most Bed & Breakfasts offer computer/internet access to their guests. High speed or wireless access for your laptop is likely available, although in more isolated rural areas this may not be the case. If you need this service please check what is available when you book your room.
Parking is provided free at Bed & Breakfast properties and is usually off street parking, although you may find that sometimes in urban areas you may need to park on the street